Winter is a frigid and brutal time of the year but especially for your skin. The cold air, bitter winds, heated air indoors, low moisture levels, and numbness all contribute to making your skin dry and tight. Of all the areas of skin, the skin of the lips is often the most overlooked. It is also the one area that will show damage fastest. The cold weather can make our skin dry and itchy but it can lead to cracked and bleeding and painful lips. The lips are so badly affected by cold because they are in fact a highly specialized type of skin that is very thin and delicate – lips dry out up to ten times faster than other skin on the face so they require some additional care and attention to protect them. Winter lip care is just as important as putting on your jacket and earmuffs yet far too many people overlook them, which is why we here at Kouris M.D. Cosmetic Plastic Surgery wanted to give you some local skin care assistance with these handy winter lip care tips:
Tips For Better Lip Care
Here are some important winter lip care tips you should implement this season:
- Avoid licking your lips. It is natural to lick your lips to moisten them and it seems logical to do so, but you are actually doing more harm than good as it wicks more moisture out of your lips, can cause freezing of the upper skin cells in extreme cold, and puts enzymes from your saliva on them which is not beneficial either.
- Avoid scratching and picking at your lips when they are dry. It is annoying having loose dry skin on your lips but picking at it leads to sore and more pain than before and it also opens the door for infections to take hold. So, keep your hands off your lips! This is one of the hardest of the winter lip care tips for people to follow but it is one of the most important because just about everyone does this at some point during the long winter months.
- Treat cracks and sores as soon as possible. If you let cracks and sores go without care and treatment, they can become worse and possibly get infected. This leads to a lot more pain and difficulty with things like talking and eating, or it could even lead to the development of a cold sore.
- Use ointment-based lip balm. This will help create a protective barrier that locks the moisture in the skin cells and it all so help to soothe and heal cracks and sores. Look for healing ointments as well as lip care products that have sunscreen built in to protect against strong sun and reflective glare in winter which can compound lip dryness.
- Avoid lip balms and other products that use camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol. They may feel good at first with their cool tingling sensations but they will actually dry out the skin faster and make the problem worse in the long run. A few hours after applying it your lips will feel dry and sore so you put on more, a few hours later you reapply and the vicious cycle continues. Eventually, our lips get so dry they crack and bleed or your lips begin to have a reaction to so much camphor, eucalyptus, or menthol.
- At night, apply a good moistening lip balm before bed. Many people are mouth breathers, especially in the winter when sinus congestion and head cold are more common. All night sleeping with mouth open can really dry out the lips and exasperate the dry and painful condition. Also, consider setting up a humidifier in the bedroom at night to combat the hot dry air of a heated home which will speed up the drying out process.
We have been offering local skin care assistance to the area for years and every winter we see many of our patients complaining of dry, chapped, painful lips. These tips will help you have a fun and pain-free holiday season. If you need more assistance or have questions about skin care, in general, this season call us today to Kouris M.D. Cosmetic Plastic Surgery and let us show you how easy it can be to implement these winter lip care steps. Your lips will thank you!