Do you want to know can hand cream be used on lips? Maybe it is not impossible. But I don’t think it is a good idea. There are a couple of reasons for that.
Read below what are they.
Can hand cream be used on lips?
Let’s go into detail on each of these 3 topics.
How does the lips’ skin differ from the hand’s skin?
Like the rest of the skin, our lips have three layers. The outer layer – the epidermis, has a protective cover known as stratum corneum. Beneath the epidermis is the second layer, the dermis.
The difference with lips is that the stratum corneum is much thinner, compared to any other part of the body. In addition, they do not have sebaceous glands, which have the function of hydrating the skin.
Saliva is the only way we can moisturize them. However, they get dry and crack very easily this way, which is especially true during the cold season. This is why we need to apply moisturising products regularly.
The skin on the lips also lacks hair follicles. This is also characteristic of the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Whether we see them or not, hair follicles cover every other part of our body.
Melanin, the pigment “responsible” for acquiring a tan as a result of sun exposure, is also lacking in the skin of the lips. Through it, the body naturally protects itself from ultraviolet rays. Since the lips lack it completely, they are at greater risk from the harmful effects of the sun.
Sunspots can also appear and skin cancer can develop, so the use of a sunscreen lip balm could be a solution in the summer and when it snows.
The pink or red pigment comes from the blood vessels. Curiously, the pinkish-red lip contour, different from the rest of our skin, is unique to us humans.
The specifics of the hands’ skin:
- The skin on the palm and inside the fingers is thick and dense.
- The back of the hands contains almost no fatty tissue and is particularly thin.
Thus the skin on the palms and inside of the fingers:
- is thick with a dense stratum corneum;
- is rich in fatty and connective tissue;
- is well padded with tissue insensitive to tension;
- has no hairs and no sebaceous glands;
- has a high density of sweat glands;
- is deficient in natural moisturizing factors (NMF).
Hand creams might not be appropriate for lips
You already know how sensitive could lip be. At the same time, a hand cream may contain substances in its formula which are not good for the skin of the lips.
Which are those types of ingredients?
Perfumes/fragrances – for example, butylphenyl methylpropional (lilial) is a common fragrance ingredient. (By the way, it has been banned in the EU since March 2022);
- Parabens – they are the most widely used preservatives in cosmetic products – their function is to stop the growth of bacteria, fungus, and other microbes. Parabens can be related to hormone issues, fertility issues, and even breast cancer;
- Preservatives, like butylated hydroxytoluene, which is a lab-made chemical;
- Silicones, like cyclopentasiloxane.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with using such ingredients in hand creams when they are not banned. I emphasize two things:
- There are high-quality products that you can apply to your hands, which mostly have carrier oils and plant extracts in their recipes;
- As for the lips, the best option to protect them is using lip balm. Let’s see what is the specific factor in its formula that makes it appropriate for lips’ skin.
Let’s take for example this lip balm. It contains cacao butter, candelilla wax, argan oil, allantoin, tocopherol (vitamin e), stevia rebaudiana extract.
What such products actually do is three things: they soften, hydrate and protect lips.
That is why they use oil and butter to moisturize lips and emollients (like candelilla wax) to soften them. The wax plays also the role of a skin-protective barrier agent that helps prevent the skin from losing moisture.
Let’s be even more specific:
Cacao nutter adds a protective hydrating layer to lips, protecting them from extreme temperatures.
Argan oil has an anti-ageing, anti-wrinkle, anti-oxidant and wound-healing effect on lips.
Allantoin has soothing and healing skin properties, leaving the upper skin layer smooth and soft.
Tocopherol (Vitamin E) is a powerful anti-oxidant.
I hope now you can see how a lip balm which is specifically designed to take care of the lips can differ from a hand cream which is built to protect hands.
You can ingest inappropriate ingredients if you use hand cream on lips
This third point of our topic is somehow related to the previous one, where I have mentioned some substances (though controversial) which could be absorbed harmlessly by our hands’ skin, but it is not recommended to be swallowed, as it might happen if put on our lips.
Is it good to ingest perfume if such in the formula? Probably not a good idea.
I know the quantity taken would be most likely very little and not enough to cause any serious damage.
But if you have to make a choice about what substances might appear in your mouth (by licking your lisps), it would be better if they are proven harmless such as cacao butter or candelilla wax, which is regarded as safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for direct addition to food.
It is always best to be on the safe wide. Can hand cream be used on lips? Most probably, if it is based on natural ingredients – yes. But still – better eliminate any risk.
I suggest that you chose lip balm. This type of product has successfully passed the test for oral toxicity and is your most powerful solution for nourished, protected and hydrated lips.