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Inspiration, Solutions & Expert Advice

The Beauty Memo

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.

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 them 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. 

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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!