For a while, it didn’t seem like it was really winter. However, with some snow and cold wind, we’re officially in the coldest part of the year. With that comes a myriad of skin troubles. One of the most common skincare complaints during winter is dry, cracked or chapped lips. If you’ve experienced dry lips during winter, know you’re not alone. Though chapped lips can happen year-round, cold weather tends to dry out skin, including lips. Keep reading for some tips and treatments for your lips this winter.
What are chapped lips?
Chapped lips are essentially when your lips become dry, cracked or red. This can be quite painful and frankly, annoying. There are a lot of potential causes for cracked lips. Some of these include skin irritation, allergies, overexposure to sun, infection and certain conditions, like autoimmune diseases. However, perhaps the most common is a lack of moisture, and a lack of moisture coupled with one of the previous irritations is a recipe for cracking lips.
Why do lips chap in winter?
A lack of moisture in the lips is often weather-related. During winter, dry, cold air causes the skin to dry out and can wreak havoc on fragile skin, like the lips. In addition, it’s more common to forget to protect your lips from the sun during winter, though sunscreen is a year-round necessity. Overexposure to sun and dehydration or dried-out skin can all cause painful cracks in the lips and cause redness and irritation. Think of skiing down a mountain, with cold air blasting your face and the sun reflecting up on your lips—less than stellar lip conditions.
So, what can you do to avoid chapped lips? Good news—there is hope! Try following these tips and treatments to ensure smooth lips all winter long.
Fragrance-free lip balm
We know Lip Smackers are making a comeback, and it can be really tempting to relive your childhood with these scented, sparkly lip balms. But, before you grab every fragrance-filled lip balm in site, you might consider holding off if you suffer from chapped lips. Fragrances can be irritating to skin, especially if you have sensitive skin, and lips are no different. Try picking up unscented lips balms, like Aquaphor, or Vaseline.
Drink plenty of water
We know we keep saying it, but it really is important to get enough water. Not only do you need water to survive, your skin also needs it to hydrate. You can check out our blog post on drinking more water for some tips to increase your intake and keep your skin healthy and hydrated.
Don’t pick at or lick lips
It’s so tempting to just pick dry skin off your lips, but it won’t do much good. Not only are you breaking the skin—often causing bleeding—you’re also continuing the cycle of dryness. Likewise, licking your lips can actually dry them out more. It seems like adding moisture would be helpful, but when you lick your lips, you’re adding digestive enzymes that can break the skin down and cause more dryness.
Exfoliate with a gentle exfoliator
Instead of picking or licking your lips, try using a gentle exfoliator along with unscented lip balms. Aggressively scrubbing won’t help your lips and will actually make them worse, but a gentle exfoliator with oils can help get rid of dead skin while also replenishing moisture.
Save your lips this winter
This winter don’t let chapped lips annoy you. Try using unscented lips balms, fight the urge to pick or lick lips, stay hydrated and gently exfoliate to keep lips supple and moisturized. If you have persistent dry, cracked or chapped lips that won’t go away, it may be time to see your doctor. A board-certified dermatologist can help diagnose the underlying cause of lip dryness and prescribe a treatment personalized to you. If you need to schedule an appointment, please call 615.859.7546.
At Loven Dermatology and Aesthetics, we are passionate about providing patients in Middle Tennessee with the best dermatological care and service possible. We want to help you look and feel your best. That’s why we proudly offer highly advanced and individualized treatment for a range of skin concerns and needs. Please call us at 615.859.7546 for more information or to schedule your appointment.