The days are short, the air is brisk, and your lips just can’t seem to stay hydrated—sound familiar? It’s not unusual to experience chapped lips during the colder weather of winter. Trying to fix the issue by slathering on one moisturizer or another, in an attempt to restore life to your parched lips, only brings temporary relief.
So, what can you do?
Don’t assume that you’re cursed to have dry lips forever. With the right approach, you can restore moisture to your lips. Keep reading to find out how.
What Causes Chapped Lips?
Your lips are one of the only areas on your body that doesn’t produce natural oils. Unlike the rest of your skin, your lips don’t have oil glands.1
Oil is produced by the body to prevent moisture loss. Without the benefit of natural oils, your lips actually dry out significantly faster than other parts of your body. Additionally, your lips have a much thinner layer of cells compared to your skin, which also leads them to be more prone to dryness, cracking, and even bleeding.2
This is particularly an issue during the winter months. When the weather is cold and dry, moisture evaporates from your skin at a quicker rate. So, during this season, it’s extra important to make sure you’re staying on top of your lip health.
Here are five tips for avoiding chapped lips during cold weather:
1. Use Non-Irritating Lip Balm, Lipstick, And Other Lip Products
Although they can offer temporary relief, some lip balms might actually leave your chapped lips more scaly, dry, and cracked in the long-run. Lip balm does add a temporary layer of moisture to your lips. But when that layer inevitably evaporates, it may take the rest of the moisture in your lips with it, leaving them drier than they were to start.3
As you might imagine, this can quickly become a vicious cycle that leaves you endlessly reaching for your chapstick.
Beyond this, many ingredients in lip balms, such as menthol, camphor, eucalyptus, lanolin, and oxybenzone may cause allergic reactions, or otherwise irritate your lips. Flavors like cinnamon, citrus, mint, and peppermint can be especially irritating as well.4 So, do your best to avoid these additives.
Instead, look for lip balms that use hydrating, non-irritating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and jojoba oil.5,6
2. Avoid Licking, Biting, And Picking At Your Lips
Although you might be tempted to lick your lips in order to add moisture to them, just like lip balm, lip-licking can actually leave your lips drier than before. The reason being is that as your saliva evaporates, it pulls the moisture in your lips with it.7
3. Stay Hydrated
Dermatologists maintain that dehydration is one of the main causes of chapped lips.8,9 So, when your lips are dry, it’s likely that your insides are too. So, instead of attempting to hydrate externally with lip balm and lip licking, hydrating internally by drinking plenty of water is a far better option for holistic wellness.
Another great way to stay hydrated during a cold, dry winter is to use a humidifier in your bedroom at night.10
4. Cover Your Mouth From The Elements
When you go outside in extreme conditions, you typically cover your body to protect it, right? For example, when you’re exposed to high levels of UV radiant, you wear sunscreen, and when you’re out in the cold, you bundle up. However, one thing that’s often left uncovered is your face—and especially—your lips.
So, in order to avoid sun damage on bright days, consider wearing a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher.11 Furthermore, when you’re out in the cold, put on a scarf to cover your lips from the cold weather. Simple precautions like these can do wonders for your lips in the long-run.
5. Exfoliate Your Lips Regularly
In the winter, when it’s cold and dry patches on your lips are common, one way to potentially prevent full-on chapped lips is to gently exfoliate them.
Be careful, though. If you scrub too hard, you might accidentally remove too much skin, leading to more irritation. Consider using a gentle sugar scrub on your lips to help buff away the dead patches. And be sure to always follow up with a moisturizing lip balm to keep the dryness at bay.
Know When To Seek Help From a Dermatologist For Chapped Lips
If you try all these tips and nothing seems to work, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor or dermatologist.
Almost everybody encounters chapped lips at some point in their life. For most, it’s nothing to worry about. If you follow these tips, you should be on your way to regaining happy, healthy lips in no time.