As travelers, we are exposed to many different climates, both on the ground and in the air. These frequent climate shifts can wreak havoc on one part in our body in particular: our lips.
Yes, us travelers are not too fond of the quite too frequent cases of chapped lips. How we deal with them, however, can run the gamut. Some let it get out of hand, others have resigned to a non-stop regimen of alternating chapstick and prayer to the deity of smooth skin.
But, there is another way. An easy middle ground. A product (is it too much to say, a miracle?) that can quickly restore cracked/dry/chapped lips back to their natural softness, and which can be used for ongoing maintenance (as a replacement for your favorite balm/stick), but doesn’t have to be (because even an occasional use is enough).
As a cherry on top, it’s not some obscure tincture from the nether regions of only one cave in a remote desert (although it certainly may contain such exotic and interesting things) – no, it’s a consumer product made by a reputable skincare company, and one that has distribution all over the world.
That means that it’s available in many airports, and in many pharmacies across many countries. It’s many convenient.
Quit teasing, I want softer lips!
As somebody who (used to) suffer from chapped lips, I have tried everything. From the familiar Chapstick, to lesser known beeswax-based balms, to oil-based products, to various creams, and even vaseline.
Some were utter garbage. Others worked – to varying degrees – but as soon as I stopped using them, “the chap” came back, unless of course I had moved to a different climate by that time.
Then, one day, I stumbled into a pharmacy, weary from the wear on my lips (and over-dramatized as all get-out). I breezed past the lip moisturizer section of the store, because I had already played that game, and knew that there were no answers to be found on that end-cap. Actually, I was there for a different reason, and while looking through the branded sections, I noticed a tiny little lip balm tube from a company I didn’t know of – but they were obviously quite well established, because they had their own section with a variety of products.
I decided to take a gamble on that little tube, even though I had been disappointed so many times in the past. And it turned out to be my salvation.
Oh, come on!
That tube was no other than Ceralip, by La Roche-Posay.
Never a stranger to strange names, they decided that “Ceralip” wasn’t confusing enough of a name, and have since changed the name to “Cicaplast Levres” (yes, I know that “lèvres” means “lips” in French). As a big fan of the original, I bought the new version (pictured), and am pleased to report: it’s just as good.
It is, however, confusingly similar to their nearly identically packaged “Cicaplast Baume“. They both come in small (albeit different sized) tubes, and while they both claim to work on lips, it isn’t in the same way – I know because I accidentally bought the wrong one at first.
The one you want comes in a small, 7.5mL tube with a twist-off cap, and is called “Cicaplast Levres” (you know… like in the picture).
What are the benefits?
It’s non-scented and colorless, so it is gender-neutral. It is meant for lip repair (without using harsh ingredients like phenol, menthol, or salicylic acid), and with no added flavors, it tastes as you’d expect from a mild, unflavored lip balm. Nothing nasty, but not too nice. In practical use, you won’t actually taste it (since you don’t apply it to the inside of your lips), but just don’t go kissing somebody (or licking your lips/eating) right after. To its credit, it gets absorbed in 30-45 minutes, so you won’t have to wait for long (I timed it, and it varies based on the ambient environment).
In a world of uncertain and ambiguous effects from all the goos and potions available on the market, I was surprised to find a product that produced such visible results so quickly – especially one found in a retail skincare section.
Even in the times when I’ve dropped the ball and forgot to use it for a while (or when “the chap” crept up on me suddenly), my lips are back to normal within a couple days, if not the very next morning, with little more than a morning and evening application (if I add one mid-day, even faster than that).
While the weather conditions will dictate the length of time that it needs to be used to turn back the chap, sticking (hehe) to 1-2 times per day (with a third in between in extreme cases) has always been enough.
After it’s worked its magic, I generally go on a “maintenance” regimen with it as my sole lip care product. This can range from once a day to once a week, but its gentle-yet-effective restorative nature keeps my lips supple, soft, and smooth. It also means that one tube lasts a very long time. Under the old “Ceralip” packaging, the tube was twice as big (15mL compared to 7.5mL), and the most I got out of one of them was approximately a year, when I was traveling to of places where my lips didn’t chap much.
Now, you may use it more or less than me, but I always have 2-3 with me, and stock up whenever I can. You’ll see why in the next section.
So, where can I get some?
When it comes to getting your hands on some lip salvation, La Roche-Posay can be purchased in many airports, and in many pharmacies across the world.
While they have made a global name for themselves, what specific selection of their many, many products (all of which have become my initial go-to for any category of skincare, given my amazing experience with their lip products) are available in a given country will vary. For that reason, whenever I find some “Cicaplast Levres”, I stock up, usually getting 2-3. They’re lightweight (only 7.5mL, with minimal packaging), so they don’t add significant bulk to my luggage. That way, I also don’t have to worry about finding more for quite a while – because they last so long.
So, check your local chain pharmacy, or, next time you’re in a major airport, have a look at the pharmacies there. And when you find some, stock up! You’ll be really glad you did.