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Treat Dry, Chapped Lips In Cold Weather

Dry and flaky, chapped lips in winter doesn’t have to be a given. If your lip balm alone isn’t quite cutting it, try these handy lip care hacks for softer, smoother, more youthful lips.

Treat Dry, Chapped Lips In Cold Weather

The cold weather is a nightmare for our skin, but even more so, for our lips. Our pout can become dry, cracked, chapped, and even bleed when they’re exposed to the elements. “Winter is the worst time of the year for lips,” explains cosmetic nurse, 'The Lip Nurse', Nina Prisk. “Most people suffer from chapped, dry lips during the winter months. There are a number of factors which really impact the lips at this time of year including cold weather, prolonged exposure to central heating, as well as diet and stress.”

“Compared to our skin, our lips have a much thinner layer of cells called keratinocytes, making them especially vulnerable to dehydration. They also lack a layer of cells called the stratum corneum, which is present in skin and contains fatty molecules such as ceramides which help to protect against water loss,” says Prisk. “It’s also believed that water loss occurs three times faster from the lips than from other areas of the skin.”

For those of you who want moist, soft lips (Who doesn’t?) no matter the weather, read on for our top tips to the ultimate winter lip care routine.

Hydrate From Within

Drinking the recommended 2-3 liters of water each day boosts the rest of your body and overall health as well as your lip moisture. In fact, if you’ve got dry lips, some say it’s a sign you’re dehydrated!

Naturally, your skin produces oil to help to keep hydration levels high, but your lips don’t produce any oil or sweat glands so they’re at risk of becoming dehydrated pretty quickly, and it’s up to us to keep them moisturized where they lack natural lubrication and protection.

Eating crisps or salty snacks, as well as drinking coffee and alcohol can also dehydrate your body which could contribute to dry lips and skin.

“Keeping hydrated by drinking lots of water is essential to preventing dehydration and the cracked lips that it causes. In winter there’s the temptation to drink more tea and coffee to keep warm but these both contain caffeine which is dehydrating, so try and opt for herbal tea or hot water with lemon sometimes in order to make sure you’re getting enough water too,” says Prisk.

 

Leave The Alone

Don't lick, bite or pick your dry lips. “When you lick your lips it’s usually to try and moisturise them. In the winter when you’re spending lots of time in centrally heated rooms, they can feel drier than usual. However, saliva actually dries them out and creates damaging friction. Sometimes it can become a bad habit which you can help to break by doing something else with your mouth such as chewing gum,” says Frisk.

“The lips are made up of delicate skin that can be damaged easily. Usually picking and biting happens when there’s already damage to the surface of the lip. Try to resist the urge to pull or bite the rough or loose bits of skin and instead apply a treatment to moisturise and hydrate them."

 

Exfoliate Weekly

Amp up the prep, to pep them up! Just like you exfoliate your skin, your lips will benefit from a smoothing-over too. Once a week, use an old toothbrush with warm water and gently brush lips to buff away any dry, flaky dead skin cells. Go gently as your lips are sensitive and can break and bleed easily if you rub too hard. Regular exfoliation means you can avoid unsightly flakes, and enhance cell turnover so that lips look and feel smooth and healthy.

“Don’t make the mistake of doing it every day though, because this will strip away the natural moisture in the lips and reduce their ability to keep themselves hydrated and healthy,” says Frisk.

Exfoliated lips also help any lip balms or treatments you apply afterward to absorb more easily and get to work faster. Approach exfoliation in two ways – use a traditional grainy exfoliant or a chemical exfoliant that contains fruit-based, lactic, and phytic AHAs that softens dry skin and encourage cell renewal, however only use acid products that are specifically created for lip application because they can be dangerous if ingested.

Lip scrubs are a great way to enhance your exfoliation regime too! Try whipping up a homemade concoction with coffee, ground cinnamon, or brown sugar granules for the grains, some nourishing, moisturizing oil like coconut or olive oil, and some honey to hold it all together.

Exfoliation can be harsh so if you have constantly stinging, bleeding, or red lips, avoid exfoliants altogether as it could make things worse. Instead, use a flannel to remove flakes and boost circulation for better-looking lips.

Keep Them Moisturized 

Applying a moisturizing lip balm regularly can enhance cell turnover and rejuvenation, and soothe dry, dehydrated lips. Look for lip balms or lip treatments that contain super-hydrating, soothing, and protective antioxidant ingredients. “Specific oils, healing compounds, hydrating actives, skin barrier rebuilding, and environmental protector compounds are a great ally for the lips, especially during winter,” says celebrity facialist and skincare expert Pietro Simone.

When hydration is the name of the game, you’re looking for hyaluronic acid and ceramides to visibly smooth, moisturize, and plump lips. Antioxidant-rich ingredients can prevent the breakdown of collagen which decreases with age to reveal fine lines around the lips. Soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients like CBD, shea butter, and castor oil will help to relieve pain, soreness, stinging, or irritation and calm chapped cracked lips. Applying SPF to your lips can also slow the aging process and protect against free radical damage from harmful UV rays.

When we sleep, we lose 25% more water thanks to trans-epidermal water loss, so hydrating and applying a moisturizing lip treatment is key before going to bed. Wake up to pillowy-soft lips when you apply a replenishing lip mask or treatment overnight. Don’t be afraid to slather it on, but maybe use an old pillowcase or use a cover to protect your bed linen!

Article: Treat Dry, Chapped Lips In Cold Weather

Treat Dry, Chapped Lips In Cold Weather

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The model featured in this story is not associated with COSME Magazine and does not endorse it or the products shown.

Photography Brydie Mack | Brydie Mack.Com

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