I have a confession to make. I’m addicted to my lip balm! I’m not thrilled about this. But at least I’m not the only one constantly reaching for that next lip fix.
‘Tis the season, after all – the sunny, hot and extremely dry season, that is. With temperatures rising and high pressure building, they just don’t make enough Chapstick to keep my miserably dry, cracked lips moist!
The spectacular autumn sun may be shining brightly, but with dry Santa Ana winds and humidity dropping below 10 percent, many of us look for relief from constantly re-applying our favorite lip balm. (Bee’s for me!)
Annoying and uncomfortable at best, chapped lips can become dry, cracked and sore interfering with daily activities such as smiling, eating, talking, singing and kissing. Even worse, cracked tissue can be painful and lead to infection.
So Cal’s “devil winds” aren’t the only reason our kissers become cracked and chapped. Yes, over exposure to wind, sun, cold and dry air are the main culprits, but people who breathe through their mouths (for a variety of reasons) can develop chapped lips. Certain medications or allergies to cosmetics or skin care products may also be the cause.
When lips are exposed to moisture, they absorb water and plump up. No surprise there, but conversely, when dehydrated they can dry out. As we age, it’s hard for skin to retain moisture and dryness tends to increase in the winter.
So, what’s a person to do?
Check out these timely tips to help you keep those luscious lips soft and moist…
*Avoid lip smacking or licking your lips.
When you do, you provide a drop of moisture which evaporates quickly, leaving the lips drier than before. Saliva contains digestive enzymes that can break down the protective barrier on the lips.
Drink plenty of fluids to moisturize from the inside out. Set up a humidifier in your home or office.
*Be sure your lip balm contains sunscreen.
According to researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, “sun damage to the lips can cause dryness and scaliness…the same way it damages the rest of the skin.”
*Ladies, wear lipstick!
A creamy lipstick (non-matte) can soothe chapped lips and opaque lipstick filters out harmful light. This may be why women seldom get lip cancer.
*Apply lip balm.
Look for hydrating ingredients such as beeswax and petroleum. Beware of camphor and menthol…camphor-based medicated lip balm may be irritating.
*It’s OK to reapply often.
Apply it before you go out…several times while you are out and after you eat or drink.
Apply a thick layer of balm at bedtime to lessen chapping. Many of us sleep with our mouths open, which leads to dry lips. (Since I began slathering on a generous layer of Aquaphor at night, no more painful cracks in the corners of my lips!)
Oh, and don’t be concerned about actually becoming “addicted” to your lip balm. There are no physically addictive ingredients in balms. A psychological habit? Maybe. But it’s safe…so grab another tube!