I've long suffered from severely dry lips and nothing that I have ever done has been fit to change that. Despite having tried an assortment of products, no results last longer than a day or two. Take a guess and I've probably tried it. My condition worsens during the winter and I mean beyond repair.
I know I can't be the only one suffering from this illness, perhaps even you, reading this, has suffered what I am constantly suffering through. It is possible that you gave up long ago, it is what it is. I get it but I wasn't ready to throw in the towel just yet. Especially after having tried medication-loaded balms and lip scrubs. Now it was time to consult with the professionals, namely Natarsha Bimson and Susan Ciminelli, I needed answers.
Keep reading to hear what they had to say.
You must understand your problem
You can't fix something unless you understand it. Bismon goes on to say, "The skin around your lips and eyes doesn't have oil glands. Your eyes drag the necessary oil from their surrounding areas. Your lips do not.". You may have noticed that when spending large amounts of time outside, whether in the winter or on a hot summer day, your lips get especially dry. Forgetting to care for your lips until it is too late is a common issue.
No oil glands on your lips mean that they dry up to ten times faster than the rest of your body. Lips are delicate, protect them from the elements and your own saliva. Lip balms may not be the answer because they contain menthol, a chemical that can cause irritation to your lips. Now we know why they get dry but why is it so hard to fix the other issues plaguing lips, peeling, and cracking?
You need to identify lip irritants
Ciminelli states that "Alcohol and coffee dry out your lips. Your lips react to the chemicals so avoid contact with them.". Check the ingredients in your lipstick or lip balm. Eucalyptus, menthol, and camphor feel great at first but they quickly dry out your lips. Do be sure to keep an eye out for ingredients such as acid that is salicylic, propyl gallate, phenol, octinoxate, lanolin, any fragrance, and cinnamon. The American Academy of Dermatology Association states that these chemicals worsen dry or chapped lips.
Immediately remove anything that causes your lips to burn.
Consider the weather
According to Ciminelli, certain weather conditions can increase irritation of your lips. You may not notice it at first but dry, windy days and the sun's rays will mess up your lips and the surrounding skin. Boy, I can vouch for her words with my own personal experiences. I have had plenty of days ruined thanks to solar beams and gusts. My lips experience increased sensitivity in the middle of winter and they even begin to burn, peel and bleed. This is why you need to bring out the big guns during these perilous times.
During the summertime, your lips are dried out by the heat. Believe it or not, this is a form of sunburn that your lips are experiencing. You avoid this form of sunburn by using SPF. Apply it to your lips and make sure that it is SPF 30 or higher. A great and affordable option would be Kiehl's Butterstick Lip Treatment which should only cost you around $24. Next, you will want to search for a lip balm that has either Titanium oxide or Zinc oxide. Reapply every 2 hours and keep it consistent whenever you are outside.
Do not lick your lips
Dry lips are usually a combination of licking your lips and breathing through your mouth, at least according to Bimson. She says "Dermatitis is a form of skin inflammation and it can be caused by excessive licking of the lips. This leads to lips that are sore and chapped to an extreme degree.". Licking your lips when you feel that they are dry is common but your saliva has enzymes that cause irritation.
You may not think that you lick your lips excessively but it could be a subconscious thing. If so, you won't be aware of the issue until it is too late. Attempt to keep track of the number of times that you lick your lips and remind yourself of the downsides. Apply a lip balm whenever you feel it necessary.
Use products that moisturize
Did you know that there is one magical ingredient that can be found in many different moisturizing products? You may have already guessed it but just encase you haven't, it can also be found in Vaseline. This ingredient is known as petroleum jelly. According to Bimson "Petrochemical-based lip products can easily prevent the loss of moisture. It is what they are designed to do. But it isn't the only magical ingredient that is used to combat dry and nasty lips. Castor oil is another commonly used ingredient, especially in lipstick.".
This should go without saying, but before you apply anything to any place on your body, read the list of ingredients. This is in order to ensure that the products you are using are both hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. Fragrances are the leading cause of skin irritation for many individuals. Castor oil and petroleum jelly-based products are recommended by the ADA alongside these other ingredients: ceramides, shea butter, hemp seed oil, Dimethicone, white petroleum jelly, and mineral oil.
All of the ingredients mentioned above are recommended due to their ability to heal lips that are chapped. Before going to bed, apply large amounts of moisturizers such as the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask which only costs $22. As you are starting your day, Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip
Balm for only $26 should be applied but don't worry, as it can also be used at night. Both of the aforementioned products keep your lips plump and healthy thanks to the antioxidant orange extract and hyaluronic acid within them.
If you prefer to get your hands dirty then here is a step-by-step guide on making your own lip balm using oil from coconuts and sunflowers.
Use essential oils to hydrate
Products that are loaded with minerals and essential oils are recommended by Ciminelli. Vitamin E not only smooths cracks but prevents future cracking as well. Products with these essential oils will provide the proper care to your lips: Sweet Almond, Lavender, Camellia, Carrot Seed, and Rose Geranium oils. These ingredients are combined with coconut oil for improved effects. They have multiple uses, for example, Lavender oil can provide pain relief.
Dilute these ingredients with jojoba oil and then apply to your lips, never apply undiluted ingredients. This Jo Malone London lip balm is perfect for facing the cold winter weather.
Treat your cracked lips with skincare
We are often reminded not to neglect our necks when we are applying our products to our faces. This can be said about lips as well. Don't neglect these areas just because you feel that they aren't as important as your eyes or cheeks. Apply your soothing moisturizers onto your lips as well. Eye creams such as the Glossier Bubblewrap Eye Plus Lip Plumping Cream costs $26 and they won't irritate your lips. This is because the skin around your eyes is just as sensitive as that around your lips.
When should you see a doctor?
The American Academy of Dermatology Association states that you should consult a certified dermatologist if all of the tips above have not improved the health of your lips in two weeks. There could be several reasons why you have dry lips including Oral thrush(caused by a fungus) or an allergic reaction. Anti-fungal medication can treat this. You could also suffer from actinic cheilitis, which causes dry and scaly lips. Your doctor can help you treat any vitamin deficiencies, should that be the cause of your dry and cracked lips.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are dry and chapped lips caused by lip glosses that are designed to plump lips?
A majority of lip plumping glosses contain even capsicum and wintergreen in order to irritate and plump your lips. Overuse can lead to dry and chapped lips.
Do any deficiencies cause dry lips?
If you are low on vitamin b or iron you could suffer from dry and cracked lips. Taking supplements or changing up your diet can fix this issue.
How do I get rid of flaky lips?
Learn to gently exfoliate your lips using products that are designed to soothe. A great choice would be the $24 Bite Beauty with Agave and Weekly Lip Vegan Scrub. But keep in mind that moderation is key. Only exfoliate once a week or risk causing your lips to get even drier and chapped.
As with anything in life, the key is moderation. Too little or too much of anything can be a detriment to your health. Portions and frequency of application matter when caring for an area as sensitive as your lips, etc.