When frosty, winter weather strikes, many of us prepare for the cold by adding extra layers of clothing to stay protected and comfortable. Our heads, however, usually get nothing more than a hat for protection, leaving our faces—especially our lips—exposed and at the mercy of the elements. Chapped lips and dry skin are nothing new to those who have experienced that cracked, raw feeling from the effects of cold and blustery weather. But while the skin over the rest of your body has many layers to help seal in moisture, your lips only have a thin layer of skin. This makes them prone to losing up to 10 times more moisture than any other part of your face or body.
You'll Only Make It Worse!
Many of us have the immediate instinct to lick our lips when they get dry. However, this only exacerbates the situation. When saliva evaporates it can leave the lips more dehydrated. Saliva is also more than just water; it contains digestive acids that help dissolve food, which can further hinder the health and healing ability of your lips. You may also have the tendency to bite or chew chapped pieces of skin on your lips. This can also slow the healing process, leaving exposed areas of your lips that can lead to possible infections or cold sores.
Vital Protection Tips for Lips
The key to preventing dry heat or cold winds from chapping, cracking, and drying out your lips is to seal in moisture. Use a lip balm to keep your lips hydrated and protected. Good ingredients to look for in lip balms that help seal and hydrate are petrolatum, shea butter, and sunflower seed oil. It's also important to look for products that have SPF protection to help minimize sun damage that can also dry out lips. While you may not have the ability to control the weather, you do possess the ability to protect your lips and skin from the effects of less-than-ideal weather conditions. If you're going outside, carry your lip balm with you; most lip balm tubes fit easily into any pocket. Drink plenty of fluids to help your skin stay hydrated because skin heals better when it has moisture, and breathe through your nose because breathing through your mouth can also cause lips to dry out. Dry lips don't need to be something you have to endure all winter long as long as you're aware that even the smallest parts of your body need winter protection too. So get out that lip balm and pucker up.