This is a subject that used to come up on TPIN fairly often. People want to know what to do about chapped lips. Initially this would seem like a non-issue, except that the consequences of having chapped lips can be so severe and that the solutions to this problem are quite varied.
I personally don't have a solution which I recommend to anyone. But I do have a story, a chronology of events which lead to me finding my own personal solutions. I'll tell you my story then leave the decision making up to you.
My story begins in the hot, arid city of El Paso, where my lips had chapped so badly at times that blood was gushing out of the cracks. I still have faint scars on my lips where these gashes reoccurred.
My earliest solution to this problem was Carmex. But I found that the more Carmex I used, the worst my playing got, the more pressure I had to use to get the notes out. I used primarily Carmex throughout most of my high school days and my earlier years in college. I finally learned that Carmex has two ingredients which some trumpet players try to avoid; Camphor and Menthol.
That's when I began trying different "Stuff". One thing that seemed to work a little bit was to break open a vitamin E capsule and rub the liquid on my lips. The next logical step lead me to taking a dosage of vitamin E once a day. They say vitamin E is good for skin and mucous membrane and stuff like that. So it only made sense to me. Unfortunately, it wasn't a complete cure.
I also tried Vaseline during that time, but it seemed to dry my lips out even more than they were.
One day I was in a drug store and found a lip treatment which was unmedicated (no camphor nor menthol) but had other organic things added to it, lanolin, vitamin E, alovera, paba and stuff like that. This was a store brand and it was generally hard to find. I remember searching all of El Paso for these things.
Then we moved to Houston, where it's just as hot, but not as arid. But I still had some trouble with chapped lips, during certain seasons of the year. That's when I discovered THE ANSWER!!! In an entirely different section of the store from where I had been looking for all of those years, I found a lip treatment which is generally stocked in the cosmetics sections of most stores which carry it. It's called Neutrogena Lip Moisturizer.
This stuff is AMAZING!!!! I can have lips that are so chapped that they are bleeding and this Neutrogena stuff will have it all healed within two hours. It doesn't have any of the harmful ingredients like camphor or menthol. The only bad thing about it is that it's three times the price of most chap sticks. You can expect to pay as much as four dollars per tube, depending on where you get it.
The Neutrogena Lip Moisturizer can be difficult to find in many stores because it's not stocked with the lip treatments. Most stores I've been to stock all of there Neutrogena products in one isle, on the same shelf. This is usually in the same section as the women's makeup is stocked. Look for the white boxes with red and blue trim.
So you would think that my story ends here, but it doesn't. The truth is, I rarely even use the Neutrogena stuff anymore, even though it is my treatment of choice. So the story continues;
Once upon a time, Laura and Alex went on vacation to El Paso without me and I spent hours and hours of every day that they were gone by playing video games on my computer and drinking Dr. Pepper. One morning I woke up with a horrible pain in my side and I ended up driving myself to the hospital - after a few hours of rolling around on the floor, crying and moaning.
I got to the hospital and soon learned that I had developed kidney stones. Since I couldn't pee, they made me drink lots and lots of water and threatened that if I didn't pee soon, they would be going after it with a catheter. I didn't want that, so I drank lots of water that morning and was eventually able to pee.
Eventually, they sent me home telling me to expect to pass the stone sometime that day. It never passed. Dr. Zimmerman, one of my students' father, told me that sometimes the stones dissolve before they are passed - depending on what kind stone it is. Well, I had been drinking a lot of water ever since that morning and it makes sense that it might dissolve.
Afterwards, I realized that the pain I had during the kidney stone thing is a commonly reoccurring pain that I used to get. It just never got as bad as that before that day.
Ever since then, I've made it a point to drink lots of water every day. The only time when those kidney stone sensations ever come back is when I forget to drink my water. So I drink it almost religiously, in hopes that I never have to experience that kind of pain in my life, ever again.
What does this have to do with chapped lips?
Well, ever since I began drinking so much water, I stopped getting chapped lips. I didn't realize it at first. But when a year had passed and I was still using the same tube of lip moisturizer, it dawned on me that I hadn't really needed it so much as I used to. I might be making a false assumption that it's the water which is making me have chapped lips less often, but it does make sense.
I remember reading a story a long time ago about this guy who was out in the desert and was going through the different stages of dehydration. The story was written for the purpose of describing those different stages of dehydration so a person could recognize it and do something about it. Anyway, the first stage of dehydration, according to the story was chapped lips.
I think that we, in American culture, tend to think that all our cures have to be bought at a store. We tend to go out and buy pills and medications to fix what ails us instead of actually addressing the problems at their sources. Water is free and dehydration has a cheap cure.
So that's my slant on the chapped lips thing. Yes, I still use a little bit of the Neutrogena stuff, mainly because I sleep with my mouth open and my lips get dried out when I do. But one tube lasts me about a year. Most often just drinking water keeps me in pretty good shape.
And by the way, just to give you a general idea of how much water I'm talking about, I think I drink about a gallon of water each day. That's really not a lot, if you think about it, but it's a lot more than I used to drink.
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