Each and every year, millions of people across the United Kingdom find themselves in a pitched battle to keep their lips healthy and presentable during the autumn/winter season. Though not typically considered an integral part of oral health, keeping lips healthy and happy is important. After all, even the brightest, whitest and most beautiful smile in the world doesn’t look great with chapped, cracked and disastrously dry lips!
The fact that we spend so much time outdoors in the summer really doesn’t help either. Which means that by the time the weather changes, our lips are already struggling to keep up. You’re working hard to brighten your smile with a professional tooth whitening kit and the best electric toothbrush money can buy, so it only makes sense to give your lips a little TLC at the same time.
The question being – what can you do to win the battle against dry and chapped lips this winter?
Well, the short answer is…a lot! Search for tips online and you will find literally thousands of weird and wonderful approaches to lip care from well-meaning folks all over the world. And as is usually the case, somewhere in the region of about 10% of these turn out to be useful. So to save you the effort, we’ve scoured the web from top to bottom and come up with our own list of 15 tips and tricks for keeping lips healthy and happy, all throughout the autumn/winter season:
- First up, while it may come across as a little unusual at first, try applying lip balm before you wash your face. The reason being that there are plenty of ingredients in most cleansing products that don’t do your lips any favours at all. By applying lip balm, you’ll protect them from any harshness in your chosen cleansing products.
- If you find yourself waking up with overly dry and chapped lips in the morning, you might want to think about investing in a humidifier. It’s during the night that lips are most likely to become dehydrated and chapped, which is why adding a little additional moisture to the air can help.
- You probably know how a couple of slices of cucumber over tired and dry eyes really can make all the difference. Well guess what – it’s exactly the same with your lips too! Take a couple of slices of cucumber, place them over your lips and leave them there for 10 minutes or so. The rehydrating and general refreshing effect of simple slices of cucumber is incredible.
- When it comes to everyday hygiene and cleansing, never overlook the importance of exfoliating your lips. Be sure to use a specialist product, or at least the gentlest exfoliant you can find – not the kinds of rough and rugged exfoliants used for the rest of your skin. You could also simply try gently brushing your lips for a few seconds daily with a soft toothbrush.
- One of the worst things you can do if looking to keep your lips in good condition is lick them. Unfortunately, it is also the one thing we all tend to do instinctively when our lips are feeling dry. A problem being that the acids contained in saliva both irritate the lips and strip them of the natural oils they need to remain healthy and happy. While it may be easier said than done, this is a good habit to get yourself out of.
- Likewise, the more time you spend breathing through your nose rather than your mouth, the less likely your lips are to become dry. Mouth breathing leads to cold and warm air alike constantly being blown in and out across the lips, which for obvious reasons can lead to them becoming very dry, very quickly.
- When your lips become dry and flaky, it’s important that you resist the temptation to pick them. You will usually be able to get rid of any dry or dead skin using an exfoliant, followed by a liberal coating of lip balm for additional protection and moisture.
- Under no circumstances should you ever let yourself become dehydrated. Not just during the colder months of the year, but throughout the year in general. You cannot expect your lips to remain hydrated and healthy if the same cannot be said for the rest of your body. Soft, smooth and supple skin always starts from the inside.
- Never forget that the sun’s harmful rays can be just as strong and damaging in the winter as they are in the summer. Which means that if you plan on spending any amount of time outdoors in direct sun, you might want to protect your lips accordingly with the same product you would use in the summertime.
- Whatever the weather happens to be doing outdoors, never leave home without a high quality, all-natural lip balm in your pocket. And make sure that you use it as often as you possibly can – particularly when out and about in cold weather.
- If things are particularly cold and unpleasant outdoors, you might want to think about covering your lips completely using a scarf or something similar. The greater the extent to which your lips are exposed to harsh weather, the more difficult it is going to be to keep them healthy and happy.
- Be extremely careful and mindful when it comes to the lipsticks and other beauty products you use on a daily basis. The reason being that while some actively moisturise lips, others can make problematic dry lips even worse than they already are.
- For the time being, you might want to stay away from anything particularly spicy. When spicy food gets on your lips and stays there for any amount of time, it can have a detrimental effect on their moisture levels and general health.
- The same also goes for salt, so you might want to think about steering clear of overly salty foods and snacks for a while.
- Last but not least, if you find yourself constantly battling problematic dry lips and never making any progress whatsoever, you may have an allergy or an underlying skin condition. As such, it’s a good idea to book a consultation with a doctor or dermatologist, who may be able to prescribe you a more effective topical treatment.