Our lips are a key part of our appearance and confidence, yet they often receive little attention in our skincare routine. Including your lips in your daily regime not only makes them look softer and more supple, but also prevents painful dryness and chapping. Below, we delve into the world of lip care. Learn why our lips are so prone to chapping, different types of products that can contribute to overall lip health, and as well recommendations for some popular balms, oils, and masks to help you achieve a smoother and softer smile.
The Importance of Lip Care
Lips play a distinct role in skincare due to their delicate nature and their influence on aesthetics. Comprising three primary layers – the outer epidermis, the intermediate dermis, and the inner mucosa – the skin on your lips differs from the rest of your body. It lacks both sebaceous (oil-producing) glands and sweat glands, leaving it prone to dryness, chapping, and susceptibility to external irritants.
Furthermore, lips are often exposed to environmental elements such as harsh and dry weather, UV rays, and pollution, potentially leading to premature aging, pigmentation issues, and heightened sensitivity. Beyond aesthetics, dry and chapped lips can interfere with everyday activities like eating, speaking, and smiling.
Proper lip care is more than just applying lip balm. It encompasses practices like exfoliation to eliminate dead skin cells, utilization of nourishing ingredients like shea butter and natural oils, and protection against UV radiation. Taking the extra steps to care for your lips can alleviate painful dryness, enhancing and complementing your overall skincare routine.
Factors that Cause Chapped Lips
Nobody likes chapped, dry lips. While the lips are an integral part of our daily life, they are exposed to various factors that can lead to dryness and chapping. Understanding these factors can help you take proactive steps to prevent and address lip issues effectively.
Environmental conditions significantly impact lip health, with dry and uncomfortable chapping more common in places exposed to dry air and sun. This is particularly true during seasonal changes when the combination of harsh outdoor weather and indoor artificial climate control exacerbate the issue.
Environmental factors that can contribute to dry and chapped lips include:
Weather: Cold, windy, and dry weather can strip the lips of moisture, leading to dryness and chapping.
Sun Exposure: UV radiation from the sun can cause sunburn, premature aging, and long-term damage to lip skin.
Indoor Heating and Air Conditioning: Artificial heating and cooling can dehydrate the air, contributing to lip dryness.
Our lifestyle and habits can contribute to dry and chapped lips. Luckily, these are factors we can generally mitigate in our lives. Some lifestyle habits that can affect the delicate skin on and around the lips are:
Lip Licking: Although it might offer momentary comfort, licking your lips can exacerbate dryness. Saliva contains enzymes that weaken the skin’s natural protective barrier, ultimately leading to chapping.
Hydration Levels: Ensuring adequate water intake is crucial to prevent skin dryness, including that of the lips. Staying properly hydrated helps maintain the skin’s natural moisture balance.
Diet: The foods we consume and alcohol intake can also play a role in our skin and lip health. Salty and spicy foods, in particular, can irritate dry lips causing more redness, while alcohol consumption can dehydrate the overall body.
Lips are an extension of the skin, and neglecting them can lead to dryness, irritation, and sensitivity. Some examples of skincare affecting the lips include:
Lack of Moisturization: Neglecting to use lip balms or moisturizers can leave the lips vulnerable to dryness and cracking.
Harsh Lip Products: Certain lip products, such as matte lipsticks or long-wearing formulas, can contain drying ingredients that exacerbate lip dryness.
Certain health conditions can directly or indirectly cause chapped and dry lips. In cases like these, seeking the advice of a medical professional is recommended.
Allergies: Allergic reactions to certain foods or lip products can cause inflammation and dryness.
Medical Conditions: Certain health conditions, like eczema or psoriasis, can affect the lips and lead to dryness.
Skin Picking: Picking at dry and peeling lips may be a symptom of a greater mental health concern such as anxiety or dermatillomania (a condition related to OCD). However, this can exacerbate the issue as the skin isn’t given adequate time to heal.
Lip Care Routine
Lately, lips have gained increased attention, as people seek to achieve a smooth and plump pout. The beauty and skincare market now has a wide range of lip products and treatments, such as balms, exfoliants, overnight masks, and oils, each serving a distinct role in lip care. Below, we delve into the different types of lip products and their functions, along with things to consider when using them.
Lip balms play a key role in combating dry and chapped lips, serving as both your initial and most common line of defense. These compact, non-messy, and often budget-friendly products offer a two-fold approach to lip care. They prioritize essential hydration for the delicate skin of your lips while creating a protective barrier that locks in moisture. This not only safeguards against the loss of hydration, but also shields your lips from the elements like cold weather, wind, and UV radiation.
