Baby, it’s cold outside! With cold weather comes dry, cracked skin and our lips are no exception. We take care to cover and protect our skin, but what about our lips? They deserve our TLC too.
Today we’ll look at the best way to treat chapped lips. We’ll discuss causes, prevention, and treatments. Then I’ll give you some DIY recipes that will get you on the road to smoother lips.
Pull your blanket up a little higher and we’ll get started!
Guilty Culprit – What’s Causing My Lips to Chap?
First, let’s talk about why our lips dry, chap, and crack so easily. Our lips are the only part of our body that does not produce their own moisture because they lack glands. The skin on our lips is also thinner and more delicate, making them more susceptible to the environment and what we put on them.
There are some specific things that add stress to our lips:
Dehydration – Lack of hydration is a main cause of dry lips. We’re told to drink plenty of water during hot weather, but proper water intake is critical for our bodies, including our skin, year-round.
Smoking – We’ve already talked about smoking increasing wrinkles…well…the smoke from tobacco can also dry out the skin on our lips.
Licking or biting lips – We’ve all heard it’s best to bite your bottom lip (or bite your tongue). Well, that works for not saying something you’ll later regret, but it’s not good advice when it comes to taking care of your lips. Most people don’t even realize they do these habits, so it’s something we have to become conscious of doing. While licking dry lips may seem to add moisture, the saliva actually pulls moisture away from the surface of our skin as it dries. And biting can tear the surface of the skin, pulling away moisture as well and causing cracks.
Pulling or picking at lips – Pulling or picking at the lips is another habit people don’t realize they do. This can irritate the delicate skin on our lips, making them dry and cracked…and even bleeding and scabbing.
Weather – As the air gets colder it also gets dryer. This dry air pulls moisture from the skin. Wind also dries out our lips.
Sun – As we leave the Summer activities behind us we also let our guard down with sun protection. While the sun isn’t as intense in the Winter months, it can still dry out and burn our lips.
No lip protection – This is especially a big one for men. We go out in the cold without applying any type of lip balm or lipstick. We need this protection to guard against the weather.
Medications – Certain medications can cause dehydration. One in particular that most of us take during the Fall and Winter months are antihistamines. Think about it…they dry up our sinuses, so naturally they dry out our entire facial area.
Breathing through your mouth – This can cause dryness because of the excess air flowing over the lips. It doesn’t look very smart either. And of course, we breathe more through our mouth when we are congested.
Ingredients – Which Ones to Avoid
There are also certain ingredients in products we apply that can cause our skin to dry. Avoid lip balms and cosmetics with these ingredients to prevent further drying:
- Glycerin (and other humectants)
- Pigmentation and fragrances (these may be a problem for those with sensitive skin)
Ingredients – Which Ones to Use
This is by no means a complete list, but a good start. You should be able to find a good variety of lip balms with at least one of these ingredients:
Aloe Vera – We all know this one for its use in healing sunburn, but it can also be helpful with chapped lips because of its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties.
Coconut oil – Coconut oil also has anti-inflammatory properties. It is an emollient that works to moisturize and protect skin.
Honey – Other than tasting good, honey works as a healing agent. I use Honey Trap Lip Balm by Lush. It makes my lips so smooth.
Avocado butter – This is also an emollient that absorbs well into the skin.
Cucumber – Cucumber contains vitamins and minerals that help moisturize skin.
Petroleum jelly – Petroleum jelly helps hold moisture in to keep lips moist longer. It is also a good alternative if you are allergic to plant-based products like Shea butter, soybean oil, and beeswax.
Prevention – How to Fight Off Chapped Lips
All this talk about how to treat chapped lips, but prevention is always best, right? Here are some ways you can prevent dry, chapped lips before they happen:
Drink water – There is no right or wrong time of the year to get your daily intake of water. Our skin and other organs need enough water to keep us functioning.
Keep lips covered – You should wear lip balm or moisturizing lipstick at all times, especially when out in the cold. Look for a product rich in emollients, especially a petroleum ingredient.
Exfoliate – Gently exfoliate the dry skin from your lips. You should already be doing this to the rest of your body, so it should be easy to add your lips to your weekly routine. Use extra caution on your lips though, since the skin is thinner. No need to apply a lot of pressure.
Use a humidifier – Using a humidifier in the drier months can help add moisture to your lips as well as other parts of your body. A humidifier can be especially helpful in very dry regions.
Apply protection throughout the day – This is not a once in the morning thing. You must reapply your product throughout the day. You can also wear a lip balm under your lipstick or gloss for further protection. It will also serve as a lip primer.
DIY Recipes for Smooth Lips
So…I thought it would be fun to make our own products to get those smooth lips we’re looking for. Let me say now that when using essential oils, make sure you’re using pure, quality products. Some over-the-counter essential oils are not pure and contain fillers that can be harmful to you and/or your pets.
You can also buy small containers/tubes, but it’s not mandatory. Make due with what you have if you’re not sure this is the route for you. If you don’t have a double boiler you can use a glass bowl on top of a sauce pan (ingredients in the top pot or glass bowl and water to bowl in the lower pot).
Let’s dive in!
Here’s an exfoliating scrub from Alluring Soul.
DIY Exfoliating Sugar Lip Scrub for Dry Lips
- 3 tablespoons cane/brown sugar
- 2 drops of lavender essential oil
- 1 tablespoon organic honey
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Mix sugar, lavender oil, honey, and coconut oil in a bowl and stir until blended.
- Store mixture in an airtight container for several uses.
- You can store it for up to 1 month under room temperature.
Here’s another one from Alluring Soul.
DIY Exfoliating Lemon and Peppermint Sugar Scrub
- 2 tablespoons white/brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 5 drops peppermint essential oil
- 5 drops lemon essential oil
- Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 10-15 days.
- Do not refrigerate.
Here’s a lip balm from Heather’s Real Life.
Lip Balm for Beginners
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons Shea butter
- 2 tablespoons beeswax
- 10 drops of essential oil of your choice (Peppermint would be nice for this time of year and for Christmas presents)
- Melt the wax, Shea butter and coconut oil in your double boiler.
- Once melted, remove and add essential oil.
- Pour into clean container.
Here’s one by Homemade Mommy
Homemade Lavender Honey Lip Balm
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon Shea butter
- 1/2 teaspoon raw honey
- 1 tablespoon sweet almond oil
- 2 tablespoons beeswax
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
- 5 drops frankincense essential oil
Equipment you’ll need
- 12 lip balm tubes (or tins)
- a large rubber band
- Remove the lids from the lip balm tubes and secure upright with a large rubber band.
- Gently melt the coconut oil, Shea butter, honey, and beeswax in a double boiler.
- Remove from heat and then stir in the sweet almond oil and essential oils.
- Quickly pour the melted oil into the upright tubes. You have to move very quickly before the oils start to set.
- Allow the lip balm to set and then cap the containers.
My Final Thoughts
Hopefully you’ve learned some new things today…or at least reminded of some things you’ve forgotten. As you can see, these are all easy things you can do at home.
But…if these tips don’t work or you think you may have a problem deeper than just dry lips from the weather, then I recommend you see your doctor or a health professional of some sort. The best thing I can say is to listen to your body. You know best when there’s something else going on.
Before You Go – I Want to Hear From You
What you have to say matters to me. Drop me a comment or question below and I’ll happily respond. Are you having a problem with your lips chapping? What have you tried that works? Let us know!
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Thank you for your time today!