Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist - Written by Viddhi Patel (Journalist) on 31st Dec 2020
How to take care of dry lips during winters
Winter is coming!
Who doesn’t love winter, right? But we all don’t like the dryness that comes with it. I am talking about chapped, dry lips that you all know too well! Your mom and friends may be going on like a broken record asking you not to pick on those dried skin protrusions with your teeth and fingers, but you wouldn’t listen, would you? And now you have chapped lips!
The cold breeze hitting your face, the wind that makes your hair poofy when you go for walks, and the dry heat inside your cozy little house, combine everything and there it is... Lips that are perfectly dry! The zipper, coat, long boots, scarf, gloves, socks, everything stocked for the winters? You manage to cover all the body parts, keeping them warm and cozy. But wait! What about your lips? You somehow manage to forget to care about them every winter, leaving them out to dry in the brutal winter air.
You know that the skin on your lipa is delicate; more delicate than the rest of the body, and this type of skin cannot possibly tackle the harsh winter weather. The thin, delicate skin dries out faster than the rest of the skin, and you need to be wary of the protection you provide to your lips that turn dry, itchy, and start cracking.
Know all about chapped, dry lips, what causes them to turn dry and how you can evade the dryness and keep them plump even during winters.
Tight, chapped lips can become soft, hydrated, and plump with a few tweaks in your lifestyle and lip care while the weather continues to be super chilly.
Chapped lips can appear as cracked, flaky, and raw skin in some areas. Your sore lips may make you uncomfortable and constantly irritated every time you lick them unintentionally. Moreover, it is not a sight to behold.
Did you know? Lips are 100 times more sensitive than our fingertips. They have a million nerve endings, which makes them one of the most sensitive body parts.
Chapped lips, what are they?
Cheilitis or chapped lips are when your lips run dry. Lips being sensitive and with no sebaceous gland for moisture run dry. The constant environmental aggressors, cosmetics, and cold weather bring no good, further aggravating the condition. The skin barrier of your lips, as a result, gets irritated, inflamed, and turns flaky, what you refer to as chapped lips.
By the way, the lip-licking does no good either.
What causes chapped lips?
Cold, dry weather dries the delicate lip skin, cracking them.
The weather isn’t always the cause of concern. Certain products may also cause your lips to turn the way they do. Parched lips can be a reason for contact cheilitis, inflaming the lip skin. Certain lipsticks, fragrances, and food coloring agents in certain foods cause allergic reactions, inflaming and chapping the lips. The products you use every day may affect thr skin on your lips. UV exposure is to be blamed as well.
Furthermore, considering all the conditions, dehydrated, chapped lips may also crack, peel, and bleed.
Avoid chapped lips by keeping these things in mind
Mildly dry lips repair themselves effectively, but a damaged skin barrier that seems irritated may require you to repair the barrier. Good petroleum jelly or a lip balm at all times of the day goes a long way as this keeps your lips moist and does not let them dry to become further chapped.
Hydrate your lips at night
Keep your lips hydrated at night by applying lip balm before going to bed. The action helps lips repair themselves throughout the night. When you breathe through your mouth while you sleep, the air around your lips dries out the lips. This is where lip balms come in as the balm doesn’t let the breaths affect the lips.
Retaining moisture in the lips can be done by choosing lip balms or lip care products with humectants, emollients, or occlusives to lock the moisture in and keep the lips hydrated, letting them heal.
Humectants- these attract and bind the water, improving the hydration of the skin’s barrier function.
Occlusives- these obstruct the skin from losing water.
Emollients- these soothe and soften the skin.
Hydrate your lips at night
Do not lick your dry, chapped lips. No, saliva is not hydrating. Moistening the lips by licking them is not an excellent remedy to treat dry lips. Enzymes present in the saliva are meant to digest food and not retain moisture. When you casually apply them to your lips, your lips get irritated.
