For as long as I can remember, I’ve spent every winter battling chapped lips and a chapped nose. As someone with naturally oily skin, winter is the only time of year my skin actually gets dry (and I still break out, lucky me). And my lips and nose in particular get really dry and cracked. For years, I was using whatever lip balm I had on hand, and just applying it more generously to both my lips and my nose when it got torn up from relentless nose-blowing. Nothing ever really felt like it was soothing and healing enough, until I discovered Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream. Nope, not a typo. I use nipple cream as lip balm and you should, too.
I discovered Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream at a work event a few years ago that featured various health and personal care products. A brand rep slipped a pack of three mini tubes into my goodie bag and noted that it’s worth trying on chapped lips. I didn’t think much of it (why would I use nipple cream on my face?) until months later when I was dealing with a winter cold, and the skin around my nose was really raw. I remembered the nipple cream, and decided to slather it on and see if it helped. Ever since then, I’ve kept a tube in my nightstand drawer, in my toiletry bag, and in my purse from December through April. (I live in central New York, where it snows well into April and sometimes May.)
As I came to find out, Lansinoh has a following the world over, launched by a breastfeeding mother in the ’80s who struggled to find relief for her sore nipples from traditional products. There are Reddit threads with hundreds of comments about it (and similar products); on Amazon, the product has 4.7 stars with 3,300 ratings. People use it everywhere from their heels to their elbows to their lips.
It works thanks to the star ingredient in the cream, lanolin—a waxy oil found naturally in sheep’s wool that’s traditionally used to treat nipples that are dry and cracked from breastfeeding. The kind of lanolin used in this cream is highly purified, modified (HPA) lanolin, which means residual chemicals—like pesticides and detergents—from the production process have been removed to maximize safety and ensure the cream is hypoallergenic. (Some people report allergic reactions from lanolin, so always spot test first, and avoid it completely if you have a wool allergy.)
The cream is more like an ointment, with a consistency similar to that of petroleum jelly products but a little thicker and waxier. It has absolutely no fragrance or taste, which I appreciate when I’m constantly slathering it on and around my mouth and nose. I’d rather not have a potent smell all up in my face day-in and day-out. Plus, it doesn’t burn at all, like many fragranced lip products do. And a tiny bit really goes a long way—I use about a pea-sized amount to cover my lips and my outer nose. If I have any extra on my fingertip, I dab it on my dry knuckles. Sometimes I apply it purposefully to my dry knuckles, but I do try to save it for more sensitive spots and use other random things on my hands.
If one day I do have a baby and am breastfeeding, I’ll try it out for its intended purpose, too. If it’s this good at its “off-label” use, I can only imagine how it holds up when you use it as intended. In the meantime, I’ll keep enjoying my smooth and plush winter lips—and sending a tube or two to my new mom friends to use however they please.