Lips are surprisingly delicate, and yet we subject them to constant abuse. I’m pretty sure that lips know no abuse worse than cold, cold city winters. Outside we are subjected to air pollution, freezing gusts of wind, and if you’re really lucky, you get weather that includes sleet, hail, blizzards and freezing rain (woohoo!). When you combine that kind of onslaught with hot, dry indoor climates and the general bad habit of wintertime –too much alcohol and not enough water- you’re also looking at some major dehydration. The thin skin on our lips is no match for all this, and eventually they become irritated and inflamed. All this results in a bad habit I think 99% of us must suffer from, which is chronic lip licking and biting when lips feel irritated, which dries them out even more.
So, what are we to do to stop lips from getting uncomfortably dried out in the first place? I’ve asked my buddies on Stark’s Facebook Page to help suggest some tips and tricks for smooth lips. Follow these 3 tricks and with any luck, you will soothe your mouth and have a kissable-soft kisser in no time!
a) In the summer, we’re all pros at lugging around big bottles of water everywhere we go. In the winter? Not so much. In Montreal, it would just freeze if we so much as go out for a walk with a bottle tucked into our purse, but that does’t mean we shouldn’t be replenishing our H2O stocks. Herbal tea is a great alternative for wintertime hydration, as is eating more liquidy foods, such as veggies and soup. Try to drink only water at mealtimes. Monique of GoddessHuntress also recommends keeping hydrated, and to keep in mind that chapped lips could be a sign of intestinal blockage, so use those chapped lips as a reminder to drink more water!
b) Invest in a humidifier. I swear by mine (the brand name is Crane and can be found at many baby stores, surprisingly). I use it all night long, because not only is the heat BLASTING in my bedroom (we don’t control it), but I also sleep with the window open, even when it’s -18. I know. Horrible for the environment AND for my lips. Alas, that’s how it goes, and that’s why my humidifier is essential.
2. Protect and treat them right!
Exposing your lips to harsh weather will do a number on them, so the best thing to do is to slather on good, natural lip balm (such as our very own Argan Lip Treatment found over here) before you go out, and a few times a day. Forget that lips can become addicted to lip balm. This may be the case for petroleum-based products that actually dry your lips out after providing brief relief by giving them a protective barrier (much as licking them with your own saliva does…it’s a quick fix that won’t work in the long-term, unfortunately), but is not the case if you apply, and leave on (don’t lick off!) a moisturising product that also provides a barrier from the outside. It’s a protective layer that also hydrates and soothes, with is exactly what lips need when they are prone to chapping. Think of a lip balm or treatment as winterwear for your lips, so you want to leave it on for as long as possible while lips are being exposed. Caterina Ienco mentioned on our Facebook wall that she avoids lip balm that tastes too sweet, to stop herself from licking her lips too often.
Protection only goes so far when your lips are already irritated. In the case of already chapped lips, you need to treat just as much as protect. Alyssa Edwards of Ottawa and Caroline Gillis of North Carolina suggest using coconut oil with a little sugar as a night-time exfoliation, instead of petroleum-based products, to help slough off dry, flaky skin and prep lips for a good night’s sleep. After exfoliation, use a good, natural lip balm to nourish and seal in moisture.
Re-application of nourishing/protective treatments is vital, and I honestly don’t care what they say, again,, lip balm is NOT addictive. Unless there’s cocaine in your lipbalm, in which case, WTF?! Which brings me to….
3. Keep your nose clean.
Another common reason we often have chapped lips in the winter is because we’re often more stuffed up during the cool months, and so we tend to sleep with our mouth open. Having our mouths open all the time creates this constant flow of air passing by the lips, which contributes to their chapping. Try using a Neti pot to clean out your sinuses (like sex, it’s only uncomfortable the first few times and then you can’t get enough!). Also try alternate nostril breathing (Google “Pranayama”). Not only does it calm the mind and feels wonderfully rejuvenating but it helps you bring focus to actually using your nose to breathe (try to catch yourself mouth-breathing throughout the day…bet you do it more than you think!). So, keep your mouth shut to keep yourself looking kiss-worthy…and that’s so not as rude as it sounds! (Kinda sounds like advice from a kinda well-meaning but overall sexist dad, doesn’t it? Ugh.)
If these 3 tricks don’t help, then your chapped lips may indicate something else isn’t quite right with your system, which means you’ve got some investigating to do! However, please remember that, like all good things, these tricks will take a little time to truly work for you. With consistency and patience, you will have beat chapped lips for good!