Oral health isn't just about the care of our teeth and gums. Our lips also play a role in our oral health and, as most cold-weather states know, they take quite a beating in the wintertime. Between the cold air outside and the dry air inside, we lose a lot of moisture in our skin, especially our lips.
Luckily, you aren’t doomed to an eternity of dry, cracked wintertime lips. Here is how to keep them soft and healthy all year round.
Don’t lick your lips
It may be tempting to lick your dry lips to give them some moisture. But dermatologists across the board agree this is not a good idea. The winter air will sap up the moisture on your lips, which will cause an endless cycle of temporary relief and dry skin. What’s more, your lips create a protective barrier against the elements, and by licking it away, you are raising your risk of chapped, dry lips.
Use a non-irritating lip balm
The trick here is to avoid products that have “tingling” ingredients such as camphor, eucalyptus or menthol. While the cooling effect they leave may feel good at first, it can irritate your lips in the long run, thus making them drier. Instead, look for balms with soothing ingredients like mineral oil, shea butter and petroleum.
Try a humidifier
These mighty machines have one job and one job only: add moisture to the air. And with our heaters constantly running in the colder months, this is a great investment to consider making. By contributing additional moisture into the air, a humidifier can help make our lips less dry. In addition, a humidifier can also reduce infections in the air, provide allergy relief, improve sleep and even help your houseplants.
Ever notice how one of the most popular pieces of medical advice is to drink more water? Well, guess what? The same adage also applies to healthier lips. Drinking water prevents dehydration and has a multitude of positive effects on the body, including on your lips. So, make sure you are drinking plenty of water to combat the cold, dry air.
The bottom line: Chapped, dry lips in the winter aren’t fun for anybody, but you can keep them healthy with a good, non-irritating lip balm. Consider a humidifier to help add moisture to the dry air of your home. Don’t lick your lips and make sure you get plenty of water to replenish moisture.