Winter weather, especially in northern climates, can wreak havoc on lips. The dry, biting wind outdoors coupled with indoor heating can cause lips to appear parched. In severe cases, your lips may peel, or even crack and bleed, if the problem is left unattended.
Unfortunately, many products that people use in hopes of healing their dry lips may do more harm than good. As your lips are made of the thinnest tissue on your entire body, they can be extremely sensitive to synthetic ingredients and chemical additives.
Many lip treatments contain petroleum jelly, and while this product seems to initially soothe and soften lips, it is actually a synthetic oil slick that can clog your pores and prevent your skin from breathing. It can also keep moisture from absorbing into your lips. Mineral oils act in a similar fashion.
Lip treatments and balms also often contain alcohols, which seems backwards, as they naturally dry the skin and can easily cause irritation. Lanolin, a secretion found in animal fat, is also sometimes used. Aside from being a no-no for vegans and vegetarians, lanolin can absorb contaminants and may lead to allergic reactions.
Also found on the ingredients lists of many lip care products are a host of chemical additives and preservatives. Some of these can lead to allergic outbreaks or contact dermatitis. Oxybenzone, a sunscreen sometimes added to lip balms, can promote irritation and dry out your lips, as can many coloring agents found in lipsticks and glosses.
If you have sensitive skin, even the ingredients in your toothpaste can lead to lip dryness. Fluoride, and many of the other additives found in conventional toothpaste, can be irritating, so you may consider switching to a natural, fluoride-free variety.
To naturally get your lips back to their moist and supple state:
Drink lots of water: As winter air is often dry, it is easier to get dehydrated, and your lips will dry out before the rest of your skin. Eight to ten glasses of distilled water is essential.
Exfoliate your lips: You can make a simple scrub with a dollop of organic coconut oil mixed with a sprinkling of organic coconut sugar. Simply combine, apply to lips, and remove with a warm, damp washcloth. If your lips are in especially rough shape, add some raw honey to the mix, leave the mixture on for several moments, and then gently remove.
Apply organic coconut oil, shea butter or beeswax regularly to keep your lips soft. These natural options will condition your lips and protect them from damage.
If your lips are heavily chapped, try organic jojoba oil. It mimics the naturally-occurring oils in your own skin, and can heal even the most severely windburnt lips.
Another note on winter lip care: Avoid lip products – even organic lip products – that have peppermint, camphor, menthol or citrus ingredients. While these cause a pleasant tingling sensation in the summertime, if your lips are dry or chapped, it can be quite painful.
Finally, don’t lick your lips! The acids and enzymes found in your saliva will only break down your lip tissue and make their condition much worse!
-The Alternative Daily