Tis the season for laughs, smiles, and good cheer; a season where dry, irritated, and chapped lips just won't do. Prevent unsightly signs of cheilitis (inflamed lips) by considering these helpful dermatology tips. Happy #DermTipTuesday!
1. Lick the Lips Less
Lip licking may initially provide relief to dry and cracked lips, yet it will only make matters worse. Why? Saliva is intended to break down food. So, it's no wonder that lip licking will strip away moisture and lipids serving as a protective barrier. But we can learn to use this common habit to our advantage, which brings me to #2.
2. Reward with Water
Just like the rest of our skin, our lips are susceptible to dryness when the body is dehydrated. And the holidays are a time where many people are at risk for dehydration following the ingestion of salty savory foods and liberating libations. Water consumption becomes that much more essential. How much water should we consume per day? It will vary per person due to a variety of factors such as height, weight, organ function, environment, activity level, etc..
Luckily, our bodies are designed to give subtle hints when something isn't quite right. In the case of dehydration, lip licking serves as a clue. So, instead of ignoring this helpful reminder that it's time to rehydrate, reward your body with water. Keep drinking until the urge has stopped.
3. Protect Your Pucker
Your lips are likely exposed to some pretty frigid temperatures this month, especially if you live in Detroit. So, shield them from the cold and wind by applying a nice protective barrier before stepping outdoors and reapply throughout the day. The best lip balms for barrier protection are those that have the least amount of ingredients, particularly those that are fragrance free and dye free. My favorites are Aquaphor and Vaseline. These clear ointments can even be applied directly over lipstick and not ruin the look.
4. Balm Before Bed
The lips are battling to remain hydrated even while we slumber, especially for those who sleep with an open mouth. Keep your favorite moisturizing lip balm next to the toothbrush. This way, you won't forget to use it before bed. Lining the lips with a moisturizing product like coconut oil, olive oil, or shea butter prior to bed will condition and protect them overnight. Your lips will additionally be much more prepared to face the next day.
5. Humidify the Home
Humidifiers come in handy, especially when the furnace is in use. The goal is to bring moisture to the air in order to reduce skin and lip dryness. A nice trick for those with radiators is to fill a pie pan with water and place it on top.
Have more questions? Ask away. Receive an answer from our board-certified dermatologist today for free!