Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Menopause, dry lips, and lip oil that smells like sheep

The Menopause Life Now

Hello hello. Me again to talk about more menopause things. This time, it's my poor, dry lips. There are other things to talk about, but right now, my dry lips are top of mind since I'm dealing with them daily.

One of the symptoms of menopause I’ve been battling lately is dry skin, especially dry lips. This is due to decreased estrogen levels. Really, everything I'm going through is due to decreased estrogen levels.

About two months ago I started noticing very dry skin on my face, though less so on my body, which I can manage with my skincare routine. My facial dryness improved quickly with various moisturizing products. If you’re interested, I have my full morning skincare routine posted on my personal YouTube channel. Fair warning, it’s very extra and it’s not for everyone. But it works for me.

My lips have generally been in good condition right up until menopause hit. They do get dry overnight when I'm sleeping, but I found an occlusive lip balm that worked well through the night. However, with menopause, this balm wasn’t enough. My lips became painfully dry and flaky throughout the day, peeling like a sunburn, even with relatively judicious use of my normal lip products.

This battle with my excessively dry lips has been ongoing for over a month. The dryness became almost unbearable as my lips started to crack and peel so badly they would bleed. I asked friends on Facebook for advice. Friends on Facebook are a wonderful resource. One suggestion was 100% lanolin nipple balm, used by breastfeeding mothers to treat cracked nipples. It conditions without irritation and since it’s baby-safe, I can use it on my lips without issues.

While 100% lanolin has an unpleasant sheepy smell, its conditioning properties work well. However, I find the ointment form too thick, so I bought 100% lanolin oil which I’ve put into an empty lip gloss tube for easier application throughout the day. At night, I layer products - first lanolin oil or a ceramide-based lip balm, then my occlusive lip balm in a thick layer. I’m needing a MUCH thicker layer of the occlusive lip balm than I used to and applying at least double or triple of what used to be my normal amount.

It took about a week of diligent moisturizing, but my lips are finally in fairly good shape if I regularly reapply various lip balms, oils, or glosses during the day. I change up products to avoid overuse of any one thing, since lanolin can cause tiny cysts associated with perioral dermatitis if too much collects around the lip line over time. This is because lanolin is a very rich oil and the skin on the lips is very thin. Excessive use and buildup of the oil can collect under the skin to form cysts.

Lanolin works well for me but requires care - too thick a layer on delicate lip skin can cause issues, as I’ve previously mentioned. So, I switch between balms, oils, and glosses throughout the day. For sleep, it’s my last step. Brush teeth, apply lanolin oil, then a thick occlusive balm layer before bed. If staying up, I skip the last layer until I go to sleep, as otherwise it will wear off.

My current regimen has my lips almost back to normal. The last two good days have been the best my lips have felt since all the dry skin issues started with the menopause.

Dry lips have been an irritating and uncomfortable menopause challenge lately. With some trial and error, and experimentation, I’ve found this multi-step moisturizing routine working for my particular needs. Hope this provides some guidance - you’ll likely need to find what specifically works best for your own lips. Consistency seems key for my quest for non-peeling, juicy, moisturised lips so far.

As with all things associated with your health, menopause, etc., if things get bad, go get medical and professional advice. Do not rely on what works for me as advice. In the case of the dry skin, if your regular doctor can't help, maybe see a dermatologist who specialises in skin conditions caused my menopause. The internet is full of useful and helpful information, but nothing compares to getting help from a trained, medical professional.

Be well, and remember to be kind to yourself.

PS. Aussie friends, here are links to what I bought from Amazon AU for my lanolin ointment and oil. Bear in mind, you don't need to get exactly what I got if it's something you want to try. Even your local pharmacy will do if what they carry is 100% lanolin whether in ointment or oil form. I know Lanolips is a popular brand, but make sure you check the product first because most Lanolips products are not 100% lanolin and have other added ingredients for color, fragrance, or as emulsifiers.


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