Dry lips can be painful and uncomfortable. As the weather gets colder and drier, the thin skin on the lips tends to dry out faster than the rest of our skin. So, it’s essential that during the colder seasons, our lips need even more hydration than normal.
The skin protecting our lips is much thinner than anywhere else and the most exposed to the environment, making it more sensitive to weather changes. But there are a few simple steps you can take to protect and heal your lips throughout the winter months.
Keep reading as we show you how to get smooth, soft lips this winter.
Why Lips Get Dry during the Winter
Little humidity in the air during the winter months is known to cause chapped lips. This occurs as the wind picks up and the moisture in the air decreases. Furthermore, gusts of cold, dry air in the winter suck the moisture out of your skin. This is particularly more so on your lips as moisture escapes quickly through the top layer of skin. So, cold weather can provoke an inflammatory response in the lips which can cause moisture loss.
The common symptoms include dryness, redness, cracking, flaking, and tender or sore lips. But, it’s not just the weather outside that cause’s dry lips. Additionally, using central heating during cold season can also strip the lips of its moisture.
How to Prevent Chapped Lips
Above all, there are a few key steps that you can take to avoid making your lips dry. Simply, following these steps should ensure that your lips stay healthy and hydrated. This will prevent them from getting chapped.
Just as drinking more water can help boost our skin’s hydration levels, our lips can benefit from it too. Additionally, inadequate hydration may cause your lips to crack.
We tend to drink less water in the winter, resulting in dry lips, so hydrating from the inside will help keep them from getting dry. As well as that this will help to keep your lips moisturised and reduce the chance that they will become chapped.
So, making efforts to keep your body hydrated during the winter will help prevent dryness. Alternatively, if you aren’t too keen on drinking water, herbal tea is a great substitute.
Suggested Article: Hydration Hacks: 12 Easy Ways to Drink More Water.
Use a Good Lip Balm
Chapped lips happen because your lips cannot naturally moisturise themselves, unlike other parts of your body, due to there being no oil glands in your lips.
One of the best ways to avoid dry lips is to help ensure that you replace any moisture that is lost. So, we recommend that you seal in moisture in your lips with a layer of lip balm. Importantly, be sure to use a lip balm with nourishing ingredients such as almond oil or vitamin E, both of which are known for their healing anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties.
Try and keep the lips moist throughout the day by reapplying the lip balm every few hours as this will help to prevent them from drying out in the first place.
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One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to not protect your delicate lip skin during the colder months by not using SPF on your lips.
Everyone should use a lip balm with an SPF of 15 or more to protect their lips year-round. This is because UV rays can be damaging to your lips and, thus, make chapped lips worse.
So, choose a lip balm with an SPF 15 rating or higher if you will be outside, so it can prevent the sun’s harmful rays from drying out your lips.
Use a Humidifier
While you are protecting your lips from the outdoor dry air or elements, indoor air can also be contributing to your dry lips. While the cold air outside contains far less moisture, this combined with heating indoor spaces in the winter causes the air to dry out. So, try installing a humidifier, to reintroduce moisture into your home.
Humidifiers emit a fine water vapour, which moistens the air and slows water evaporation from the skin. This then moistens the air in a room and ultimately moistens your lips. We do recommend that you try to keep the humidity levels in your home between 30 to 50%. Mainly as any air that is too humid can allow bacteria and other microorganisms to grow.
Remember to turn it on at night while you sleep to keep the atmosphere moistened to allow your lips to stay smooth and soft the next morning.
Suggested Article: Prevent Smog and Pollution from Affecting Your Skin.
How to Make Your Own DIY Lip Masks
Using lips masks are a great way to avoid deep cracks and ongoing irritation. Furthermore, they provide an intensive period of hydration, which can make a big difference in combating cold, dry weather.
Here are some great natural solutions to bring back that luscious, smooth appearance.
Cucumber Lip Mask
Cucumber is great for the lips as it contains vitamin C, which aids in collagen production along with keeping lips strong and healthy. Furthermore, this provides resilience to the delicate skin tissue on the lips.
Raw cucumber is 90 per cent water, so it acts as a great natural moisturiser for dry, chapped lips. Additionally, the juice of the cucumber also helps to soothe cuts and burns that your lips are subject to when they are chapped.
To make the lip mask, simply slice up a cucumber into thin pieces and rub the juice over your lips. Let the extract sit on your lips for around five minutes before washing it off with warm water. Simply repeat this a few times a week and you’ll soon see a big difference in how healthy your lips look and feel.
Aloe Vera Lip Mask
Aloe vera has been used for centuries as a healing medicinal plant and contains natural ingredients that soothe the chapped skin along with gently removing the dead layer of skin cells.
In turn, this not only helps repair chapped lips, but it also works to strengthen the thin layers of the skin – leading to stronger lips that don’t chip as quickly.
To make the mask, slice an aloe leaf and scoop up the extract from within before applying it all over your lips. Then, let it sit for ten minutes before rinsing it off gently with lukewarm water. Try and do this every other day to keep your lips in great shape.
Green Tea Lip Mask
Green tea can repair damaged skin cells on your lips and has antioxidants and tannins that hydrate dry lips. Furthermore, it is also packed full of antioxidants that make your lips healthy and strong.
To use green tea as a lip mask, dip a green tea bag in some hot water for a few minutes. Once cool, apply the tea bag against the lips for four to five minutes.
Do this a few times a week and watch the condition of your lips improve!
Rose Petal and Milk Mask
Rose petals are a great remedy for dry lips as they help your skin restore its natural pH and heal inflammation. Additionally, it also helps in naturally lightening the tone of discoloured lips and its antibacterial properties also help in protecting your lips from germs.
