How To: Treat Chapped Lips

 

{My personal favorite Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment image from Allure}

Without fail, as the weather gets colder, I am asked if I have any tips for preventing and treating chapped lips.

Remove flakes. You can be a lip balm junkie till the cows come home but it will not provide any benefits without removing the dead, dry skin cells first. You have to remove the dead skin in order for the moisturizing ingredients to penetrate and do their job. This can be done in a variety of ways. You can use a clean, soft baby toothbrush, a clean, wet washcloth, or make your own scrub at home by raiding your pantry for this concoction. A thorough exfoliation is the quickest way to improve the look and feel of your lips. A dry and ashy lip look is not cute, exhibit A.

You little lip licker! I know when your lips feel dry and tight your first instinct is to lick them. DON’T. Our saliva contains digestive enzymes that will only further dry out and irritate your lips, especially when your saliva evaporates; it will leave them dryer than before. If you are a repeat offender, avoid flavored lip balms and lip glosses to remove the temptation.

Lube up. Not all lip balms are created equal. Some formulas perform better than others. My personal favorite is pictured above, Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. If you are prone to dryness I would avoid irritating (but common) ingredients like menthol and camphor. Those ingredients make your lips feel cool and tingly, like it’s actually doing something for you-it’s not. If your lips are severely cracked it will only make it worse and it won’t tingle, it will burn. So that puts a veto on old school Blistex. Lanolin is another common ingredient, and is an allergen especially for those who suffer from eczema {like yours truly}. Lanolin is derived from sheep sweat. Yes, you read that correctly. So if you are an allergy sufferer and are vegan read your product labels carefully before purchasing. If Burt’s Bees lip balm is your favorite, you may want to check out the ingredient list as lanolin is a main ingredient. Fragranced and flavored products are irritating to sensitized tissue. Another common and crappy ingredient is mineral oil. I despise mineral oil {more on that later} and unfortunately it is as ubiquitous as Starbucks. It is in a lot of lip balms, especially your drugstore variety {again, read your labels}. Mineral oil simply coats the skin; it’s like a piece of tape on glass. It doesn’t penetrate and it doesn’t hydrate, thereby it is a waste. Look for natural humectants instead like vegetable oils and beeswax.

Think past your lips. If you are encountering dry lip issues there could be other culprits than what you put on them topically. You could be dehydrated and need to increase your water intake. It could be a side effect from cold or allergy medication as these tend to dry out mucous membranes. Acne fighting products or medications {Accutane} can also dry out your lips, along with anti aging face washes and lotions. In addition, something as innocuous as your toothpaste, tooth whiteners, or mouthwash could be to blame. You could apply lip balm before or after you brush or whiten to help protect, or switch to a sulfate free toothpaste.

Watch your mouth. If you’ve tried the above recommendations and you are still dealing with cracked and painful lips, especially at the corners, call your family doctor or dermatologist. You could be experiencing an allergic reaction. Or you could have an inflamed infection known as perleche, characterized by cracked and uncomfortable skin in the corner of your mouth.

How about you? What do you do to treat and prevent chapped lips?

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8 Responses to How To: Treat Chapped Lips

  1. tara says:

    I feel like you read my mind when you wrote this post! the change of seasons has definitely made my kisser, less kissable! Can I pick up this “fresh sugar lip treatment” at a local drugstore or shopping center? or is this an online buy?
    thanks!

  2. Breanna says:

    Thanks for the comment! I wish Fresh was as easy to find as crummy Blistex. You can get it online at Beauty.com or Sephora. I know Sephora has some awesome gift sets with Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in them for Christmas. It’s amazing, you will love it. It smells and tastes like lemon cookies, and it goes on satiny smooth. It also comes in a Rose or Plum tinted formula. Gorgeous!

  3. Fabulous tips. The weather is taking it’s toll on my pout right now. I am a new follower of your blog.

    xo

  4. The Lil Bee says:

    This is awesome…thank you!!

  5. Breanna says:

    @The Lil Bee No, thank you for commenting and stopping by! I hope this post is helpful.

  6. [...] haven’t made my love for Fresh products a secret, as seen here, here, and here. Their products are unique, innovative, natural, and smell absolutely incredible. Fresh [...]

  7. [...] keeping your lips hydrated and healthy this winter? If your pout needs some TLC I’ve outlined a course of action that will keep them smooth and flake [...]

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