Winter is a brutal time of the year for your lips. I, for one, know this firsthand! Every winter season, without fault, my lips dry up and crack. It’s no surprise, however––that irritating dryness is a result of the harsh winter air as well as the dry heat from our indoor heating.
All this is due to the fact that the skin on our lips is not the same type as the skin on the rest of our face and body. Your lips are the second most delicate part of your face, closely after the fragile skin around your eyes. According to dermatologist Melissa Piliang, lips are very thin and delicate, meaning they dry out nearly 10 times faster than the rest of the skin on our face.
“Plus, keep in mind that when you go out into the cold, you are taking steps to cover the rest of your body. But too often, your mouth is one of the last things you cover. Sometimes you might not even do it at all, leaving your lips exposed to those harsh winter conditions”, Piliang says.
Simply put, this means our lips deserve some extra TLC and protection during the winter months. Not sure where to start? Here are our easiest do’s and don'ts for healthy winter lip care this season:
DON’T. LICK. YOUR. LIPS!
When your lips are dry and your lip balm is nowhere near, you may be tempted to lick them to make them moist. But this actually has the opposite effect––saliva actually dries up your lips even faster, according to Dr. Piliang. The reason for this is that the enzymes in saliva (meant to digest food) are very irritating to the lips.
This is also highly relevant to our current reality, where a high majority of us need to wear a mask throughout the day. The condensation from your breath that is then trapped within your facial covering can leave lips feeling tight and irritated, so make it a priority to carry a lip balm (and spares!) with you wherever you go.
DON’T: BITE OR FURTHER IRRITATE YOUR LIPS IF THEY ARE PEELING
You may be tempted to chew your lips in order to get rid of that pesky, bumpy feeling that flaking lips cause. However, according to Dr. Piliang, scrubbing or picking the peeling skin off of your lips creates cracks and sores and simply makes things worse.
She suggests to rather apply a “heavy ointment-based balm that will be soothing and help heal your lips.”
DO: USE A BALM THAT IS OINTMENT OR OIL-BASED
An ointment-based lip balm works best to lock in moisture and prevent any future cracks on your lips. Look for a healing ointment that contains either shea butter, glycerin, or natural oils such as coconut oil, almond oil, castor oil, avocado oil, etc.
DO: CHOOSE A DAYTIME BALM WITH SPF
Another crucial ingredient in lip care is sunscreen. Despite the colder temperatures, the sun still shines in the winter, and UVA/UVB rays can both burn and age the thin skin on your lips. Make sure you choose a balm that has an SPF15 (at least) if you plan on wearing it during the day––and yes, even indoors!
If your lips are in severe dehydration, we also suggest avoiding the use of lipsticks or glosses. Many of the ingredients in makeup tend to be drying, so consider giving your lips a break or opting for a tinted lip balm instead.
DON’T: FORGET TO PROTECT YOUR LIPS AT NIGHT
The majority of us sleep at least some part of the night with our mouths open, which causes even further lip dryness. Whether or not you are experiencing dehydrated lips, we suggest swiping on your most hydrating balm before climbing into bed.
On a final note, if your lips are in a dire state, make sure to avoid any aggressive exfoliants or irritating products. With some gentle care and patience, we promise you’ll be back to smooth lips in no time!
Until next time,
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