Look for these ingredients in lip balms:
Beeswax: This natural ingredient forms a protective layer on the lips, sealing in moisture and shielding against external aggressors.
Shea Butter: Renowned for its deep moisturizing properties, shea butter provides long-lasting hydration and helps restore the skin’s suppleness.
Coconut Oil: This versatile oil not only offers hydration but also contains fatty acids that support skin health and repair.
Hyaluronic Acid: Known for its moisture-attracting abilities, hyaluronic acid helps keep your lips plump and hydrated.
Ceramides: These essential lipids bolster your lips’ protective barrier, ensuring lasting hydration and shielding against moisture loss and environmental stressors.
Vitamin E: As a potent antioxidant, vitamin E safeguards lips from premature aging and damage, while its moisturizing and repair-promoting qualities foster smooth, resilient skin.
While lip balms can be a savior for your lips, it’s important to be mindful of the ingredients they contain. One ingredient that requires caution is petroleum. Although petroleum-based balms offer temporary relief, they might not adequately penetrate the skin for deep hydration, often creating a superficial barrier that perpetuates a cycle of dependence on the balm. If you can’t find petroleum-free lip balm, consider using products where it appears lower in the ingredients list, or use it on top of products with more penetrative ingredients like those listed above.
Exfoliation is a cornerstone of skincare, including for the delicate skin of the lips. By effectively sloughing off dead skin cells, exfoliation promotes cell turnover, helps prevent chapping, and encourages the regeneration of fresh, healthy skin by bringing blood and oxygen to the surface. This process not only enhances the texture of your lips but also allows subsequent lip care products to penetrate better.
You have the option to buy lip exfoliants from different skincare and cosmetics brands. However, there are accessible techniques for exfoliating your lips with common household items. When exfoliating your lips the most important aspect to bear in mind is to use gentle, circular motions and to never exfoliate broken, painful skin.
Some lip exfoliation methods include:
Using a Soft Towel: Gently massage your lips with a soft, clean, dry washcloth or towel in circular motions, effectively encouraging the shedding of dead skin cells.
Utilizing a Dry Toothbrush: Employ a dry, clean toothbrush to softly massage your lips, promoting gentle exfoliation and the unveiling of fresh skin.
DIY a Sugar Scrub: Create a simple homemade lip scrub using readily available ingredients. Combine a spoonful of sugar, a few drops of moisturizing oil (such as coconut, jojoba, or vitamin E), and a drop of honey to form a paste. Gently massage this mixture onto your lips before rinsing it off.
Lip masks are overnight treatments applied to the lips overnight, which aid in the overnight skin renewal process that happens when we sleep. Lip masks are designed to provide concentrated nourishment. They leverage a blend of potent ingredients to revitalize the lips, addressing dryness and promoting overall health.
Incorporate a lip mask 1-2 times a week to provide your lips with a concentrated surge of hydration and care, supporting their overall health and appearance. By applying the mask before bed, these potent ingredients can work uninterrupted so you wake up with smoother and softer lips.
Lip oils have recently taken the beauty world by storm, as a product with the moisture of a lip balm, the shine of a lip gloss, and even (in the case of tinted lip oils) the pigment of a lipstick. Everyone from drugstore brands like Burt’s Bees, to luxury brands like Dior, have begun selling lip oils, as they can be worn alone for a natural look, under lipsticks for smoother application, or overnight as a lip treatment.
When choosing a lip oil, look for:
Hyaluronic Acid: This humectant not only draws moisture into the lips for lasting hydration, but also naturally plumps the lips for a more pronounced pout.
Natural Oils: Oils like jojoba, rosehip, argan, and avocado oil penetrate the skin of the lips better than petroleum jelly, for long-lasting nourishment.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants, like vitamin E, provide additional protection to the delicate skin on and around the lips.
The Best Ingredients for Soft Lips
Lip care should prioritize hydration and moisture, with ingredients that nourish, soothe, and protect the delicate skin. Popular ingredients frequently found in lip care products include:
Shea Butter: Renowned for its deep moisturizing properties, shea butter provides lasting hydration and helps restore suppleness to the skin.
Jojoba Oil: Similar in composition to natural skin oils, jojoba oil offers excellent moisturization and is easily absorbed by all skin types.
