Everyone likes to have bright, pink and smooth lips. But as the winter season sets in, the harsh weather takes a toll on your lips and makes them dry, chapped and dull.
Cold weather and low humidity result in extremely dry air, which steals moisture away from your lips. Indoor heat further robs the air of moisture and makes the problem worse.
Plus, as the skin on your lips is very thin and has no oil glands to prevent it from chapping, you need to take extra care of your lips. If you don’t care for your lips in the winter, they may end up severely dry, chapped, raw, sore or cracked.
Taking care of your lips properly is not hard. You just have to follow a few easy steps.
Here are 10 easy steps to take care of your lips this winter.
1. Hydrate Your Lips from Within
As the winter season has a dehydrating effect on your lips, you must take special care to keep them hydrated from within.
This can be done by taking care of your diet. First of all, you need to drink about 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. However, everyone has different requirements for water, so consult your doctor to find out how much you need to drink based upon your health and fitness level.
Besides drinking water, eat fresh vegetables and fruits that are rich in water content. Try oranges, kiwi, watermelon, cantaloupe, apples, and watery veggies like celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and carrots.
Also, eat foods rich in vitamins A and C. While vitamin A helps maintain and repair the skin tissue, vitamin C increases the collagen production to make the lips more supple and full. It also protects the skin from sun’s ultraviolet rays.
2. Use DIY Masks Regularly
Homemade hydrating masks can help add the much-needed moisture to your lips in the winter months.
A variety of hydrating lip masks can be made easily using common ingredients from your kitchen, such as honey, olive oil, avocados and milk cream.
- Honey is a great moisturizer for chapped lips. Simply apply honey on your lips, or make a paste of honey and glycerin and apply it before going to bed to enjoy softer lips in the morning.
- Apply fresh milk cream on your lips and leave it on for 10 minutes. Then, gently wash your lips with a cotton ball dipped in lukewarm water. Do this daily to enjoy soft and pink lips.
- Add some olive oil to a spoonful of mashed avocado and apply it on your lips. Wait 15 minutes, then rinse it off using lukewarm water. Do it once daily.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of rose water with 1 teaspoon of honey. Apply this mixture on the lips and leave it on for about 15 minutes. Wash it off with normal water and pat dry. Repeat once daily.
3. Exfoliate Weekly
Just like your skin, your lips need to be exfoliated to get rid of flaky and dull skin. After exfoliating, your lips will look fresher and more evenly toned.
In fact, regular exfoliation is the secret behind soft and pink lips. When it comes to exfoliation, once or twice a week is enough. More than that can worsen your lips and cause redness, irritation or soreness.
To exfoliate your lips, use a natural abrasive lip scrub made with sugar and olive oil.
- In ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar, add enough olive oil to make a paste.
- Gently rub the paste on your lips, using circular motions to remove any flaky or dead skin.
- Rinse off the remaining mixture using lukewarm water.
- Finish by pampering your lips with a mild moisturizer to truly see a smoother difference. You can apply a few drops of almond oil, coconut oil or olive oil to keep your lips hydrated and properly moisturized.
- Repeat once or twice a week.
4. Moisturize Several Times a Day
Lips tend to lose moisture faster than other areas on the body. Consider slathering on a moisturizing lip balm several times a day to keep your lips properly hydrated.
In the morning, when you brush your teeth, rub your lips gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. It will help remove the dry skin from the lips and make them look fresh and soft.
Then, using a few drops of olive oil or coconut oil, massage your lips gently for a minutes. This will increase the blood flow.
As in winter season, moisturizing the lips is more effective against the dry air, you need to apply a lip balm about every two hours. Also, after sweating, swimming or exercising, reapply the balm.
Note: Do not scrub your lips if they are flaky or peeling.
5. Lip Care before Bedtime
During the winter months, it is crucial that you take care of your lips properly before going to bed.
Before going to bed, wash your lips thoroughly with lukewarm water. Pat dry the lips with a soft cloth, then immediately apply a lip balm. Keep your lip balm near the bed and use it liberally every time you wake up at night.
