We’re all familiar with the itching and burning sensation that comes along with dry skin and chapped lips, especially during the winter months (although kids seem to get them year-round, don’t they?!). Lips don’t have the glands necessary to produce their own moisture, and because of how thin the skin of your lips are, they’re extremely easily affected by the your environment. So before we get into solutions, let’s first go over some causes.
Cracks or cuts left as the result of chewing or biting your lips put you at risk for infections. Touching or rubbing your lips is a problem too as you are transferring any and all bacteria from your hands to your mouth, which, in addition to causing infections, can bring about all kinds of irritations, such as cold sores.
Licking your lips is an extremely common but painful habit. When you lick your lips you are actually removing moisture; while it may seem satisfying for a moment, they quickly dry out again. Licking your lips can dehydrate them just like not drinking enough water can.
Sudden (or even subtle) weather changes could also be responsible for sore or dry lips (or any skin for that matter). There isn’t much than can be done to change the weather, so just make sure to moisturize and do your best to make healthy decisions.
Ladies, while that lipstick/gloss may seem handy when you forget your chapstick (trust me, I know), it could very well be a contributor to your problems. So many lip products are filled with chemicals and alcohols, retinol and menthol are particularly bad, that can be very drying and harmful.
Coming off of that last point is something I’ve found to be a major culprit when it comes to skin issues: makeup. Now I’m not out to give it a bad wrap, but it is absolutely true that certain products can be terrible for your skin when it comes to dryness. In regards to daily use, particularly in cold weather, use caution and take a day off every now and then.
Everyone loves a long, hot shower on a cold day (or really any other day for that matter), but, unfortunately, your skin doesn’t appreciate it quite so much. Overly vigorous scrubbing can be a problem too, so keep that in mind as well.
While smoking is detrimental to your overall health, the tolls it can take on your skin are not only real, but visible. So maybe consider breaking the habit, or at least making smoke breaks a little less frequent.
Now, onto Prevention.
Honey: You can apply this directly onto your lips at night before you go to bed to help soothe and heal damaged lips. You could even combine some honey with a small amount of sugar and use it to exfoliate.
Lemon juice: Mix a teaspoon of cream or milk with three drops of lemon juice and chill it for about an hour before applying it to your lips or any other skin. Repeat everyday for three days.
Coconut oil: Coconut oil consists of countless antioxidants and can be found in most any local grocery store.
Green Tea: Press a used tea bag to your chapped lips for four minutes every day until they are healed.
Cucumber: Rub cucumber juice onto dry lips and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
Here is a list of natural creams and oils that can be found in any health or organic goods store.
Any or all of these could be used as moisturizers, masks, or mix in with other products.
Other tips (though not all completely natural) include:
Mix vinegar, lemon juice, or powdered milk to a bath for anti-drying benefits.
Always moisturize when you get out of the shower, particularly when your skin is still somewhat damp as it will help lock in moisture.
Make sure to consume lots of Vitamin B and Omega-3. Omega-3 helps prevent cell dehydration.
Use an organic lip balm during the day and before bed, preferably one containing SPF. Tinted lip balm can also serve as a substitute for lipstick, some people even make their own.
Avoid any skin products containing alcohol as they can be so very drying, and try products containing lanolin.
Eat healthy; eat lots of fresh produce and drink tons of water. Your body will thank you.
Note: Remember that dry skin, accompanied by various other skin problems, can be brought about simply by aging. As there isn’t any ‘cure’ for that, I suggest trying out a few of the tips listed above, and wish you the best of luck.