People tend to spend plenty of time and money on skincare, applying moisturizers, serums, and sheet masks to keep skin soft and smooth. But many often neglect the most sensitive skin on the face: the lips.
The skin on the lips is thinner than skin elsewhere on the face and body. In fact, it’s so thin that the blood vessels show through, giving lips their reddish color. Unlike the rest of your skin, lips don’t have oil glands to keep them naturally moisturized so it’s important to give them extra care and attention. After all, nothing can ruin a flawless makeup look quite like dry, flaky lips! Not to mention that dry, cracked lips can be painful.
Chapped lips can be a sign of dehydration, but they can also be cause by cold and dry weather. So if you’re off to enjoy a white Christmas somewhere, take extra care of your kissers. Read on to find out how you can keep your lips soft and kissable, no matter what the weather.
How to Kiss Dry Lips Goodbye
Stay hydrated. First things first: Get things in good working condition inside your body and the benefits will spread outward. Make sure you stay drink enough water each day to keep your lips from getting parched. Also limit your consumption of foods loaded with salt (canned and processed foods, for example) and sugar as these can lead to dehydration.
Stop licking your lips. It’s a vicious cycle: When your lips are dry and chapped, you tend to lick them in the hopes of getting some moisture in there. The problem is that saliva contains acid that can exacerbate the dryness. Stop licking your lips and instead opt for other lip-conditioning treatments.
Remember that prevention is better than cure. Don’t wait until your lips are dry before giving them the TLC they deserve. Just as you keep your body moisturized with lotion daily, show your lips the same kind of love. Experts say petrolatum (petroleum jelly) and dimethicone can help your lips stay moisturized. If you’re looking for more natural products, try oils that are safe for ingestion like coconut, almond, or jojoba oil; shea butter; infused with Vitamin E. Petroleum jelly works, too! Just make sure you aren’t allergic to these products.
Make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin B. A deficiency in Vitamin B2 (or riboflavin) can lead to cracked lips, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. So can a deficiency in Vitamin B3 (niacin) and B6. Ensure that you’re getting a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet of whole foods before deciding to take supplements. Good sources of Vitamin B are leafy greens, beans, nuts, and lean meats.
Mind the ingredients of your lip products. Maybe you tried a new lipstick and your lips had a negative reaction to it. Keep in mind that the fewer ingredients there are in your lip products, the better. Experts count fragrance, flavor, alcohol, and dyes as some of the ingredients that may cause irritation. Some sunscreen—particularly avobenzone and oxybenzone—in lip balm may also have an adverse effect. (Vitamin A is also an ingredient to avoid, more for possible Vitamin A toxicity than drying effects.)
Using some lipstick that you’ve stashed away for some time? Check the color, texture, and smell. These telltale signs normally indicate if a lipstick is expired. If you’re unsure, it’s safer to toss it.
Remove your lipstick. After a long day, it’s tempting to just crawl into bed. But letting your lipstick sit on your lips overnight may cause dryness, especially if some ingredients aren’t especially skin-friendly.
Give your lips a good (but gentle) scrubbing. Just as you exfoliate the rest of your skin regularly, you should also exfoliate your lips to reveal a smoother surface. You can use a ready-made lip scrub or make your own using olive oil and sugar. You can also use an old toothbrush to slough away those flakes. Then moisturize with some lip balm. Whichever exfoliant you choose, just make sure to scrub gently and don’t overdo it. Over-exfoliating can make the problem worse.
Keep the air humid. If you live in a particularly dry area, consider keeping a humidifier at home. Having one in your bedroom can help provide some moisture to your lips as you sleep.