Got chapped lips? The easy solution to that problem is lip balm. Many of us carry this small item around with us in our bare essentials, and some of the top brands have become household names because of their effectiveness in protecting dry and chapped lips. But did you know that there are several ways to make use of these products during emergency situations? Let’s take a look at some of the ways lip balm might come in handy as survival gear.
Lip balms typically consist of the following ingredients: petrolatum, beeswax, menthol, camphor, aloe, vitamin D, oxybenzone, phenol, and some others. They function as a moisturizer and a layer of protection to shield our lips from the harmful effects of the wind and sun. Medicated types often include analgesic ingredients to cure severely cracked lips and prevent them from getting worse. In addition to keeping your lips happy, here are some other ways a little lip balm can come in handy in a survival situation:
- Make an improvised candle – Open your lip balm and insert a match stick. Light it up to illuminate your immediate area while keeping both of your hands free for work. You don’t have to worry about the match stick burning down – the matchstick acts like a wick, absorbing the wax and other ingredients from the lip balm to keep the flame burning. The down side is that the lip balm only provides enough fuel to burn for a couple of hours, and you can only burn it once.
- Waterproof your gear – Lip balm can be used as a waterproofing agent. In a soggy situation, apply lip balm along seams and other unprotected parts of your clothing and footwear. The waxy substance can seal the tiny perforations in materials and seams, preventing them from absorbing water and helping to keep you dry.
- A little lubrication – Lip balms can be kept in your bug out bag as an emergency lubricant to help open stubborn zippers, snaps, and clasps. Simply apply a generous amount to the frozen fixture and give it a few strong tugs. The petrolatum can be used to lubricate metal, plastic, and more.
- Camouflage your face – Apply a thick coating of lip balm all over your face. Cover the lip balm with ashes, dirt, and debris. The waxy substance acts as a paste to keep your face concealed, allowing you to hide from threats. Take special care not to apply anything to the area immediately surrounding your eyes, as the lip balm and the debris could both cause irritation to your eyes. You can use this same method to protect your eyes from the glare of the direct sun when you walk in the open field. Just apply the lip balm below your eyes like a football player, and cover with ash or dirt. Again, be very careful not to get anything too close to your eyes.
- Prevent frostbite – Survival conditions during winter can be extremely hard on your skin. To prevent your exposed face from frostbite, apply a generous amount of lip balm and spread it evenly around the exposed area repeatedly, as if to moisturize your skin. Petroleum-based products freeze at lower temperatures than water-based products, so your exposed skin will be more resistant to the cold. As usual, be careful not to get anything too close to your eyes.
- Protect open wounds – Prepare a firm leaf by washing it with clean water or alcohol to sterilize it. Apply an even amount of chap stick on the upper side of the leaf. Carefully place the leaf over the open wound to provide temporary protection. The waxy substance will provide a layer of covering to the seal the wound off and prevent infection. Of course, this method is only a temporary solution. Replace the leaf every couple of hours and administer a better treatment as soon as possible.
Did you know that lip balm holds a special place in American history? During the Watergate scandal, tiny microphones were hidden inside lip balm containers. These microphones helped bring to public attention the scandal that eventually led President Nixon to leave office. Loose lips may sink ships, but chapped lips sink presidencies.
Isn’t it amazing how a small bit of cosmetic can have so many uses? If you can think of other ways to use lip balm during disasters and emergencies, please share them by writing in our comments area below.