Whether you realize or not, your lips are one of the most vulnerable parts of your skin.The outer layer of skin on the other areas of your body is much thicker than it is on your lips. Consequently, the thinner skin on your lips makes them more susceptible to injury than the rest of your body.
Lip also do not contain pigment, which helps protect your skin from the sun. The lack of pigment means that your lips are more susceptible to sunburn. Plus, lips do not have oil-producing glands like other areas of your skin, which means that they can dry out much more easily.
Dry, chapped, cracked or sore lips are not pleasant, but there’s no need to allow them to get into such a condition. Instead,use these six tips to keep your lips looking and feeling their best.
Shield Your Lips
Weather extremes are hard on lips, especially if your lips aren’t protected. Unprotected lips are especially vulnerable to windburn and sunburn. Plus, if you’re outside in areas where humidity is low, the dryer air conditions cause your lips to lose moisture.
In the winter, make sure to cover your lips with a scarf when out in frigid temperatures, especially if the wind is blowing. If it’s hot out, wear a wide-brimmed hat to shield your lips from the sun.
Choose the Right Lip Balm
Always have lip balm on hand to protect, soothe and soften your lips. Avoid lip balms that include ingredients like phenols that encourage skin exfoliation. The more you use them, the dryer your lips will seem to feel.
Egyptian Magic, which is a multi-purpose moisturizing balm that’s a celebrity favorite, is a good pick for lips. It contains all-natural ingredients, such as honey, olive oil, beeswax and royal jelly, without any preservatives, additives, parabens or fragrances.
Hydrate as Needed
Although it’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to aid in hydration, spending time in an environment with dry air can quickly rob your skin and lips of the moisture they need.
But it’s not only outside conditions that you have to worry about. For example, in the wintertime, the use of electric heating is a common method of keeping warm. But the dry, warm air can cause the surrounding air to lose moisture.
One way to combat dry, indoor air conditions is to run a humidifier, which can help you maintain a 30 to 40-percent humidity level and keep your skin and lips from drying out.
Avoid Breathing Out of Your Mouth
If you frequently suffer from nasal congestion or you sleep with your mouth open, you’ve probably realized that your lips dry out because you’re primarily breathing out of your mouth, which blows air onto your lips.
Try using saline spray and a decongestant for stuffiness. If you breathe out of your mouth when sleeping, you might want to consider investing in some nasal strips you can wear at night. The strips are designed to help hold your nasal airways open so you can keep your mouth closed.
Avoid Licking or Biting Your Lips
Licking and biting your lips can exacerbate chapping and irritation, which can lead to the formation of sores and bleeding. If you have an unfortunate habit of licking or biting your lips, you should apply lip balm regularly to deter yourself from those bad habits. Having a coating of balm on your lips may help you remember not to lick or bite.
Address Vitamin Deficiencies
If you’ve felt the corners of your lips cracking, you may need to address a lack of vitamins in your diet. One of the main culprits of cracking is a lack of biotin, or B7 vitamin, which you can buy over-the-counter.
If you have chapped and cracked lips in general, you might have a Vitamin B12 deficiency. You can either take a B12 vitamin or eat foods rich in this nutrient, such as fish, beef, poultry, cheese, eggs and milk.
A lack of iron can also cause lip issues, such as dryness and cracking in the corners. A multivitamin can provide the daily recommended dose of iron your body needs, but you can also make sure you eat enough iron-rich foods. Examples of foods high in iron are spinach, kidney beans, quinoa, chickpeas, edamame, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and, of course, beef.