Lips are more vulnerable to the environment than any other part of the face because they do not contain oil glands. Dry hot climates, harsh winter weather, dry heated air, or even just the habit of constantly licking your lips, can dry out the skin, leaving the lips rough, chapped, or even cracked.
Avoiding chapped lips, and/or caring for and healing lips that are already dry and chapped requires consistency and patience. Chapped lips are not going to heal in a day, and missing even one day of treatment can set you back.
There are loads of lip balms to keep your lips moist and protected against the elements. Choosing the right one can be confusing. Some products provide no more than a wax coating with no emollients or water-binding agents. These only plaster down the dry skin without adding moisture to reduce the dryness. Others balms contain shea butter, cocoa butter and lanolin which are quality emollients that not only seal out the dry conditions, they keep the lips moist. Then there are medicated lip balms. Many of these usually contain only camphor, menthol, peppermint oil or eucalyptus, and they can irritate the skin, making the dry, chapped condition even worse.
What to do
First, avoid licking your lips. Doing so may temporarily make them feel better, but in the long run it makes the problem worse. Saliva contains two compounds that promote dryness in skin – amylase and maltase. These enzymes strip away the sensitive skin of your lips. When saliva dries on the lips, it leads to further evaporation of the natural moisture in the lips.
During the day apply a lip balm that contains SPF 15 and titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide. If you wear lipstick, especially any opaque lipstick, it may not be necessary to apply SPF protection. Opaque lipsticks have enough sun-blocking protection to enable them to screen out the sun’s harmful rays and they act as a moisturizer as well.
DID YOU KNOW?
Research has shown that women who apply lipstick more than once a day are at a much lower risk of getting lip cancer than women who apply lipstick less often.
At night, after cleansing your face, apply a thick layer of an emollient lip balm (even a very thick emollient lip gloss can work well). Do this every night as part of your nightly skin-care routine and you will be thrilled with the difference in how your lips look and feel.
Once the lips start to crack or peel, it’s not easy to restore them to their soft, smooth, hydrated state. Here are two home treatments that will recondition the lips and get you smiling again.
For Chapped Lips:
- ½ tsp. cottage cheese
- ½ tsp. sour cream
- ½ tsp. beet juice
- Rose oil
Mix first three ingredients in a small bowl. Pat over the lips with clean fingertips. Leave on the lips for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and finish by patting a few drops of rose oil on the lips to seal in the moisture.
Why this works: The lactic acid in dairy products hydrates and exfoliates the skin. Beet juice infuses the lips with Vitamin A and C. Rose oil has been known for its healing properties since ancient times. It stimulates the circulation and promotes the growth of new cells. It is used to help heal dry skin.
For Cracked Lips:
- 1 tsp. shredded cucumber
- ½ tsp. honey
- ½ tsp. sour cream
- Almond Oil
Mix first three ingredients in a small bowl. Pat over the lips with clean fingertips. Leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and finish by patting a few drops of Almond oil on the lips to seal in the moisture.
Why this works: The anti-inflammatory properties of cucumber and honey soothe cracked lips and help bring them back to their soft, supple state. Almond oil is known for its healing properties as well as it moisturizing properties.
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