We have all been there…I was there the other day waiting for my kid at the bus stop. The wind was blowing, the chill was in the air and my poor lips were suffering at the mercy of the cold and ruthless winter temperatures. Ill-prepared I did what most do to try to help their lips…I licked them!! (I know I know the licking of my lips started a continuous process of trying to keep them moisturized until I could get inside and find some lip butter to help them). Dry cracked lips are very uncomfortable. But do you know what causes dry lips?
They are caused by a number of external factors: dry, hot or cold weather; changes in weather; licking your lips; not drinking enough water; deficiencies in the intake of fruits and vegetables and certain medications.
However, I bet you didn't know that your lips do not contain any oil glands? That is right. The majority of our body contains Sebaceous glands. These are glands in the skin that secrete an oily or waxy matter, called sebum, to lubricate and waterproof the skin and hair. Our lips, the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet all fall into the same category on our body of areas that cannot produce any protective oil on their own. Without their own oil glands, lips are prone to drying out. Also the skin on your lips is thinner and more delicate than other areas of your body; it's more vulnerable to the elements. This all can lead to dried lips that can easily crack and pee.
Here are 3 things you can do to help protect your lips from being dry and cracked!
- 1)A moisturizing lip balm/butter is needed. Be sure to avoid products that contain menthol or other chemicals as they can easily irritate the skin on your lips. A natural lip balm is best as it will contain ingredients that will both moisturize and protect your lips. Keep them in multiple places (car, home, work, by your bed) and you and your lips will always be ready.
- 2)Exfoliate your lips. Be careful because if your lips are overly chapped at the moment, exfoliating your lips will have the opposite effect and cause them to be irritated. By exfoliating your lips, you can help remove the dead skin cells which will help them not to peel and get dry. Using a wet warm washcloth or a soft toothbrush while exfoliating can aid in the help of removing dead cells.
- 3)Increase your water intake. By increasing your water consumption, it can effectively help treat chapped lips and keep your whole body hydrated. Drinking water especially during the winter months can prove beneficial because the dry weather can deplete your body. Dehydration can easily manifest itself in the hair, skin and lips.
Taking care of our body, lips included can seem daunting in the cold winter months, but by keeping these three things in mind, we can help to protect and moisturize our skin and prevent our lips from drying out and becoming chapped.