A Dermatologist’s Tips for Beating Dry Lips
How to put an end to chapping once and for all
by Katherine Lalancette
I don’t get why people have such a problem with the word “moist.” Honestly, all I want in life is to be moist. Moist face, moist limbs, moist hands and, most of all, moist lips. You want to shudder? Think about how ghastly it feels when your lips are all flaked and crusty, like you’ve taken a cheese grater to them. “Moist” is starting to sound pretty good, no?
To ensure none of us ever has to experience that hellish sensation, I reached out to dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett of DLK on Avenue to find out how to keep our lips soft, supple and oh-so moist all winter long. (If you were counting, I said the M word eight times and I can’t promise I’m done.)
Protect your lips
Dry lips are often weather-related says, Kellett. You’ve got the cold air and the strong winds as well as a drop in ambient humidity, both outside and indoors. “So you have an increase in transepidermal water loss from the surface of skin, everywhere, including the lips, and because they’re a mucus membrane, they can often dry out faster.”
That’s why “the biggest thing is to protect your lips,” she says. “If you’re going outside in the middle of winter, actually physically cover that area so it’s not exposed to the wind and the cold.”
Choose the right lip balm
“You want to look for one that’s thick, almost like a barrier cream so that it actually protects,” says Kellett. “Some lip balms just give you a gloss. You want a protective lip balm rather than a lip gloss. Some people confuse the two.”
On top of telling patients to look for a thicker, waxy-type formula, she also recommends opting for one with SPF. This will help shield lips from the sun’s harmful rays. Lastly, be careful with anything scented as some flavourings, like peppermint and cinnamon, can cause allergic contact dermatitis.
Exfoliating your lips once in a while is okay, says the expert. You can do this with a lip scrub or even an exfoliating cleanser with beads in it. Just don’t be too aggressive. “You don’t want it to bleed or anything.” (The same goes for those little flakes. Annoying as they may be, resist the urge to pull on them. “Just leave them,” she says.) Once you’re done exfoliating, make sure to smooth on a nice coat of lip balm.
Adopt good habits
Try to avoid lip licking, as that can dry out your lips. Also, if you’re prone to dryness all over, keeping a humidifier close to your workspace or bed is helpful. Another good bedtime habit is to put on a thick layer of lip balm, says Kellett. “A little trick is to put it on moist skin.” [There’s that word again!] “That’ll increase the absorption of it.” And don’t worry about over-applying. Ever heard that rumour that lips can become “addicted to” or “dependent on” lip balm? Total myth, says the pro. “I don’t know how that started. There’s no addiction.”
Make sure it’s not something else
Sometimes people will think they just have chronically chapped lips, when they actually have dermatitis. A tell-tale sign is if you experience extreme dryness above the lips as well as on them. In that case, a derm would be able to treat the issue by prescribing medication such as a topical steroid. “If it doesn’t resolve itself with over-the-counter lip balms, see a dermatologist,” says Kellett. “It might not be a simple dry lip.”
To read the full article from The Kit please click here