Winter is a challenging time for our lips. Indoor heating, cold wind, dry air and icy temperatures all contribute to making our lips feel sensitive, dry and cracked. Funnily enough, when we consider putting sun cream and moisturisers on our face, we often forget to do the same for our lips. If you think about it, the skin on our lips is so fine and delicate, it’s any wonder we need to pay extra special attention to it. According to Dermatologist, Dr Melissa Piliang; ‘Our lips dry out 10 times faster than the rest of our skin, so it is really important to use extra protection’. Do you suffer from chapped, cracked, dry or sensitive lips during winter? Here are 6 ways to keep your lips smooth, hydrated and luscious during the colder months.
1 Avoid Licking Your Lips
It’s so difficult not to, I know! Especially when your lips feel like sandpaper! It’s only natural to want to wet them with saliva to keep them moist and hydrated. However, did you know that licking your lips actually has the opposite effect? Once you add your saliva to the lip region, it only irritates them more. This is because the enzymes in our saliva are designed to digest food and not hydrate lips. They are too harsh when applied to already compromised dry lips. Have you ever heard of ‘pash rash’? Well, digestive enzymes are at play here.
2 Use an Ointment Based Lip Balm
Keep one of these in your handbag, coat pocket, desk drawer, glovebox or makeup bag. An ointment is important as it will help to lock in the moisture and act as a barrier against the raw, winter elements preventing lip dryness. Locking in this moisture will also allow lips to heal. Cracks and splits are common in winter and sometimes take a really long time to recover. This will help speed up that process.
Be careful not to invest in cheap lip balms that contain loads of additives and chemicals. If you have cracks or cuts on your lips already, adding these artificial ingredients will only make them worse. A lovely natural alternative is coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter mixed in with some essential oils. Coconut oil has so many fantastic healing qualities. It is extremely anti-inflammatory, nourishing and moisturising.
3 Avoid Rubbing and Picking Your Lips
We have all experienced flaking or peeling lips and it is so tempting to bite or rub off loose skin. Try to resist this temptation as they will only bleed and form sores on your lips. Sores can become infected once in contact with food and will make your lips feel even more vulnerable to the winter elements. Not to mention the fact - they don’t look the best!
4 Treat Cracks Immediately
Don’t let cracks become infected or things could become much worse. Infected mouth cracks can be extremely painful and are often caused by chapped lips. Best to take action at the first sign and invest in some heavy-duty ointment or my hot tip is to buy Vitamin E capsules from your local Chemist Outlet, break one open and massage the oil directly onto your lips. Vitamin E has fantastic antimicrobial properties that are indicated for a wide variety of skin conditions.
5 Apply Lip Balm Before Bedtime
Many of us sleep with our mouths open. 8 hours of breathing in and out through our mouth can dry out our lips. If your lips are really struggling, consider using a humidifier in your room at night. Humidifiers are a great way to add moisture back into the air.
6 Examine Your Diet and Water Intake
Certain foods can definitely irritate your lips, especially if they are already inflamed or cracked. Salty, spicy and piping hot foods such as soups, might be making things worse for your lips. Try and eat cool, soft foods that leave your lips feeling soothed instead of sensitive and compromised. Also, most importantly, stay hydrated!
In winter our water intake tends to decline, as we are no longer drinking water to cool down. However, winter is when our skin needs us the most. Dehydration will contribute to lip dryness and potentially chapped lips. It is important to continue to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. This will benefit your entire integumentary system and not just your lips.
There are so many challenges for our skin during the colder months, so this winter, when caring for your skin, don’t forget about your lips. We need our lips to be soft and supple, so we can pucker up for the ones we love without pain and irritation.