The Fix: Dry Lips
Pucker up buttercup! It's officially winter and you know what that can mean? Dry winter lips. This can lead to cracked corners of the mouth, dryness, peeling, splitting and can become pretty uncomfortable. NO THANKS! Why does this happen and what can you do?
A lip lesson
The skin on your lips is very different than other areas of the body. In fact it is one of the thinnest areas of skin on the body. Lips do not have oil glands, hair follicles or melanin. This means with out oil glands there is no lubrication being produced for your lips, which can cause them the dry out pretty easily. Melanin is what protects your skin from the sun and is the pigment that gives you a tan or freckles. Since the lips don't produce melanin that is why the lips are more prone to sunburn and it's important to wear sun protection on your lips as well.
There are definitely some surprising causes of dry lips that go beyond cold weather. For example, whitening toothpastes contain peroxide and baking soda. Which are great for brightening your pearly whites, but harsh on thin delicate lip skin if not rinsed off completly. Lip plumping glosses usually contain ingredients such as cinnamon or menthol, which basically act as a tissue irritant to plump the lips, hence the burn! Great for plumping, not so great for every day use and can really dry out the lips. Even some topical medications for acne or retinoids can dry out the lips. Though they are never applied to the lips, they move underneath the skin and reach the underlying lip tissue.
+ Dry climate
+ Heated indoor air
+ Sudden change in weather
+ Whitening toothpastes
+ Lip plumping lip glosses
+ Some topical skin medications such as retinol or acne treatments
+ Taking an antibiotic short term for an illness
Have you ever had cracked corners of your mouth? A condition that goes beyond chapped lips is a condition called Angular Cheilitis. It's when the corners of one or both sides of your mouth crack and could even bleed. It is caused from bacteria or fungus and can become pretty painful and uncomfortable. Both bacteria and fungus is present on our skin and in our saliva at all times, but is kept under control by our bodies immune system. However, sometimes when our immune system can become weak for whatever reason it can cause minor conditions such as angular cheilitis. You may see a doctor and they can prescribe a topical ointment to relieve this minor condition.
What you can do
If your lips are annoyingly chapped I would recommend exfoliating first then hydrating. If your lips are to the point of bleeding and are quit painful I would start first by hydrating and getting the tissue healthier so you can then exfoliate. By exfoliating first it helps to remove the layer of dead skin cells. Then the penetration of hydration will absorb into fresh skin and not that crunchy dry layer. Bonus: Exfoliating your lips on a regular basis will help to alleviate clogged pores and blackheads we can form around our lips!
Step 1: Exfoliate
Method 1: Gently brushing your lips with a wet toothbrush daily.
Method 2: Purchase a specialized lip scrub/polish.
Method 3: Make your own with ingredients you have in your pantry. See my recipe below!
Splurge | $36
Bliss Fabulips Pout-O-Matic Lip-Perfecting System
1. Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl and scoop into a tiny jar
2. Buff lips in a circular motion
3. Rinse with water
4. Finish with lip balm
Step 2: Hydrate
I recommend bees wax based lip balms because there are better natural ingredients and nutrient oil hydrators in those type of balms opposed to petroleum based brands. Also, ingredients such as menthol or peppermint would not be a great idea for chapped lips. Can you say burn?! YIKES!
Any of the Burt's Bee's Replenishing or Hydrating flavors are awesome!
My personal favorite is the Burt's Bees Replenishing Lip Balm, Pink Grapefruit
Badger Cocoa Butter Lip Balm Stick - Creamy Cocoa smells absolutely DELICIOUS!
My favorite sunscreen lip balm is Coola Liplux Lip Balm SPF 30 , Original