Harsh winter weather, dry heated air indoors and lack of moisture can cause the skin of our lips to dry. Result? Rough, cracked, sensitive lips that can even start bleeding.
Protecting your lips from chapping is not only important for appearance and comfort, but for health too. Cold sores, bacterial infections, and other problems are more likely to strike lips that are already damaged by chapping. Let’s not mention the damage they will do to your self esteem.
As the skin on our lips is very thin (some of the thinnest on our body) and has very few oil glands to help it keep lubricated and moisturized it is in our hands to keep them healthy, kissably soft and luscious.
1. Stop licking your lips
Many people, including myself, tend to think that licking the lips helps the dryness. Did it ever help, though? From personal experience I can confidently say no, it did not. Why? Because there are digestive enzymes and bacteria present in saliva that can cause moisture loss, and leave lips drier than before. Additionally, as the moisture evaporates after licking your lips, they become even drier as they lose the moisture into the dry, cold air.
2. Keep yourself hydrated
For a long lasting moisture on the lips, you need to treat them from outside as well as from the inside. We often forget that we can become dehydrated in the winter as well as in the summer. Keeping our body hydrated by drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water daily is essential. As you drink, the cells in the skin re-hydrate, which can help prevent excess dryness.
3. Watch your diet
When your lips are chapped, they’re more sensitive, and certain foods can irritate them. Refrain from spicy foods, mustard, barbecue sauce, orange juice, and alcohol consumption to give your lips a break as they heal.
4. Remove dead skin cells
You know it’s good to exfoliate your face, but you may not have thought about getting rid of dead skin cells from your lips. This is especially important in the winter when you have dry, flaky skin, however, it’s extremely important to be gentle too. Using a toothbrush will remove the dead cells from your lips but the best scrub for lips is sugar. Try mixing a bit of regular sugar with olive or jojoba oil, then massage gently over the lips and rinse off. Apply moisturizer immediately afterwards and your lips will feel smooth and soft. Which takes us to the next step.
Lip balms or a petrolatum-based ointment like Vaseline frequently used throughout the day seal the moisture in and form a protective barrier against lip dryness. There are some homemade options available too like aloe Vera, vitamin E, natural oils (almond, olive, coconut, and others), and honey.
Sunscreen is important too especially while skiing or engaging in outdoor winter activities as the sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage and dry the sensitive skin of the lips in the same way they can harm the skin on other parts of our body.
Do you have any other tips for beautiful, healthy, velvety soft lips? We would love to hear your comments.