Let us assume your lips as a sponge. “When exposed to moisture, they absorb water and plump up. When dehydrated, they dry out and shrink.” Because they’re always exposed, they’re prone to dehydration, particularly during the cold, windy winter months. The skin on the lips is also unlike skin anywhere else on the body: It’s thinner (allowing the blood vessels to be visible, making the lips look red) and has no oil glands (oil acts as a barrier for skin, helping to protect it from the elements). The result can be red, craggy (and sometimes painful), chapped lips that couldn’t hold lipstick color if you spray-painted on.
Get Better-Looking Lips—Fast
With a little loving care, your lips can be perfect in no time. Just follow these seven steps—and then pucker up.
Don’t Use Matte Lipsticks Forever: Matte lipsticks can be extremely drying which helps these lipsticks stay put for longtime. That’s why you should use them sparingly when your lips are extremely chapped. Instead, alternate use of them with hydrating lipsticks with ingredients like vitamin E and/or glycerin or add a layer of moisturizing lip balm underneath.
Choose The Right Balms: Look for hydrating ingredients like beeswax, vitamin, almond, honey, or strawberry. Good old petroleum jelly works well too. Since camphor-based medicated lip balms can be irritating, opt for the camphor-free Lip Treatment. But if you have hearty skin, try LipIce Sheer Color Lip Balms.
Exfoliate when necessary: Lip exfoliator that contain fruit-acid-based alpha or beta hydroxy acids slough off dead skin — much like the ones you’d use on your face. But if you have sensitive skin or your lips are severely chapped or cracked, use these products cautiously, no more than once weekly, as they do contain acids that can irritate skin.
Introduce Humidifier: Humidifier can replace moisture in dry indoor air, keeping your lips and your skin hydrated.
Hydrate Whenever Possible: Drinking enough water (the equivalent of at least 9 cups of fluids daily) will keep the body, skin and lips hydrated.
Aovid Licking Habit: Licking your lips damages the protective barrier, which can dry out the lips, says Robert Brodell, M.D., a dermatologist in Warren, Ohio. (Saliva contains digestive enzymes that can break down this barrier.) Instead, regularly apply lip balm like LipIce Sheer Color (Nrs. 335).
Use Sunblock: Lips are susceptible to sunburn since they lack melanin, the pigment that helps shield skin from the sun. Apply a layer of a sun-protective product daily like Sunplay Sunblock to your lips whenever out in the sun.