Lip Care 101
Kissable lips, a plump pout with a dash of a scarlet lippie…this imagery may seem far fetched if your reality is chapped, cracked and windburn lips, but all is not lost. Here’s how to love your lips!
The lips are very delicate and prone to problems especially during winter months for multiple reasons:
- The skin here is far thinner than the rest of the body. Did you know that vermillion, or the color of your lips is actually from the blood under the skin?
- The lips have little to no sebaceous glands. There are also no hair follicles in the lips like there are on the entire rest of the body (except the soles of feet, palms and certain genital parts). Sebaceous gland work in conjunction with a hair follicle, like a wick pulling sebum to the surface of the skin. Without this function, the lips are unable to lubricate themselves!
- During the frigid winter months, your lips are exposed to the driest of air, wind and sun exposure. This combination leads to a cracked and dehydrated pout. With this time of the year also having a higher rate of colds and flu, more people experience nasal congestion. This congestion causes people to be more likely to breath through their mouth. Therefore more air passes over the lips causing them to dry out further.
What To Do:
Protective lip balm needs to become a daily habit. If you are not one to carry a balm on you throughout the day, then make a habit of storing balm with your toothbrush and using it twice daily after brushing. If you want fuller lips ensure they are well hydrated. Skin cells are like sponges; they soak up moisture, which causes a plumping effect. Dehydrated lips appear thinner and smaller with more fine lines.
Using SPF for the lips is a non-negotiable! During the winter we bundle up; coat, scarf, gloves, but our face is left exposed and the mouth, particularly the bottom lip is at a higher risk for developing skin cancers. Look for balms containing an SPF. The opaqueness of a lipstick may also give some sun protection value (Good news to all those enjoying the oxblood and dark lip trend).
Exfoliating the lips is necessary. This by no means, means picking, peeling or biting flaky lips. Exfoliation can be as simple as performing gentle circular motions with a damp washcloth or dry toothbrush. Store bought lip scrubs are becoming more readily available, or create your own lip scrub with organic brown sugar and coconut oil. Exfoliation also aids circulation, causing the lips to appear more pigmented.
What Not To Do:
Avoid sharing lipstick, lip gloss and balm, as well as drinking glasses and food utensils with others to avoid the spread of the unsightly cold sore causing Herpes Simplex I virus. By adulthood the majority of people have been exposed to the virus and many carry it without ever once having a cold sore blister appear. If you knowingly have the virus: avoid kissing, avoid touching a cold sore lesion, wash your hands regularly, avoid sharing items and avoid touching other parts of your body when you have a cold sore present.
Don’t hesitate to seek medial attention. Ask you doctor or dermatologist questions. If despite your constant efforts to keep your lips hydrated, you still experience deep, sore cracks, especially in the corner of your mouth; this could be something more serious, like a vitamin deficiency, anemia, diabetes or worse.
While licking lips may seem sexy to some, it is definitely a giant lip no-no! Licking leaves saliva behind, which upon evaporation, takes any existing surface moisture with it. Leaving lips even drier than before.
You now know exactly how to care for your lovely lips. Now pucker up for a healthy smooch! xoxo
Blog Written by askderm’s in-house Esthetician
Chantal Monique is a NYS licensed Esthetician and Makeup Artist. She has 9 years experience in skin care and makeup artistry. With the unique combination of her education as well as the desire to help people feel beautiful, Chantal provides expert skin care knowledge for our customers.