Choose an oil-based lip balm rather than a water-based or alcohol-based formula to help your lips retain moisture during the night.
- A few drops of coconut oil, olive oil or almond oil works as an effective lip balm.
- Mix glycerin and rose water in equal amounts and apply this mixture to your lips, as well as your whole face, before going to sleep.
6. Don’t Lick Your Lips
Licking is one of the bad habits that can be very damaging to your lips. When the saliva from your mouth comes in with your lips, it quickly evaporates and dries out your lips even further instead of moisturizing them
Stop this habit immediately to avoid dry and dehydrated lips.
To avoid licking your lips to add moisture, always keep a lip balm handy. Whenever you feel a little dryness, just apply it. You can also try chewing gum or sucking on a hard piece of candy to stop licking your lips.
Along with licking, biting or peeling the skin also makes the lips nastier. Plus, the lips can begin to bleed from biting or peeling. So, never do it.
7. Protect from Harsh Winter Winds
The harsh winter winds have a drying effect on your skin, even the lips. The cold temperature and dry blustery winds tend to strip moisture off your lips, leaving them dry and dehydrated. As lips have no oil glands, they cannot restore moisture and hence become dry and cracked.
In addition, exposure to the strong winter winds can break down the fat or oil molecules on the skin and cause windburn. These fat or oil molecules maintain moisture in your skin and also filter the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Thus, exposure to the strong and cool winter winds can lead to skin redness and irritation.
Cover your face with a scarf to protect against the harsh winter winds. Also, apply a moisturizing lip balm before stepping out in the brutal winds to avoid losing moisture.
Prefer to use a lip balm with at least 15 SPF to protect against the damaging UV rays. Sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays can damage your skin even in the cold, winter months, especially when it is snowy outside as the sun reflects up to 80 percent of the UV rays off the snow.
8. Opt for a Humidifier
The cold winter months often take a toll on the health of your lips. When exposed to winter air, lips tend to become dry, chapped and cracked.
On top of that, the warm air from central heating or a fireplace adds to the extra dryness of the air, causing more dryness.
Hence, to add some moisture to the environment, use a humidifier at your home and in your office. Don’t forget to use the humidifier when you sleep, as the moist air will help your skin and lips remain hydrated.
When using a humidifier, try to keep the setting on the humidifier between 30 and 50 percent. Also, clean the humidifier from time to time to get rid of germs, dirt and other impurities.
9. Quit Smoking
Those who are chain-smokers usually have dark and black lips. This is because smoking has a dehydration effect on your skin, which can lead to cracked lips. The nicotine takes out the iron from your body, which may cause skin discoloration including on the lips.
Also, excessive smoking can burn the lip skin and leave a dark stain on your lips.
The worst part is that smoking is one of the leading causes of cancer, which can cause unpleasant lip lesions.
If you want your lips to be soft and pink, it’s time to say no to smoking. This can help regain the color and texture of your lips to some extent, if not completely.
10. Control Your Caffeine Intake
Winter is just the right time of the year to drink a few cups of your favorite beverage – coffee.
While a warm cup of coffee may soothe you from the coldness for a while, it ultimately dehydrates your skin and lips.
Coffee has a mild diuretic effect, meaning it reduces body fluid levels and can lead to dehydration. In fact, after drinking a caffeinated drink, your mouth may begin to feel dry. This is an indication that you are getting dehydrated.
Instead of drinking coffee, drink an herbal tea. Herbal teas are hydrating and also helpful for your overall health.
- Avoid eating spicy, hot or pungent foods that force your tongue to the lips.
- For the winter season, choose lip balms with extra moisturizing agents like shea butter, beeswax, jojoba oil, coconut oil, honey and aloe vera.
- It is best to avoid wearing lipstick, especially in the winter. Instead of lipstick, you can use a moisturizing lip balm that has a tint of color.
- If you are in the habit of using lipstick every day, choose those with moisturizing ingredients.
- Wear a mouth guard when playing sports. This will help prevent you from injuring your lips as well as teeth.