Lips enable us to kiss the people we love, put the ‘P’ into pooch and make funny fish faces when we are bored. But do we ever stop to think about the difference between our lips and the rest of our skin? And do our lips deserve special treatment?
Although the lips have a dermis and epidermis like the rest of the body, the uppermost layer called the Stratum Corneum is much thinner than anywhere else on your body. Your lips also don’t have any sebaceous glands, which assist in keeping the skin soft and protected. Their only source of moisture is your saliva, and that’s why they can easily become dry and chapped. Another difference between your lips and the rest of your skin is that your lips don’t have any melanin, the pigment that darkens when you’re exposed to the sun. Melanin is your body’s natural way of protecting your skin from ultraviolet rays, and because your lips don’t have any, they’re at a higher risk of getting sunburned.
So it’s pretty clear that our poor old lips need some assistance in order to stay hydrated, plumped and free from cracks. Enter lip balms!
A basic lip balm is usually formulated using a barrier ingredient like petrolatum or beeswax with the addition of perhaps a humectant and something that smells and tastes nice. Sounds fine, but a humectant’s job is to attract water—so if there is no water in the product, guess where the water is drawn from. Yes, you! And fragrance may make you imagine you are biting into a fat juicy strawberry but actually can cause dryness and irritation of itself.
So what can you do to keep those lips luscious?
1. If you lick your lips, STOP! Although it can be a difficult habit to break, licking your lips can contribute significantly to dry, cracked skin. The saliva evaporates quickly, taking with it any moisture that was already on your lips and leaving them even drier, especially in winter air.
2. If winter weather has left your home cool and dry, consider using a humidifier to increase the level of moisture in the air around you. This can be especially helpful if you run it overnight in your bedroom while you sleep.
3. Exfoliate lips gently with a rice bran exfoliant and follow with a hydrating masque to combat roughness and cracking.
4. Apply a protective treatment balm before leaving the house with shea butter to enhance the barrier, oats and lavender to soothe irritation and an anti-ozonate complex to guard against environmental aggressors.
5. Before closing your eyes at night slather on a renewing lip complex to provide ultimate conditioning while minimizing fine dry lines around the lip line. Sophisticated peptides are a must here as they will condition the skin while stimulating collagen formation.
Get started now with these simple pick-me-up lip tips for the perfect, kissable pout.