You might think that your lips dry out faster than anything else on your body—and you’d be right. First of all, the skin on your lips is much thinner than the skin on the rest of your face. And since lips don’t have hair or sweat glands, they don’t benefit from the protective body oils and sweat that regulate warmth and keep the rest of your skin smooth.
Your lips are special, and they need special care. Follow these 8 tips to ensure your lips stay smooth, sensuous, and kissablysoft, all year long!
1. Exfoliate when necessary. Dry, cracked lips are not only uncomfortable, unattractive, and annoying, but if you leave the peeling skin on your lips, you could be letting bacteria into the spaces where the cracks are. Extremely chapped lips could benefit from exfoliation—just rub them very (very!) gently with a soft toothbrush or warm washcloth until the loose skin starts to flake off. Don’t rub too hard that it causes bleeding. Afterwards, apply your favorite natural lip balm and don’t put anything else on them (or eat or drink) for at least 30 minutes. There are also special lip exfoliators on the market, but be sure to choose one with all-natural ingredients or you could do more damage.
2. Cut down on caffeine. Caffeine is known for drying out the body, and it especially affects the thin, sensitive skin of the lips. Switch to decaf—or see #3.
3. Drink more water. Staying hydrated will help your whole body, not just your lips. Lips act like a sponge, absorbing the good moisture and plumping up nicely.
4. Use sunscreen. An SPF on your lips is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer.
5. Avoid open-mouth breathing. Every time your breath crosses your lips, it sucks out precious moisture. (This is why those who are stuffed up with a cold almost always experience chapped lips.)
6. Stop licking. When you lick your lips, the enzymes in your saliva disturb the protective layer that you’re building up by following all these tips.
7. Kick the habit. If you’re a smoker, add unhealthy lips to your list of reasons to stop. Smoking dries out lips and can also discolor them and cause wrinkles in the corners.
8. Stick to natural cosmetics. Your lips won’t mind one bit if you stop slathering them with toxic chemicals. There are dozens of good natural lip balms and glosses on the market, including the Acure Lip Lush in the spring Yuzen box. If your lips are chronically dry and peeling, even if you’re taking steps to protect them, then you could be having a reaction to a chemical in one of your products, which is another good reason to switch. Acure’s lip products are formulated with argan oil, Echinacea, and edelweiss stem cells that help plump and protect lips while also adding a hint of sheer, sexy color.
There, now you know pretty much everything you wanted to know about lips. (Oh, except one thing—that fleshy bump in the middle of your top lip? It has a name: the procheilion.)