Lipstick advertisements are enough to make you want to cry if you suffer from chronic dry lips. You have tried everything and yet, instead of having soft, flawless lips that lipstick lays on smoothly, you have chronically cracked ones that make it look as if you are in an abusive relationship. This is a guide to smooth, sexy lips.
First, let’s agree, dry lips are normal for everyone. Remember they are constantly busy. They are used to talk, eat, drink, smoke, kiss, form into various shapes to express different emotions, etc. Moreover, unlike the rest of the body, they have no oil glands of their own. This means they need constant moisture.
However, there are habits you engage in and factors outside your control that keep your lips chapped and peeling. There is hope still if you follow this guide! Remember, both men and women have and use them, so this guide is not just for women. At the very least, everyone likes to kiss soft lips.
Why you should take care of your lips
- There are consequences to neglected lips. Cracks can become bigger, infected and even lead to an accumulation of fungus. No one wants that!
- They are right on your face. You can’t hide them and lipstick does not cover the cracks, leaving you looking unnecessarily unattractive. Even worse, they are what people look at as you speak to them. So for the sake of vanity and leaving a good impression, let’s figure out what we can do to save them and preserve your sexy.
Why do they dry?
Weather and lack of protection
There is no better recipe for chapping than good old’ winter weather. The combination of bitter wind, cold snow and dry air with no humidity is everything necessary for sucking all the moisture out.
Sun exposure in summer also leaves your lips dry and peeling, especially if you like being outdoors. It’s important to remember that the elements are harsh, which have only a thin layer to protect them.
Water is essential and useful for our bodies in literally every way. Insufficient water intake created dryness on your lips and generally keeps you unhealthy. More water keeps your mouth wet and prevents cracking or peeling.
Other than water, there are drinks that cause irritation and they happen to be difficult to quit- alcohol and coffee, no matter how delicious and necessary, leave them dehydrated.
I am not so unrealistic as to suggest quitting the above for the sake of smooth lips, but using a straw instead, allows you to indulge in your vices while protecting them.
Licking, peeling, biting and picking them
So this one is entirely on you! Fidgeting with your lips is as bad a habit as biting fingers, but just as a subconscious. You may not even realize how often you do it, and may just catch yourself in the act occasionally. Stop it. Stop it right now! It is exactly the wrong thing to do.
When you feel like they are dry, you lick them in an effort to keep them wet. Licking your lips constantly in an effort to moisturize it is actually redundant. This is because saliva has a chemical reaction that works to dry them up. As the saliva evaporates, it takes away moisture leaving them worse off. So then you lick, and they become drier, so you keep licking until it is a compulsive habit.
Extreme licking causes a form of dermatitis sometimes referred to as windburn which creates sores, and wounds.
When you find that your lips are cracked, your first instinct is most likely to peel the skin off or pick at it. This only serves to tear the skin and remove its thin protective layer. Pull hard enough, and you find that your lips are bleeding which can lead to infections or worse.
Biting, on the other hand, is mostly a subconscious reaction to anxiety, stress or boredom. It has the same effect as peeling and picking- which is basically, rough lips.
So be more aware of your bad habits and improve!
Beauty products and medication
Sometimes the products we use can cause allergic reactions. This can be any product that comes into contact with your lips. “high-pigment matte lipstick and face cleansers or creams with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide that gets applied around the mouth” cause dryness. Just as well, shampoo, soap, and even toothpaste.
This doesn’t mean stop using your favorite beauty products, but after washing, apply the balm to restore moisture. In regards to lipstick, if it makes them crack, then I’m afraid you may have to change your brand, for their’ sake!
Although this is sometimes unavoidable, it is significant to note that “certain prescription medications, like Accutane for acne or wrinkles, propranolol for blood pressure, or prochlorperazine for vertigo, can cause chapped lips” says symptom find. Some illnesses as well, such as cancer have chapped lips as a side effect. All you can do in this instance is to inform your doctor and look for an alternative or take extra care at this time.
Medicated, waxy and menthol lip balms
We all know that lip balm is a solution for dry lips, but guess what? Not always. Basically, some brands cause more harm than good. It is important to find the products that work for you but here are some helpful guidelines on what to avoid.
Medicated balms have menthol, antibiotics or even sometimes, numbing agents but none of them have any proven medicinal value. They may offer temporary relief but in the long run, affect them negatively. So don’t fall for it, read further on to see what type of balm you should invest in.
Did you know that your lips could get addicted to a balm? I didn’t. Especially with “wax-based and menthol lip balms or ones with fragrances or active ingredients that are more likely to cause irritation.” The constant use of these products regularly leave “your lips too sensitive and dry to form their own natural barrier” and as a result, they are always calling out for protection.
You also want to avoid balms with peppermint flavor or citrus fruit if you have chapped lips. They cause itching and irritation, and scratching them in public is not socially acceptable behavior.
How to get rid of chapped lips
There is no chapped lips cure, but there are remedies you can apply to help improve their status and make them luscious.
1. Protect them
The waxy, menthol lip balms that have filled the market with promises of luscious lips are actually only short term solutions. They don’t actually moisturize them but instead create a barrier which is useful in fighting the elements.
So what is the best balm for chapped lips? Again, it is important to find the products that work for you. It’s a game of trial and error, but there are some that are better than others.
They need moisture absorbed to prevent crack and splits. Emollient based balms and chapsticks moisturize the lips and make them softer. Some examples of emollient balms are “shea butter olive oil, emu oil, or coconut oil which absorb very well” according to Buzzfeed.
Remember to use it every couple of hours to keep your skin smooth and soft. Especially right before bed and after you wake up, and before you put on any lipstick. This will offer protection during the day or at night.
2. Cover them
In winter, wear a scarf and raise it to cover them when it is cold. This actually helps!
In summer, use a lip balm that has sunscreen in it to shield them from the sun. However, note that most people recommend using a balm with sunscreen in it, all year long.
3. Drink lots of water
This is self-explanatory. Drink water. Lots of it. It’s good for you anyway in basically every way!
4. Take a break
When they are cracked, take a break from flavored lip balms, glosses or lipsticks to give them a chance to heal. I know it’s difficult not putting on your favorite colors for a while, but fret not, once they are smooth again, you will be happy enough to leave them bare!
5. Home remedies for chapped lips
Yes, you can use the ingredients in your kitchen to make an exfoliator to use on your lips. You can use, honey, sugar, salt, warm water, coconut oil, etc. Remember to be gentle.
Here are some useful home remedies.
Also, apply lip balm and using a soft- thistle brush (this is important because they are sensitive) gently brush them until they become soft. It actually works.
6. See a dermatologist
Should all the above fail to help you get rid of the chapping, then see a dermatologist. You may have an infection or an allergic reaction or even a skin condition. The most commonly known is Cheilitis which starts with cracks on the side of the mouth and eventually can lead to infection or lesions.
So there you have it! Everything you can do to get rid of severely chapped lips. Now that they are sexy again, take a selfie, post it, and wait for the compliments to roll in.