Winterizing Your Routine: Don’t Forget the Lips!
With the holidays now over, I feel like winter has finally arrived. A few of my compatriots here on the blog have begun writing articles about the skincare tips that get them through chilly season, and so I’m here to continue that thread.
A huge problem area for people come wintertime– one that is often overlooked and neglected– are their lips. For instance, I remember being a little girl and having chapped lips all the way up to my nostrils for a few blustery winters in a row. Not only is it difficult to hide in photos and unpleasant to look at, but severe lip chapping is incredibly painful. Eating, drinking, talking, even smiling through the discomfort is a struggle.
So, from one red-lipped crust cruncher to another, here are a few UNISEX lip care tips to focus on this season.
6 Tips to Equip Your Lips for Winter
- Much like the rest of your body, you need to GENTLY exfoliate your lips. But before you go reaching for your shower loofah or potato scrubber, try a bit of sugar instead. Putting a swipe of common granulated sugar on your lips and GENTLY rubbing them together is usually all you need to do to get rid of dead skin cells and loosen stiff flakes. If you don’t want to use your finger, a clean, soft toothbrush works well too. If you want bonus points, make a sugar scrub containing nourishing oils so that your newly exposed skin is moisturized from the start. And don’t forget: GENTLY.
- Never— and I mean NEVER— let yourself leave your home without your lip moisturizer of choice. Chapstick, Vaseline, Aquaphor, aloe-based gels, coconut oil, rose balm, etc. are all great ways of combating January lips. Apply a generous layer whenever you’re about to step outside, and you should be well protected against the elements. For the overachievers, try investing in lip moisturizers with SPF.
- Avoid licking. When a harsh, cold wind picks up and dries the saliva on your lips, you may feel the need to replenish the lost moisture by running your tongue over them. This starts a vicious cycle. Once that saliva dries, the feeling will return. Continuously wetting and drying your lips is a highly effective one-way ticket to cracking. To avoid this travesty, when that dry must-lick-my-lips feeling arises, reach for your lip balm instead. Applying it will prevent the air from sapping that precious mouth moisture and help keep them nice and soft for all of the eating, talking, and smiling you’ll be doing this winter.
- Drink lots of water. Your entire skin barrier is at risk of rapid dehydration when winter arrives. In order to keep your skin AND LIPS smooth and split-free, be sure to drink enough water throughout your day. My dad always told me that I should be “constantly sipping water” as I went about my day, and while that’s an unrealistic goal without access to an IV drip, it is important that you replenish the water you lose naturally on an (inconveniently) frequent basis. If you have to ask yourself whether or not you’re drinking enough water, you probably aren’t.
- Invest in a lip treatment cream for overnight TLC. In the winter, a lot of people crank up the heat in their bedrooms and cozy down for sleep. I mean, as mammals tragically robbed of hibernation, who wouldn’t, right? Unfortunately, the extra heat combined with mouth breathing (this includes even light snoring) can doom your lips to a holiday of hurt. Such a fate can be avoided by applying a lip treatment before bed, which will lock in moisture and protect against a dehydrating snooze.
- Visit a dermatologist. Some conditions are best addressed by a doctor. For instance, if only the far corners of your mouth are chapped, you likely don’t just have chapped lips, but an inflammatory condition called angular cheilitis. Angular cheilitis can’t be beaten with Vaseline– it’s caused by an overgrowth of fungus and/or bacteria and can not only scar, but it may linger for years if left untreated. The same can be said for cold sores, thrush, and HFM disease. Consult with a doctor on how to best treat your case, as everyone’s is unique.
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