Crack a Smile

Care for dry winter lips are no laughing matter

Winter is fast approaching, and I’m looking forward to those cozy nights tucked under a warm blanket watching the snow fall outside my window. But I’m not looking forward to the dry, flaky, dehydrated lips that also arrive with the season. I’ve discovered a few tips that help solve the problem — and though some may sound wacky, they’re not just lip service! 

First, a little info about lips: 
  • There are only three to five layers of skin on the lips, compared to 16 on, say, your arms 
  • Lips do not have sweat or sebaceous glands, which means they don’t produce moisture to protect themselves 
  • Lips lose moisture up to give times faster than skin on the rest of the body 
So you can see why our lips need a little help to protect themselves from harsh, cold, dry weather. 

Nix the licks 
Unless you’re diggin’ into a delicious, saucy, pulled-pork or falafel sandwich, resist the urge to lick your lips. The enzymes and acids in your saliva that normally help break down food will actually start to break down the thin skin on the lips, making your dry lips even worse. 

Kick that nasty addiction 
Is it possible to become addicted to a lip product? Well most lip-balm sticks, lipsticks and lipglosses are formulated with petroleum or a by-product of petroleum. Petroleum may soothe a bout of dry lips temporarily by acting like plastic wrap, not letting moisture in or out. After the initial product wears off, though, moisture is drawn away from the lips causing that dry feeling again, thus creating a cycle. Many petro based lip products can contain synthetic fragrances and colours as well, which also dehydrates lips. These products do not heal dry lips; they just temporarily treat the symptoms. 

Tip! Use any vegetable oil — not mineral oil — is key when looking for a great natural lip product. 

Finding a natural way 
Mother Nature has given us plenty of options when it comes to healing, moisture-retaining ingredients for our lips. Here are few to look for when choosing a natural lip product: 

Shea Butter or Coconut oil: both have super-moisturizing power, and both act as a natural sunblock 

Honey: tastes delicious in lip balms; honey also has natural humectant properties. This means it draws moisture from the air to your lips 

Glycerine (vegetable): has high emolient and humectant properties, creating super soft skin and lips 

Beeswax: the waxy texture is perfect for creating a barrier between lips and the elements 

Jojoba Oil: resembling the skins own sebum, this stuff is perfect for lip care 

Once you’ve healed sore lips, gently exfoliate all that dead, dry skin. I’ve seen a few lip scrubs on the market, but I find it hard to pay up when I can easily make one myself. Heres’ a quick recipe that doesn’t require any measuring! 

Get some high-quality local honey. (You can go for Manuka honey from New Zealand, for its higher antibacterial properties, but I think locally produced honey can be just as great.) Buy some poppy seeds. Dip your index finger into the honey, then dip it into the poppy seeds. Don’t eat it — that comes later! Gently rub your finger onto your lips in tiny circular motions for 10 to 15 seconds. Leave on for a few minutes and let the honey to do its thing. Now lick it off! Mmmm...delicious. 

Check out more great skin care products and tips at Lido Skin Care.