Dry Lips

Dry Lips

Dry Lips    13:38 on Friday, June 24, 2005          
Posted by Archived posts

Pardon me if I`m repeating a topic. I did a search and nothing showed up.

What do "fluters" do for dry lips. Is it really an issue to a seasoned player? I`ve been playing for a short time and find I get a cleaner sound with moist lips, but is that just because I`m not doing something else right? What about lip balm and such? I`ve tried Burt`s Beeswax on a flutist`s reccomendation, but I found it too thick and pasty, having the same effect as dry lips.

Anyone ever lick their lips too much and have the flute slide off their face when they started to play? I did that the other day at a gig. I gave my lips a good wetting down and I slid right off the lip plate when I started my solo in "Night in White Satin" (Moody Blues).

Nose flute!

Re: Dry Lips    13:47 on Friday, June 24, 2005          
Posted by Archived posts

I`m really not as illiterate as I seem to be by my typing. The text input window has about a half-second delay and the lines don`t wrap. Probably a compatibility issue with some of my settings, but it makes it hard to type and proofread.

Re: Dry Lips    15:53 on Friday, June 24, 2005          
Posted by Archived posts

I love Blistex` Herbal Answer lip balm. Not too thick and has a wonderful scent. Quite honestly any good ol` chapstick should be fine for playing. I usually try to apply lip balm a while before I know I am going to play and it off for actual playing.

Re: Dry Lips    15:54 on Friday, June 24, 2005          
Posted by Archived posts

and *wipe* it off for actual playing. (forgot a word!)

Re: Dry Lips    19:50 on Friday, June 24, 2005          
Posted by Archived posts


There are three different skin textures in a lip:

1. Where whiskers or fine hairs grow.
2. The `lipstick` area - no hairs, redder colour, and normally exposed to the air
3. The no-hair area which is normally NOT exposed to the air, i.e. it is kept moist when the lips are closed.

The shape of the lips just where the air leaves the lips is extremely important for getting a good sound. (Likewise the shape where the water leaves a garden hose squirter, or the shape where the air leaves the wind-way of a recorder.) I believe that flute players with a good sound USE the change in lip texture (soft going to firmer) where the lip changes from 3 to 2, to achieve the critical shape of this area.

It is area 3 that is exposed to the rushing air, and this is the part of the lip that does not suffer from dryness, because it is regularly moistened, every time we close our lips.

It sound as if you are having problems with area 2, which I personally don`t think should be exposed to much rushing air at all. Therefore this area should not be drying out any more than it would be if you were NOT playing the flute.

So IMHO, this is very likely an embouchure problem, such that you are using area 2 instead of area 3 to form the wind-way.

Skin that is constantly exposed to air needs some oil in it to reduce the drying effects of the air. Area 2 has only a small natural oil supply compared with other parts of the body, such as where hairs grow.

Saliva has a slight detergent action, so the more you lick area 2 to moisten your lips, the more this detergent is cleaning away the protective oil. Hence your dry lip problem gets worse.

IMHO lip balms are largely a band-aid rather than dealing with the underlying problem.

However we are all different, and some may have problems that others don`t experience.


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