Defeat Dry Lips
I have big lips (naturally) so I could relate to this classic scene from Napolean Dynamite where he calls home from school to request his ChapStick.
The first time I experienced severely chapped lips was when I was seven: It was winter and because I was a painfully shy kid, I silently suffered through two weeks of red, burning lips that eventually bled from peeling and cracking. My mom took me to our family doctor who sent me home with a little jar of white cream, which I now know was a barrier cream. It saved my lips overnight! To this day, I vividly remember the agonizing feeling of having severely chapped lips and the intense relief I felt from slathering on that thick cream.
Now that it’s chillier outside you may be noticing that your lips are getting drier quicker. The skin on the lips are much more thinner than the other areas on the face so they are more vulnerable to cold, windy weather, and dry indoor heat. Another thing to consider is, lips have very few oil glands that produce moisture so in cold weather lips can dry and crack quickly.
As we head into another Polar Vortex, here are 6 Dos and Don’ts for keeping your pucker soft and healthy.
1. Don’t use ChapStick. Sorry Napolean, but lip balm sticks are waxy and drying so the more you use them, the more dehydrated your lips will become. Instead, opt for ointment-type lip balms that are packaged in small squeeze tubes with ingredients such as petrolatum, castor seed oil, shea butter, and squalane. Use lip balms sparingly.
2. Do try natural oils. If you want to an all-natural fix from your kitchen, the best moisture-boosting options are coconut oil, olive oil (squalane), and sweet almond oil. However, oils generally do not last as long on the lips, and are not as convenient to use as synthetic products.
3. Don’t pick. Peeling the lips can slow healing so if you do have flaking, try exfoliating with a gentle scrub instead. Sugar mixed with olive oil is a good natural option or try the old toothbrush and Vaseline trick: Apply Vaseline to lips, then gently stroke away flakes with a toothbrush. When it comes to exfoliating, I save time in the shower by using my beloved Kellett Polishing Gel Cleanser on both my face and lips.
4. Don’t mattify. Avoid using long-lasting matte lipsticks, as these tend to have drying ingredients. Go for glosses or sheer tints instead with moisturizing ingredients. I’m really enjoying this Elizabeth Grant Collagen Re-Inforce Lip Plumper in clear. It provides moisture and a subtle plumping effect without the tingling sensation that other lip plumpers have, and it goes on really smooth; not sticky like most drugstore lip glosses I’ve tried.
5. Do see a derm. If your lips are burning, cracked and bleeding visit your dermatologist. My derm, Dr. Lisa Kellett at DLK on Avenue in Toronto, says “We can prescribe a steroid to decrease inflammation within a day, and then get you on a barrier cream, which is more moisturizing. The barrier cream will protect your lips and decrease water loss.” Yay barrier cream!
6. Do treat before bed. Apply a thick layer of petrolatum-based ointment before going to sleep to seal in moisture. I like using Aquaphor more so than Vaseline, as it feels less tacky and goes on smother.
Do your lips get very chapped in cold weather? Share your remedies in the comments section below.