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8 Essential Lip Care Tips: How to Prevent Chapped Lips in Winter

One of the first places we may notice the harsh effects of winter is on our lips. That’s because the skin on our lips is thinner and more fragile than the rest of our bodies. Not only that, but lip skin has no sebaceous glands so it doesn’t produce its own oil like other places.

If we neglect to take the proper steps to protect our lips, we end up with dry, chapped, cracked skin that quickly turns our smiles upside down. A little extra lip service can do wonders!

The simplest solution for dry, chapped lips is to use lip balm. Using lip balm is a must for soft, smooth lips, especially in winter. And as always, living a healthy natural lifestyle calls for using gentle, organic, nontoxic products on our whole body. Lips included!

Truthfully, it’s even more crucial to steer clear of harmful chemicals on our lips because we inevitably end up ingesting everything we put on them. In fact, the average woman eats about 6 pounds of lip care products in her lifetime! So you’ll want to know exactly what you’re using and avoid toxic lip balm ingredients.

Read on to find out many more ways to take care of your lips and keep smiling all winter long.

What lip balm ingredients should I avoid?

Many popular lip care products use ingredients that can further dry out your already parched lips. They can also irritate the skin or cause damage to the outer layers, leaving them even more vulnerable to the outside elements.

And remember, you’re most likely going to end up eating whatever ingredients are in the product, so always read the label first.

Though this isn’t an exhaustive list, here’s what to avoid:

1. Petrolatum 

              You may have heard that petrolatum or petroleum jelly is safe to use on your body. And this might be the case if petrolatum is fully refined. But this isn't usually the case, and petrolatum is likely to be contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). Plus, petrolatum doesn’t truly moisturize your skin and instead forms a layer on top to physically block the elements.

Add to this the fact that petrolatum is a petroleum byproduct and comes from the bottom of oil rigs. With all the naturally nourishing ingredients available, we believe this is a no-brainer to avoid.

2. Menthol, camphor or salicylic acid

              Lip products commonly use these ingredients because they provide a refreshing, tingly sensation. But they can also irritate the delicate skin on your lips or peel off the top layers of lip skin and leave them exposed. Sloughing off dead skin cells can be helpful, but chemical exfoliants like these are too harsh and can cause damage.

3. Fragrances

              "Fragrance" is a broad term for unknown chemical ingredients in body care products. They could easily be toxic or, at the very least irritating. You can read more about the dangers of fragrances in skincare here. There’s no need for fragrances in lip balm.

4. Parabens

              These chemicals are known to be hormone disruptors and should never be used in any skincare products, let alone your lip balm. The names of these ingredients have -paraben at the end of their hard-to-pronounce names, so be on the lookout.

What can I do to protect my lips?

Give your dry lips a little extra attention this winter to avoid the discomfort of chapping, peeling and cracking lips. Here are seven things you can do:

Top Lip Care Tips

1. Stay hydrated

              Staying hydrated is as important in winter as in summer. But we often forget to drink enough water because we’re not hot and sweaty from the summer heat. However, we still lose fluids all day long and need to replenish them. So keep your water bottle handy and sip throughout the day.

2. Use all-natural lip products

              We may have mentioned this already (ahem), but all-natural lip products will work much better to moisturize your lips while preventing potentially serious health problems caused by toxic chemicals. Natural oils like sunflower and coconut hydrate and smooth your lips, and beeswax helps lock in moisture. Try our organic lip balm made with these wonderful ingredients here

3. Exfoliate

              Dry skin cells can build up on our lips, causing them to flake and peel. Gentle exfoliation once or twice a week will help remove the dead cells and keep lips soft and smooth. Since chemical exfoliants are too rough, try making your own scrub at home with natural ingredients from your kitchen.

Here’s a simple sugar scrub recipe to remove dry skin on your lips that’s easy and inexpensive:

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil, melted

1 teaspoon honey

2 drops peppermint oil (if desired)

Mix the ingredients together and gently rub on your lips. You can save the leftovers in a sealed jar to use later. So easy!

4. Avoid licking your lips

              It might seem like licking them would add moisture to dry lips, but the opposite is actually true. Saliva initially moistens dry lips but then has a drying effect after evaporating. Sometimes we lick our lips when we’re anxious or nervous or when our lips are cold and dry. Try to catch yourself next time you’re licking your lips excessively.

5. Don’t peel off flakes

              If you notice skin peeling away from your lips, it’s best not to remove the flakes. You risk pulling off healthy skin in the process and causing lip damage that takes time to heal. Exfoliating will help reduce flakiness.           

6. Cover your lips when possible

              Blocking your lips from the elements will help reduce the problem of dry lips. Cold temperatures, wind, and sun can strip the moisture from your lips. Wearing a scarf can help if you pull it up over your lips when you’re outdoors.

7. Massage the upper lip area

              We included this tip to help with the fine (or not-so-fine) lines that tend to form around the upper part of your mouth and lips. Massaging can help boost circulation and bring more oxygen and nutrients to heal and repair dry lip skin. Try gently massaging while you apply your facial moisturizer, serum, or natural lip exfoliator.

Lips are often a neglected part of a healthy skincare routine. Keeping your lips hydrated in winter takes a little extra attention but is well worth it. If you can avoid the discomfort of dry, chapped and cracked lips this winter, the next few colder months will be much more enjoyable!

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