Winter can be a rough time of the year for your lips. The cold air, wind, sun and heated indoors can all eliminate moisture and create chapped lips.
Some facts about the lips first!
The skin on the lips only has 3 to 5 cellular layers which is thin compared to the face which typically has up to 16 layers.
The lips skin is not hairy and does not have sweat glands. Therefore, it does not have the usual protection layer of sweat and body oils which keep the skin smooth, inhibit pathogens, and regulate warmth. For these reasons, the lips dry out faster and become chapped more easily!
As already mentioned, the the skin is thin. Thinner skin means that it’s easier to see blood vessels underneath giving the reddish hue of the lips (which is more pronounced in lighter skin colors).
Now to the Winter Tips!
1. Don’t lick your lips! The enzymes in Saliva are meant to digest food and are irritating to the lips. When the saliva dries, it takes more moisture from your skin. Break yourself of this habit by applying lip balm throughout the day.
2. Eliminate dead skin. Apply a gentle lip scrub weekly. When you remove dead skin cells, you will have a smooth surface to allow for better absorption of moisture. Here is a recipe for a DIY scrub!
Brown Sugar and Honey Scrub
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 squirt of honey (just enough to mix with brown sugar and make a paste)
1 drop vanilla
1. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly and store up to a month in glass jar or tub with lid. Old eye cream jars work great.
2. To apply: Rub scrub into lips and exfoliate gently. Let it sit for a minute or two, then rinse off with warm water. Apply a generous slather of lip balm afterwards to rehydrate lips. Use 1 or 2 times weekly.
3. Use your lipstick! Opaque lipsticks that are hydrating offer great protection against cold, sun, wind and helps prevent chapping. Make sure to re-apply when it wears off. It is also a fun way to brighten your spirit during the cold/dreary months!
4. Stay hydrated! Healthy skin and lips need lots of water! Also, adding a humidifier and plants to your home can help add moisture to the air and help keep lips smooth and moisturized!
5. Apply the correct lip balm- Watch for ingredients that can dry the lips out more like Eucalyptus, menthol, camphor and phenol. Those ingredients tend to make you re-apply more often as well. Instead, use balms with ingredients such as Lanolin, glycerin, ceramides, beeswax, coconut oil, plant oils like Aloe Vera and jojoba, and herbs like chamomile and calendula.
By Julie Camp: Educator & Licensed Cosmetologist at La’ James International College East Moline.