Coconut Oil: This versatile oil not only imparts hydration but also contains fatty acids that support skin health and repair.
Hyaluronic Acid: Revered for its ability to attract and retain moisture, hyaluronic acid contributes to plump and well-hydrated lips.
Ceramides: Essential for maintaining the skin’s barrier function, ceramides help prevent moisture loss and enhance lip texture.
Vitamin E: An antioxidant with skin-nourishing properties, vitamin E aids in protecting lips from free radicals and supports skin repair.
Aloe Vera: Known for its soothing and healing effects, aloe vera can alleviate dryness and discomfort, contributing to overall lip health.
Natural Beeswax: Forms a protective layer on lips, sealing in moisture and shielding against external aggressors.
Glycerin: Attracts and retains moisture, promoting soft and supple lips.
Lanolin: Derived from sheep’s wool, lanolin offers intense moisturization and creates a protective barrier to prevent moisture loss.
Avocado Oil: Abundant in nutrients and fatty acids, avocado oil provides deep hydration and supports lip health.
Recommended Lip Care Products
Dior Addict Lip Glow Oil
Dior is what really brought the lip oil into the spotlight, and with good reason. The Dior Lip Glow Oil takes the spotlight with its infusion of cherry oil, a robust antioxidant that safeguards lips from environmental stressors, while also delivering exceptional hydration and bestowing a glossy lacquer finish that sidesteps any sticky or greasy residue. Unlike other lightweight lip oils that evaporate quickly, this formulation boasts a substantial yet non-greasy and non-sticky oil texture that creates a smoothing layer that contours the lips with an almost magnifying, mirror-like shine effect. The collection includes eight shades, spanning purples, pinks, and oranges which adapt to create a personalized and universally flattering hue based on your pH level.
Fenty Skin Cherry Treat Conditioning + Strengthening Lip Oil
Fenty Skin Cherry Treat Conditioning + Strengthening Lip Oil delivers instant and non-sticky moisture accompanied by a delightful cherry flavor and a subtly flattering cherry tint. It bolsters the lips’ moisture barrier, yielding a fuller appearance, while its antioxidant-infused formulation provides protection against environmental stressors. Beyond its immediate conditioning and softening attributes, this lip oil progressively smooths lip texture over time. The Triple Cherry Complex aims to nourish parched, chapped lips, through the integration of sweet cherry seed oil, a rich source of essential fatty acids for moisturization and nourishment, alongside Barbados Cherry (Acerola) & wild cherry extracts, acclaimed for their antioxidant potency that nurtures and revitalizes. Jojoba seed and rosehip oils maintain moisture, preserving sustained hydration. Furthermore, it’s vegan and cruelty-free.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
The Laneige Lip Sleep Mask combines the best qualities of a hydrating jelly and a nourishing cream, with an easy-to-use applicator that spreads smoothly and absorbs quickly. While designed for overnight use, the Lip Sleeping Mask can also be used during the day due to its rapid absorption. Key ingredients like its Berry Fruit Complex™ provide antioxidants, while coconut oil, shea butter, and murumuru seed butter offer nourishing moisture. Additionally, vitamin C helps protect lips from external environmental factors.
Crazy Rumors Vegan Lip Balm
Crazy Rumors offers 100% natural, vegan lip balms with diverse flavors and tints. The ingredients list is really impressive, foregoing petroleum completely and instead featuring deeply moisturizing ingredients like organic shea butter, macadamia seed oil, jojoba oil, and extra virgin olive oil. In addition, they incorporate natural emollients like candelilla wax to enhance sheen and protection, along with organic carnauba wax and non-GMO soy wax rather than non-vegan beeswax like other lip balms.
La Roche Posay Cicaplast Lip Hydration Balm
La Roche-Posay’s Cicaplast Lip Hydration Balm is an extension of the viral TikTok favorite Cicaplast Baume. This lip balm is specially formulated for dry to extra dry lips, delivering instant and enduring moisture that leaves lips feeling comfortable while maintaining a non-greasy texture. It’s fragrance-free, dermatologist tested, and is suitable for dry and sensitive skin. Key ingredients include Prebiotic Thermal Water from La Roche-Posay, France which is a natural antioxidant with a unique blend of minerals, trace elements, and high selenium content. Additionally, vitamin B5 (panthenol) soothes and moisturizes, while sustainably sourced shea butter from Burkina Faso restores the skin’s natural moisture barrier.