Finding it hard to pout for selfies with dull lips? Is the sun robbing your lips of moisture, leaving it lifeless and chafed? Whenever you’re treating yourself to a facial, you ensure every inch of your face is covered and slap on the cucumber cuts for eye patches, neglecting the lips.
Why all the fuss?
Unlike the rest of the skin on your body, your lips don’t have sweat glands. With the lack of sweat glands to keep lips moisturized, they tend to dry out faster than the other parts of your body. This is one of the top reasons to stay hydrated and keep your lips revitalized.
Is the sun in your smile?
The toll that heat can take on your lips is actually quite big. The skin of your lips is very thin and lacks melanin, which keeps us safe from sun damage. Without this protective pigment, lips can be easily sunburned. In addition to this, sunlight can break down the collagen of the lips, making them thinner as well.
Air conditioning: The working principle behind ACs is to lower the humidity. The evaporator coils in them pull in hot air and condense it into water vapour, removing the humidifying factor from the room. This means the air around you depends on your body’s moisture (perspiration) to convert into vapour, sucking out whatever natural dampness your lips might retain. Avoid extended periods of time in air conditioning and favour fresh air instead.
Habitual licking: Some of us tend to moisten our lips with our tongue every so often. Be it out of habit, or due to the belief that saliva redeems dry lips, which is untrue, this is a practice that needs to be kicked. Your lips moisten when they receive essential oils, not saliva. In fact, when saliva evaporates, it leaves the skin even drier. Even prolonged thumb-sucking and lip-biting can cause tissue trauma and deform lip contours.
Mouth Breathing: When you have a cold or in other conditions that block the sinuses, the tendency to leave the mouth open for long stretches leaves them dry and the skin to crack and bleed. The warm air that escapes your mouth when you breathe also traps pollutants, leaving your skin on your lips weathered.
Chapped Lips: Chapped lips are a cry for moisture. To keep the moisture locked in for longer, go for a lip balm that has a barrier with Vitamin E or other conditioners. For cracked lips, medicated lip balm works best. I recommend Dr. Paw Paw or Elizabeth Arden’s famous 8-hour cream.
Dark Lips: Darkening of lips happens almost exclusively due to skin-erosive habits that involve too much caffeine or tobacco. Homemade treatments for this include a touch of lemon juice or almond oil on the lips overnight. But don’t expect miracles with these. Proper reversal of lip pigmentation occurs gradually with the stoppage of smoking and/or coffee.
Peeling Lips: This is a rather dire signal which indicates a dearth of moisture. Rub some Vaseline over your lips and if possible, seal your lips with a muslin cloth when you go to sleep. When you wash it away in the morning, first scrape off the dead skin with a durable Turkish towel and then apply a thin coat of lip balm.
Here are some pointers to bear in mind for everyday lip care:
- Don’t use a lip scrub on a daily basis. Save it for those special days when you need to wear bright lip-colours; lips need to look soft while using sharp tints, so use a little on those occasions alone.
- Homemade scrubs made of salt or sugar can work just as well as the commercially available ones. A salt scrub keeps the lips smooth and fresh, while sugar prevents lip darkening.
- While lipstick can dry out your skin, if worn for hours together, the newly introduced lip oils work wonders! Fresh in the market, lip oils are also tinted, but they come with the added benefit of liquid moisture, concealment of fine lines on lips and also promise an anti-ageing perk!