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What is the Difference Between Lip Gloss and Lip Balm?

Lip balm used to treat chapped lips from a cold sore should not be resused.
Lip balm soothes sore, chapped lips.
Mint is a popular flavor often found in lip balm.
Lip gloss is used to give lips a shiny appearance.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 July 2014
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Balm is defined as a medicated ointment that can be used to soothe or resolve skin issues. Lip balm in particular may come in small round jars, or in cylinders like those used in Chap StickĀ®. In many cases, it may be applied with the fingers from small jars and is used to help soothe chapped or sunburned lips. This differs from the more oily lip gloss, which may contain color or glitter, and is used to give the lips a shiny appearance.

Not all lip balm is equally effective. Many are made with infusions of natural herbs like mint or chamomile. Some lip balms can calm down or prevent chapping. Some also offer sunscreen to prevent sun damage.

Lip balm may not have much effect if chapped lips are related to other problems. For example, chapped lips may be indication of anemia, and any lip product will have little affect on this problem. People who are chronically dehydrated will also not see much change when using lip balm, because what they really need to do is to drink more fluids.

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Some lip glosses can also be medicated and soothe chapped lips. Primarily, however, their goal is to provide an esthetically pleasing look to the mouth, which a lip balm does not provide. A lip gloss with Vitamin E or aloe vera may be soothing as well as pretty. It may not address severe chapping problems. Some people wear lip gloss over balm to hide the waxy appearance of the balm.

Some lipsticks may also function as a lip balm. Unlike lip gloss they tend to be opaque, rather than transparent. They may also contain Vitamin E or supplements to help keep the lips moist. Not all lipsticks provide this. In fact some have a primary ingredient of alcohol in them, which tends to dry out the lips.

If chapped lips are the result of cold sores, one should not reuse lip balm after a cold sore has resolved. One should especially not share products with a friend, especially if one gets cold sores. These are usually a form of herpes virus that can be passed to other people. If one develops a cold sore while using any type of lip product, be certain to discard the product so as not to reinfect the area.

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Discuss this Article

anon191938
Post 4

I like the Burt's Bees tinted lip balms. They work well and keep the lips smooth and moist. I like most of the Burt's Bees products though. It's a good cosmetic line.

icecream17
Post 3

Crispety-I like the using lip balm with SPF. I like the idea that my lips are protected from the sun.

It is something that you never think about. I also like the texture and feel of the lip balm.

I prefer it to the feel of lip gloss. Lip gloss feels a bit heavy and I hate when I get my hair caught in the middle of the lip gloss. It feels weird. The lip balm comes on naturally and feels natural. You do not get that uncomfortable feeling that you do with lip gloss.

Crispety
Post 2

The main difference between medicated lip balm and lip gloss is that lip balm ingredients serve a therapeutic purpose while lip gloss serves a cosmetic purpose.

Blistex lip balm. Carmex lip balm, and Chapstick lip balms are really used to protect your lips from the elements such as extreme cold weather.

These lip balm containers usually have extra moisturizing ingredients to soften your lips as well as provide sun protection in order to avoid the development of skin cancer.

Tinted lip balm is a combination of a flavored lip balm and lipstick. They offer sheer coverage and a hint of color on the lips. Usually lip balm containers are sheer when they are applied.

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