We experience chapped lips all year round due to cold and dry weather, insufficient or lack of nutrients (vitamin B), smoking, improper diet or even medications or thyroid hormone imbalance can cause chapped lips. But, with the cold upon us it becomes a much more common problem and we need a little extra cold weather care for our sensitive puckers. Lips are the most vulnerable to drying out as we lose up to 10 times the moisture through our lips than anywhere else on the face or body. Lips are mucous membranes so they have very thin surface layers of skin on them which isn’t good for winter lip lock.
Here are a few reasons WHY & HOW lips chap and how to best help the problem.
1. Do not exfoliate your lips! If you are it can break down the thin layers of skin you do have on them.
2. Pick perfect lip product! Some lip products actually have drying ingredients such as scented lip gloss or plumpers. Cinnamates, which create the scent can easily irritate the skin so try a fragrance-free gloss. Also keep an eye out for ieucalyptus, menthol, and camphor which can also cause irritation and dryness.
3. Not all lip balms are alike! Wax based balms have less protection so choose a petroleum based treatment like Aquaphor Healing Ointment $4.79 Petrolatum is one of the most common occlusive agents, but you can also look for castor seed oil, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, or squalane to nourish cracked lips. Plus look for an SPF lip balm such as Aveeno Lip Conditioner Essential Moisture SPF 15 $3.70 or Blistex Lip Infusion SPF 15 $2.75.
4. Avoid using products daily that come in little pots as dipping your finger in a jar isn’t as sanitary as using a tube applicator.
5. Do not lick or bite your lips! People tend to bite and lick their lips when they’re stressed, causing them to get even dryer. “As saliva evaporates, it dehydrates skin further,” Linder tells WebMD. “Saliva also contains acids that help break down food. Those acids only cause irritation when sitting on compromised lip skin, Linder says.
6. Sleep slathered! One of the keys to avoiding cracked lips is to apply balm early and often so when we sleep we loose a window of opportunity. Try wearing a thick layer of ointment to bed. “Many of us sleep with our mouths open, causing our lips to dry out.” Applying a treatment at bedtime means you’ll be less likely to wake up with chapping.” Los Angeles dermatologist Jessica Wu, MD Try Neosporin Lip Health Overnight Renewal Therapy. $4.99
7. Cold Weather blitz. Protect your lips like yourself with a scarf in cold weather. You can’t walk around with a face mask but you can create a barrier between the cold and your lips by always wearing a lip balm and trying to not let your lips go bare.