How to Save Dry, Chapped Lips
Dry lips are a common issue throughout the winter months when temperatures dip and the air gets drier. Since the lips are very thin, they are prone to dryness and irritation -- much more than any other part of your body.
If you're dealing with dry, chapped lips and nothing you do seems to help, here are our top tips for restoring a luscious, plumped pout.
#1: Drink Up
First things first, make sure you're drinking plenty of water every day. We know it's tough, but staying hydrated from the inside can drastically improve the appearance of your lips. According to the experts, you should be drinking at least six to eight glasses of water each day. And remember, you don't need to drink plain old H20. Green tea, fresh juices, and shakes are other options if you tend to get bored of regular water.
#2: Apply a Nourishing Lip Balm Daily
This one should be obvious since treating dry skin starts with hydration via a good moisturizer. In this case, it's for the lips. Look for lip products with white petrolatum, lanolin, shea butter, beeswax, and ceramides as they all lock in moisture.
Apply lip balm at least twice a day -- once in the morning and once in the evening. You can, however, apply it every couple of hours to maintain smooth, soft lips throughout the day.
When you're dealing with cold, dry weather, it's important to quench your lips thirst through hydrating, nourishing formulas. So, choose wisely!
The best way to treat chapped lips is using a gentle sugar-based lip scrub. This will help soften the lips and reduce flaking. Choose a scrub made with sugar, which is a great exfoliator and a natural humectant, meaning it attracts water from the deeper layers of your skin.
"You want to be extremely gentle with exfoliation and not scrub your lips raw," says Mary L. Stevenson, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs micrographic surgeon at NYU Langone. "Use a scrub with sugar or a warm washcloth. Just don’t scrub it so hard that it can cause redness."
You can even make your own DIY lip scrub using a mixture of sugar and coconut oil with a few drops of vitamin E oil. It's a natural and nourishing fragrance-free formula for treating cracked lips. Even the American Academy of Dermatology would approve!
#4: Stop Lip Licking
You would think licking your lips would add moisture back in. That's actually not the case! If you have dry lips, licking your lips will make the situation worse and can even cause a skin condition known as Lip Licker's Dermatitis. That's because the saliva evaporates and dries the lips out further, causing redness, dryness, and irritation around your entire mouth.
For the sake of your pout, stop licking! Any time you feel the desire to lick your lips, reach for the petroleum jelly or your daily lip balm. This way, you're treating your lips rather than harming them.
#5: Apply Lip Treatments Before Acne Treatments
Acne treatments like those containing salicylic acid can be quite drying and irritating to the skin. Yet, it is very easy and definitely possible to get this product on your lips when using it to wash or spot treat your face.
Apply an emollient like petrolatum (Vaseline), mineral oil, shea butter, or cocoa butter to your lips beforehand so that they have a protective barrier to avoid irritation.
#6: Protect With SPF
Even in the cold weather, sun damage can still occur due to the persistent UV rays. Use a lip treatment formulated with sunscreen to protect your lips and prevent them from drying out. Remember, your lips are still skin. They need sun protection just as much as the rest of your face and body!
"It's important to use added SPF if your skin is inflamed and you think you may be getting added sun exposure," says Erum Ilyas, a dermatologist in Pennsylvania. "If your dry, chapped skin of the lips is affected by the sun, they can burn easily and possibly trigger a fever blister outbreak. If you already have dry lips, it's possible for more fever blisters or cold sores to spread in that dry, cracked skin."
#7: Bring in a Humidifier
If you're applying lip balms and ointments daily and still your lips remain dry and chapped, it might be worth addressing the root cause: dry air?
When the air is too dry in your home, a humidifier can add moisture back into the air, keeping your lips hydrated. Just be cautious with the thermostat. Since the winter air is already drying enough, you don't want to end up with a really hot house that sucks the moisture right out of the air. That would just be a recipe for dry, cracked lips!
Invest in a high-quality humidifier, and make sure you are using it correctly.
#8: Follow a Lip Care Routine
You probably have a skincare routine? Then create a lip care routine too.
"It is best practice to treat your lips with a nourishing lip mask before bedtime to help lips repair overnight," says Dr. Ilyas. This is especially important for people that sleep with their mouth open since they're far more prone to chapped lips. Apply white petrolatum or Aquaphor in the corners of the mouth to create a barrier over your lips."
If you're dealing with irritation, try a wax-based formula infused with eucalyptus to soothe sensitive skin and dryness. For the time being, you might want to put down the lipstick.
Since the lips don't have the same concentration of oil glands as regular skin and are constantly exposed to factors like lip licking and cold weather, the pout needs extra TLC.
Visit your dermatology clinic for professional advice if you're dealing with an allergic reaction or eczema. They'll be able to prescribe and recommend skincare products to treat the issue.
In the meantime, protect your pout from the cold air, give them plenty of moisture, and prioritize their wellness this winter!