Bonus: It also gives your lips a subtle, rosy tint.
The milk when mixed with the rose petals will gently exfoliate your lips and remove the dead skin whilst also working to nourish and moisturise them. Moreover, if that wasn’t enough reason to use this lip mask, it also contains natural oils that provide instant relief against cracked lips.
To make the lip mask, grab a handful of rose petals and clean them thoroughly in water. Allow the petals to soak in milk for a few hours and then mash the petals in the milk until they begin to form a thick paste. Next, apply this paste to your lips and let it rest for twenty minutes before washing it off.
Use this mask on your lips twice a week and notice your lips getting softer and rosier by the day.
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Kiwi and Yogurt Lip Mask
Kiwi is another great natural ingredient that works to combat dry, chapped lips. This is due to the alpha-hydroxy acids and vitamin C found in the kiwi as it works to brightens your lips. This combined with the yoghurt works to smooth the lips, as the AHA in yoghurt rejuvenates and recharges the skin cells. Additionally, the lactic acid acts as a powerful nutrient that smoothens out rough skin.
The lactic acid is also good for exfoliation and will scrub off any dead skins cells while nourishing the lips.
To make the mask, combine one teaspoon of yoghurt with a slice of the mashed up pulp of the kiwi. Then, apply the mask all over your lips and cover them with a small piece of plastic wrap.
The wrap will help to lock in the heat and intensifies the mask’s effectiveness.
Let sit for 5 minutes and then rinse with warm water.
DIY Lip Scrubs
Getting rid of flaky dead skin is essential when starting the healing process.
Just as exfoliation is key for removing dead skin cells from the rest of your body, gently applying a lip scrub helps to banish flaky skin for a smoother, healthier look. Furthermore, rubbing scrubs that are made for the lips onto them in gentle circular motions can lightly remove the dead skin cells.
When you remove the dead cells, you’ll have a smooth surface to help all the hydration get absorbed more easily.
Importantly, it’s wise not to use them more than 3 or 4 times per week. As you do not want to strip the lips of their natural moisture. Doing so would make chapped lips worse.
Sugar and Honey Lip Scrub
Honey has hydrating properties that will nourish the lips making it an ideal treatment for chapped lips. Additionally, sugar is one of the best natural exfoliators that will scrub off any flaky skin or dead skin cells. It works to help restore the natural softness of the lips.
To make the scrub, mix half a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of honey together to make a coarse paste and apply it to your lips. Let it soak for a few minutes before rinsing it off and repeat the process once a day as long as you need to.
Keep any leftover honey sugar scrub in a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and store it indefinitely at room temperature.
Coconut Oil and Sea Salt Scrub
The minerals found within the coconut oil helps to moisturise the uncomfortable dryness along with softening the cracked areas of your lips. The saturated fats in coconut oil have powerful disinfectant and anti-microbial properties to help the skin retain moisture. Combining this will the sea salt will exfoliate the lips, whilst further healing and protecting the lips from any infection.
However, if you have an allergy to coconut oil used in any of these recipes, you can simply replace it with cocoa butter or shea butter. It will work just as well.
To make the scrub, mix a teaspoon of coconut oil together with a teaspoon of sea salt into a bowl. Next, apply the mixture all over the chapped lips, by gently using your fingers in a small circular motion. Continue the circular motion for about a minute, before rinsing with a warm washcloth.
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Cinnamon, Brown Sugar and Olive Oil Scrub
Olive oil has anti-ageing properties. Additionally, it contains vitamins A and E that help repair tissue damage, hydrate and protects the skin. The brown sugar is essential as it has smaller particles than white sugar and, therefore, is perfect for sensitive skin.
Not only is it great for gentle, safe exfoliation and scrubbing around areas where the skin is most fragile, but it’s also strong enough to remove dead skin cells.
To make the scrub, take one tablespoon of sugar, a pinch of cinnamon powder, one teaspoon of olive oil and half a tablespoon of honey. Follow this by mixing the ingredients together until you get a thick paste
Rub a small amount onto your lips in a circular motion for 1-2 minutes.
After scrubbing lips, it’s important to follow up with a repairing lip balm. So, make sure you use a nourishing balm to seal the moisture and rehydrate the lips outer layer.
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Peppermint Oil, Mint and Sugar Scrub
Sugar works as a natural exfoliant while peppermint oil helps to stimulate circulation under the lips and create a swollen effect that makes your lips appear fuller. Furthermore, peppermint essential oil also has pain-fighting properties. So if your lips are already chapped and dry, this helps to soothe the irritated skin.
To make the scrub combine a few drops of peppermint oil, a mint leaf and sugar to make a paste. Then simply apply it to the lips. Scrub it gently in circular motions before wiping it off with a damp cloth.
What to Avoid Doing When You Have Dry Lips
Don’t Pick at Your Lips
If you’re finding stray pieces of dried skin on your lips, you may have been picking or biting at them. However, doing this removes the protective covering on the skin. This results in leaving the lips vulnerable to cracking and bleeding.
So, resist the urge to pick at them! If you feel the urge to pick at your lips, immediately apply a lip balm instead.
Avoid Licking Dry Lips
Licking your lips may seem like a quick-fix solution to alleviate any discomfort, but this causes more harm than good. Where your saliva may momentarily provide a coating of moisture it will just evaporate. This would result in your lips feeling drier and more uncomfortable.
Additionally, continuously licking around your mouth will remove any natural oils you have on your lips. Simply break the habit by using a moisturising lip balm whenever you feel the urge to lick.
If you follow the steps above, your lips should stay soft and supple through the cold, winter months. Very rarely, persistent chapped lips may be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Additionally, in case the problem persists or gets worse, you may want to consult a dermatologist.