It’s important to look after your lips in cool Winter weather. Image by Adobe Stock.
The skin on the lips is among the most sensitive areas on the body and the most exposed to the environment, and unlike the rest of the skin on our bodies, the lips do not have the same concentration of oil glands. So when you add in the environmental factors such as lip licking, cold weather, wind and cosmetics, they can dry out the skin barrier which leads to inflammation, irritation and flaking. There are a number of causes that lead to chapped lips – the biggest culprit is the weather. As the weather gets colder and drier the thin skin on the lips tends to dry out faster than the rest of the body.
However, there are other causes of chapped lips and one of the biggest which people don’t think about is active skincare. Often when using active skincare such as acne facewashes, the active ingredients are designed to exfoliate the skin and penetrate the skin’s barrier removing the dirt, but quite often when we are washing our faces, the product inadvertently gets onto our lips, which could cause your lips to dry out and become cracked.
No one likes chapped lips so here are a few steps you can take to ensure your lips are nourished and hydrated during the coming chilly months.
Apply vaseline or beeswax to lips before you wash your face
Applying vaseline or beeswax to your lips before you wash your face can get give your lips a barrier against any active ingredients that might cause them to become dry and chapped.
Use a lip balm before bed
This is the best preventative method to dry and chapped lips. If you apply a lip balm before bed your lips will have time to repair overnight. You can also use a humidifier in your bedroom to restore moisture in the air. This can also help people who tend to breathe through their mouths at night, who are at higher risk of getting chapped lips.
Use an SPF on your lips
It is important to use a lip treatment or balm with an added SPF every day, even on rainy or overcast days. Especially if your lips are already dry and chapped, they will be more susceptible to sun damage which in turn could lead to blistering on the lips.
Try gentle exfoliation
If your lips are dry and flaky, add in your hydration in the form of a balm or a lip treatment then very gently exfoliate the lips with your toothbrush, using circular motions. However, if your lips are very sore, care for them for a few days by hydrating them and then when they start to heal you can exfoliate to remove the dried flaky build-up of skin.
Follow your lip scrub with a repairing product
After exfoliating, always add on a repairing product such as Vitamin E or almond oil, both of which have healing and anti-inflammatory properties.