The uncomfortable feeling you go through when you lick your lips may tempt you to get rid of them by scrubbing on them with your nails and teeth. What this does is cause cracks on the delicate lip skin and even sores. The action decelerates the healing process, making things worse.
Know the ingredients in your lip balm
Lip balms with ingredients that obstruct the moisture from leaving and obstructs the weather to reach the lips like shea butter, petrolatum, jojoba, beeswax, etc., protect the lips and helps keep them hydrated. The hydration helps the cracks and splits to heal. Check the ingredients on the lip balm before making it your own, as some lip balms contain ingredients that negatively affect the lips and the surrounding areas. Use the right lip balm that you trust and the one that doesn’t leave your lips sore.
Sunscreen for your lips
Another way to prevent your lips from damage is by choosing lip balms that incorporate SPF in them that block the radiation from harming your delicate lip skin. Your already dry, cracked lips might suffer more when you expose them to the sun, causing burns.
Scrub the flaky skin out
Mild, gentle exfoliation on the lips occasionally helps the formed flakes to ease. Ensure you apply some hydrator to cover the exfoliated area for healing to occur.
Say no to lip balms containing flavors and fragrances
Your habit of licking lips makes you buy lip balms that smell and taste good. This becomes another cause that you have long overlooked. In reality, it is best if you use non-fragrant products. A basic vaseline does you more good as it has reduced the risk of allergies.
Choose what your lips like
Choosing the right lip balm also means that when you apply the product, you don’t feel uncomfortable. Any burning, stinging sensations shouldn’t be overlooked as these indicate your lips don’t like the product and the product is irritating for the skin.
Keep yourself hydrated
While you keep your lips moisturized/hydrated with balms, make sure you keep your body hydrated by drinking enough water. When your body becomes dehydrated, your lips are likely to become dehydrated.
Ingredients that bring more harm than good
Some lip balms contain menthol, salicylic acid, cinnamic aldehyde, and peppermint ingredients in the lip balms that cause more harm than good, making them dry or even cause an allergic reaction. Lip balms with camphor, eucalyptus, menthol, and the like claim to soothe but what they really do is dry your lips out.
Breathe through your nose
Try & breathe through your nose as breathing through your mouth invites more air to the lips, leaving them dry.
Treat peeling lips before its too late
Treat your dry lips when you notice them. Your ignorance can take you straight to infection or even a cold sore. Dry, peeling, cracking lips can become a home for invaders.
Don’t keep metallic stuff near your lips
When you unintentionally bring everyday products made of metal in direct contact with your lips, which are already sensitive and delicate, it will surely irritate them. So avoid holding hair accessories in your mouth while you tie them up or paperclips in your teeth when you sort the documents.
Smoking can irritate lips
Smoke emitted by tobacco can dry out lips, increasing the likeliness of them getting cracked. Chapped lips are something that takes more time to heal if you keep exposing them to more aggressors.
Minimalist’s word of advice
Do not bite or pick on flaky skin. It may seem tempting but don’t.
Please do not lick dry or cracked skin. This makes them sore. Your saliva is not moisturizing them.
Do not use someone else’s lip balms while you forget yours on the shelf. You don’t want to spread germs.
While you cover your whole body with comfy, cozy clothes during winters, try to cover your mouth with a scarf.
When you ignore your chapped lips and don’t make efforts to treat them, the chances of infecting your lips increase.
Visit a doctor when your lips experience infection-like symptoms, that is, if the lips feel hot, painful, red, and swollen. Severe chapping that is not healing may also need a doctor’s care.
Wrapping it up
Add lip protection to your routine and follow it at night, morning, and even when you step out in the chilly winds.
Always keep your chosen lip balm at hand, so you don’t forget to keep reapplying it.
As lips are delicate and have little control over their health due to the many environmental factors that are constantly drying them out, they need extra care and protection. Soothe them, keep them from chapping, and make them feel their best by taking care of them through little initiatives.