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How to deal with chapped lips

You shouldn't have to suffer through the winter with dry and cracked lips.

The season of chapped lips is upon us. If you're one of those people who can't get through January without a tube of lip balm in hand, then this is the right article for you. Here are some of the common reasons that lips become chapped and ways to fix it, making your winter more comfortable.

If you lick your lips frequently, that causes them to dry out more. Dermatologist Daniel Glass explained recently in the Guardian, “Repeated licking can remove the oily surface film that protects the lips from losing moisture, leading to lips cracking. The digestive enzymes in saliva can also irritate the lips.” So resist the urge to do it, even if it feels like it's giving temporary moisture.

Consider what other substances could be contributing to dryness. Some people experience chapping as a result of toothpaste, primarily whitening toothpastes, and this can be improved by choosing an all-natural variety without sodium laureth sulfate. Lip balms that contain camphor and menthol can make dryness worse, despite being a common additive and giving a pleasant tingling sensation, so read the ingredient list. Chemical-laden lipsticks and glosses may be a contributing factor. Actives-based skincare products, such as retinol, can also cause lips to flake and become irritated, so cosmetic dermatologist Sam Bunting recommends using a lip balm barrier before applying at night.

In order to get marvellously moisturized lips, you should exfoliate regularly to remove any dead, loose skin. This can be fun (not to mention tasty and cheap) when you mix up your own sugar-based scrub, such as this recipe for DIY Brown Sugar Vanilla Lip Scrub.

Apply a moisturizer or lip balm made from natural ingredients. Dermatologist Lily Talakoub says, “Stay away from petrolatum, waxes, and mineral oils in the ingredient list, which exacerbate dryness,” and stick to “humectants (like hyaluronic acid and glycerin), which bind water to skin, and emollients (like shea butter and olive oil), which soothe and repair the skin barrier.” Lip balms made with beeswax, coconut oil, cocoa butter, lanolin, aloe vera, and sweet almond oil are effective. You can also make your own. Here are 3 recipes for homemade healing lip balms.

To keep moisture locked in, wear a scarf over your mouth if it's very cold, or apply sunscreen if you're out in the sun. Apply a layer of lip balm before heading outside. Drink plenty of water because hydration starts from the inside and set up a humidifier in your house.

You shouldn't have to suffer through the winter with dry and cracked lips.