Got the winter blues? Chances are your lips do too. Cold, windy weather is never good for the skin, and most people tend to feel the brunt of this dryness in their lips. But before you load up on expensive lip moisturizers from the drug store, try these tips.
Choose Your Lip Products Wisely
“Some lip balms actually dry the lips out,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a New York dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets From a Top New York Dermatologist. “You end up applying them constantly to get rid of the dry feeling, but you’re doing more harm than good.” Check the ingredients on your favourite lip product — if it contains camphor, phenol or menthol, chuck it as these can dry your lips out and should be avoided.
“It’s best to avoid lip balms with artificial flavours and scents,” says Dr. Jaliman. Not only can these be drying, they can also cause an allergic reaction. Instead, “look for balms with wheat germ oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, aloe vera, shea butter, sunflower oil and cotton seed oil. These really moisturize and they seal in the moisture.” The best part? Using natural items will save you money — no more shelling out for tiny over-priced pots of lip remedies. One natural product to avoid? Beeswax. It may feel super hydrating but it doesn’t lock in the moisture like other oils.
Quit Licking Your Lips!
It’s super tempting to wet your lips when they’re feeling dry, but licking your lips is one of the worst things you can do. If this is something you do unconsciously, you’re going to have to make a concentrated effort to break the habit.
Don’t Just Focus On The Lips
All the lotions and oils in the world won’t help if the rest of your body is lacking in moisture, so it’s important to keep hydrated. Drink lots of water throughout the day and consider using a humidifier while you sleep. Additionally, you should avoid coffee and alcohol, which can both dehydrate you. If you do decide to imbibe, make sure you drink twice as much water to make up for it.
You Are What You Eat
Sometimes the things you eat and drink can have a big impact on your lips. According to California dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey, many common foods can suck moisture from your lips, including citrus fruit, mint and cinnamon. Even some herbal teas can dry your lips out.
To Exfoliate Or Not To Exfoliate?
“Lips exfoliate themselves naturally,” says Dr. Jaliman. “I'm not a big fan of products claiming to exfoliate the lips with salicylic acid — these are very drying and can cause more peeling, cracking and bleeding lips.” If you feel like you need to exfoliate your lips, try brushing them gently with a toothbrush when you wash your face.
Protect Your Lips
If you're spending time outdoors, make sure you protect your lips from the elements. Cover them with a scarf when you have the wind in your face, and use sunscreen on them when they're exposed so you don't burn them.
See Your DoctorIf none of these remedies work for you and you're still battling with dry, cracked or bleeding lips, you may need to visit your doctor — a medical condition could be the root of the problem. Additionally, some prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause lip dryness, so rule these out with a trip to your M.D.