Image: Malvestida Magazine
There’s nothing worse than dry, cracked lips. Whether it’s a blast of icy winter wind or the blistering summer sun, your lips can take a real beating. Unfortunately most of the time, except for an occasional dot of lipstick, we simply ignore them until they finally cry uncle!
The good news is, it’s not only possible to have soft, smooth lips — it’s easy. Here are six ways to keep your lips in great shape.
No, it’s not your imagination. The skin on your lips is about 75% thinner than the skin on the rest of your face, and lacks the protective body oils, hair follicles and sweat glands that naturally moisturize the rest of your body.
That’s why, even if your lips are already healthy and moist, you need to work hard to keep them that way.
The most important thing you can do is to drink more water. Since your lips draw most of their moisture from the water in your body, every drop you drink, helps keep them soft and hydrated.
Another important line of defense is using a great lip balm. Applying a lip balm or ointment with beeswax six to eight times a day can help lock in moisture, no matter how dry the weather. Even better, use one with natural humectants like shea butter, lanolin or olive oil plus a good sunscreen to keep your lips soft and protected.
Don’t Stress Out Your Lips
Simple things we all do, can seriously stress out our lips. For example, peeling or biting off the dead skin, licking your lips and breathing through your mouth.
When your lips are cracked or dry, peeling or biting off the skin, can pull healthy skin off right along with it, making the problem even worse.
Another culprit? Licking your lips, which actually makes them drier. Why? Because the saliva on your tongue has enzymes designed to begin digesting your food, the moment you taste it. So when you lick your lips, those enzymes go to work breaking down the skin on your lips! Resist the urge and apply some lip balm instead.
Breathing through your mouth, can also make lips more chapped, which explains why cold-sufferers often have dry, cracked lips.
Getting Rid Of Dry Skin
If your lips are especially chapped, it might be a good idea to do a gentle exfoliation to get rid of that dry skin. Not only are there some terrific products, like Fresh Sugar Lip Scrub to do the job for you, but you can also do it yourself at home with simple ingredients.
Just get yourself a very soft toothbrush and apply a mixture like brown sugar and coconut oil or honey and sugar to your lips, scrubbing very gently with a soft circular motion.
You can also apply a generous amount of lip balm to your lips and use a soft toothbrush to gently exfoliate.
Every time you apply lipstick, you have an opportunity to give your lips the moisture that they crave. Simply substitute a moisturizing lipstick packed with vitamin E, macadamia or almond oil for your matte lip stick, transforming your beautiful color into a spa treatment.
Quick Lip 911
For lips that are in tough shape, dermatologist Jeffrey Fenton recommends using treatment balms that contain hydrocortisone. Another promising treatment uses new lip balms containing ceramides, which according to studies, showed improvement in up to 90% of dry-lipped participants.
It’s Just Irritating
Have you tried hydrating and exfoliating only to find that nothing works? You might just be dealing with an allergy or irritation rather than chapped lips. Here are a couple of common culprits:
- Toothpaste with artificial flavors or sweeteners
- Lip balms with strong ingredients like eucalyptus, menthol and camphor or plant-based oils can also cause irritation. So if you’re sensitive to any of those ingredients, you might want to try Vaseline or Aquaphor for a while until your lips heal.
- Your facial cleanser, especially if it contains drying or exfoliating ingredients like salicylic acid. Try applying lip balm before cleansing and see if the problem improves.
The most important thing you can do to keep your lips smooth and kissably soft, is to pay attention to them. At the first sign of dryness, apply humectant-rich balms and ointments and, if your lips are already dry and chapped, consider using exfoliants or heavy duty treatments packed with ceramides to get your lips back on track.
Following these simple guidelines can help your lips stay healthy no matter what the environment tries to throw your way!
Besides keeping your lips rich and hydrated, doing facial exercises regularly can help in giving you a more youthful look. You can find different types of facial exercises, on our website.