Life

Five tips for keeping your lips healthy and hydrated during the winter months

If your lips aren't producing enough oil naturally in the winter, fake it until you make it by using a good quality lip balm

WHY do our lips suffer more during the cold months than the rest of the year?

"Winter is a real trigger for dry skin," says Dr Emma Wedgeworth, dermatologist and skincare expert for Blistex. "The drop in temperature alongside a low UV index and low humidity causes a reduction in the hydration levels of the skin and causes our skin barrier to become more fragile. This is compounded by indoor heating, which further dehydrates our skin.

"Lips are very vulnerable to dehydration; they lack oil-producing glands and the outer layer of skin that is responsible for holding in water is much thinner than elsewhere.

"These structural nuances, combined with constant exposure to the elements and to potential irritants like saliva and salty foods mean the lips are at real risk of drying out."

Here are Dr Wedgeworth's five tips for healthy lips:

1. Don't lick your lips: "Saliva is very alkaline, whereas our skin is naturally acidic. This means saliva can act as a potent irritant to the skin. The act of licking also removes the natural oil layer from the skin."

2. Choose cosmetics carefully: "Lip cosmetics are the most common cause of allergic reactions to the lips. If you are using lipsticks or glosses, choose a nourishing formula, which won't dry your lips out."

3. Be careful with skincare: "If you are using active skincare products like acid toners or retinols, your lips will be very prone to drying out. Avoid the lip area altogether and apply a hydrating lip product before you use your active skincare over the rest of the face."

4. Rehydrate regularly: "If your lips aren't producing enough oil naturally in the winter, fake it until you make it. Using a carefully chosen lip balm will replenish the lipids and compensate for the loss of moisture. Reapply regularly throughout the day. Blistex Intensive Moisturiser (£2.69, Boots) contains shea butter and glycerin to boost the natural moisturising factors in lips – and allantoin is super soothing."

5. Don't pick your lips: "It's very common for people to pick off those pesky flakes that develop on the lips. However, this can be damaging for the skin, causing a cycle of bleeding and flaking."

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