Although holiday jingles tell us that it’s “the most wonderful time of the year,” Winter can be tough on our skin, especially the thin skin of our lips! The combination of dry indoor heat and cold, windy, outdoor weather can leave our lips chapped, peeling and even cracked. To make matters worse, many of the advertised lip care products on the market just mask the problem by coating lips in an occlusive layer of petroleum derived ingredients that do nothing to heal the condition. (Did you know that the average woman in the United States dies with up to 5lbs of undigested petroleum-based lip product in her intestines?!). Let’s take a look at why your lips need special “TLC” and tips and tricks to keep them healthy and “Mistletoe Ready” this Winter!
Why is the Skin on Our Lips So Special?
Unlike the skin on your face, our lips have virtually NO oil glands to keep them hydrated. In addition, the skin cells of your lips do not contain melanin, the component of skin that allows it to tan and protect itself from the sun’s rays. As a result, our lips have very little protection from dry conditions, wind, sun and other harsh elements.
Consistent use of naturally derived lip balms that contain protective waxes and essential oils are the fastest ways to heal compromised lips. But, there are several other ways to prevent and treat dry, chapped Winter lips!
1. Drop the Habit of Licking Your Lips!
It feels natural to lick your lips when they are dry right? But, you’re actually making the problem worse! As soon as you lick your lips, your saliva begins to evaporate and when it does your lips are left even DRIER! In addition, the digestive enzymes in your saliva can irritate the delicate and, already compromised, skin on your lips! Apply a restorative lip balm every time you get the urge to lick!
2. Take a Second Look at Your Diet
Your skin is the largest organ of your body, but it is the LAST to reap the benefits of what you eat and drink. So, if your diet is devoid of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and hydration, your lips will surely suffer. Ensure your diet is supplemented with lots of vegetables and healthy fats, such as nuts and avocados, to make sure the skin of your lips can function properly and maintain a strong barrier function.
3. Keep Water Within Reach at ALL TIMES
The average micro-climate of a Midwest household in Winter is drier than the Sahara Desert! Indoor heating zaps the moisture in the air and our skin, hair, eyes and nasal passages SUFFER! This means that in the Winter we need to substantially up our water intake to keep our lips comfortable. Shoot for AT LEAST half of your bodyweight in ounces every day to keep your body hydrated. Up this intake if you are experiencing dry lips!
4. Keep Dry Lips at Bay by Removing Your Color Stay Lip Products Thoroughly
In a world of 18-hour, long lasting lipsticks, most of us need to take a second look at how we’re removing these tenacious colors. The chemistry of these products can make them incredibly drying and if we’re not fully removing them before bed, they will continue to dry out our lips throughout the night. Most are effectively removed with traditional makeup removers, but it is a good idea to do a second cleanse with an oil based cleanser, or olive oil, to be sure! After removal, seal in moisture with a natural lip balm rich in essential oils.
5. Keep a Balm by Your Bedside at ALL TIMES
If your lips are dry during the day, chances are they’re dry at night as well. Get in the habit of keeping a lip balm by your bedside for bedtime use and quick applications every time you wake up during the night. This will ensure you wake up with hydrated lips!
6. Use Your Toothbrush for MORE Than Just Your Teeth!
Just as exfoliation is an important step for overall skin health, it can be an integral step in keeping your lips healthy! This can be easily accomplished with your toothbrush, a lip scrub, or even a flannel or wash cloth. Make sure any product you use is indicated for the delicate skin of your lips. Applying a thin layer of olive oil or coconut oil before gently scrubbing your lips is also really effective and leaves a healing layer of hydration on your lips!
7. Treat Your Lip Balm Like Your Smart Phone…. Take It EVERYWHERE WITH YOU!
They key to not experiencing dry, cracked lips in the Winter is PREVENTION. Get in the habit of having natural ingredient based lip balms everywhere; your car, your purse, your pocket, your desk…everywhere! The more you make application a habit, the less of your chances of ever having a problem with dry lips.
8. Invest in Ingredients! Natural is BEST!
The majority of lip products available at drugstores simply mask the symptoms of your dry lips. Their ingredients are derived from crude petroleum and are merely thick occlusive that sit on the surface of the lips and prevent moisture loss. They do nothing to actually hydrate or heal the lips. In addition, we end up ingesting much of the product we apply to our lips. So, it’s important to consider what ingredients we are putting in our bodies! Look for lip balms that have naturally derived ingredients such as cocoa butter, coconut oil, milk thistle seed oil and beeswax.
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