Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Your Lips

Lips are often the first to show damage and chapping, due to the ultrathin layers of skin and their regular exposure to sun, wind, and cold. Food and environmental allergies may also be responsible for dry, chapped lips. If your lips have become sore, here are some smart tips to help get them back to their original soft, smooth state.
Don’t lick ’em. Licking your lips may make them feel better in the short term, but this will actually dry the skin out and make it more susceptible to chapping. Try everything possible to avoid doing it — and that includes skipping flavored lip balms, which may be so delicious, you’ll lick them!
Keep a great balm handy. Look for formulations that include calendula, cocoa butter, beeswax, almond oil, or sunflower oil, which can help protect the skin from the elements and hold moisture in.
Protect your lips when you’re outside. Apply a thick coat of balm to your lips whenever you expose them to the elements, If it’s sunny outside, use one that contains a sunscreen to help protect against further damage.
Avoid potential irritants. Skip spicy or citrusy foods, which can cause your lips to burn, and lipsticks and lip liners, which can dry them out. Some lip balms may even contain ingredients like menthol, which can irritate the skin.
Stay hydrated. Chapped lips generally occur in cold weather, when the air both inside and out is dry. Be sure you’re getting at least the recommended eight glasses of water, and consider running humidifiers in your home to help moisturize your lips from the outside.
Use a toothbrush or washcloth. Chapped lips usually peel and flake, making them look unsightly. Scrub the dry, flaky skin off gently with a soft toothbrush or damp washcloth, then apply a thick layer of balm or other lip treatment.
Try a natural treatment. Make your own moisturizer with a teaspoon each of glycerine, lemon juice, and castor oil. Apply the mixture to your lips and leave it on overnight. Aloe vera gel is also a great natural healer, and even simple cucumber slices can soothe and moisturize chapped lips.