When it comes to appearances, a toned body and a great outfit can go a long way. But your lips are right there in the center of your face. This puts them fairly high up on the priority list. Healthy lips can be the focal point for the rest of your look, enticing a kiss, presenting a smile, frown or even smirk. Lips define your expressions. They deserve a lotta love.
Healthy Lips 101
The skin on your lips is thinner than on other parts of your body. This makes it easier for them to succumb to cracking and chapping. Unlike other skin areas, lips have less oil glands. They cannot produce sun-filtering melatonin to use as protection against ultraviolet rays.
Chapped lips are most common in the winter when, cold dry air dehydrates the skin. But this condition can occur any time the air is dry, sun is glaring or wind is blowing. If left untreated, simple chapped lips could turn to splitting, bleeding lips or cold sores. Not only are these conditions unattractive, they are also uncomfortable.
Ways to keep those lips health
1. Stay hydrated
Lip health starts from the inside out. Staying hydrated by drinking adequate water has countless health benefits. One of these is the encouragement of moist, soft lips. Just as your skin needs to be hydrated both internally and topically, so do your lips. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your skin looking and feeling great. Dehydrated skin is more likely to show signs of wrinkles. No one wants that.
2. No licking, smacking or biting
Again, your lips are delicate and do not have any natural protection. Licking your lips may feel like a fast and efficient way to restore moisture, but when saliva evaporates it will leave lips drier. Saliva contains harsh enzymes that are not meant for skin conditioning. Many people have the nervous habit of biting their lip. This mannerism is also used as a method of expression. Try to keep it to a minimum and never bite on lips that are already chapped or flaking.
3. Apply lip balm
This may seem like a no brainer. Most lip balms are made with ingredients specifically intended to moisten and protect lips. Lip balm is easily stored in a purse or pocket, so there is little excuse to not have one close by. Ingredients like beeswax, shea butter and others are specifically designed to moisturize and provide a protective layer over the lips. Achieving healthy lips is a full time job, both day and night. Lip balm can be a crucial addition to your lip care routine.
4. Humidify your environment
It may seem excessive for healthy lips alone, but humidifying the air in your environment can have many overall health benefits. Humidifiers can help keep your nasal passages and throat moist, which reduces coughing and sneezing. Bacteria is also shown to travel less in moist air.
Many people are known to breathe out of their mouths when sleeping. This has a huge effect in zapping the moisture from your lips. Humidifiers not only moisten the lips, but have been shown to reduce snoring in some cases. That seems like a nice added bonus.
Yes, your lips are skin and they need a good scrubbing every once in awhile to remove dead cells. One way to exfoliate your lips is to use a sugar scrub. Not only does it work into all the little crevices of your lips, sugar is also a natural humectant. Sugar draws moisture from the environment to the skin. Scrubbing once or twice a week should keep lips nice and smooth.
Sun damage is no joke. The media likes to threaten risks of cancer for a lot of things, but in the case of skin it is very real. It is not uncommon for skin cancer to appear on the lips if left unprotected. Recent statistics show that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. Ninety percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Lips can also get burned just like other areas of skin.
7. Remove Lipstick
Your lips also need to breathe a little. This is especially true when it comes to matte lipsticks that often have no moisturizing properties. Wash it off. You may even consider using your sugar scrub to help clean in between the creases. For those super stubborn long-lasting lipsticks, tricks such as applying a layer of lip balm or coconut oil may help to loosen the pigment before wiping it with a paper towel. Give your lips a break before re-applying lip balm or gloss.
What your natural lip color says about your health
Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine believe that lips are the window to your health. The natural color of your lips indicates various health concerns.
- Pale Pink, White or Grey – Possible anemia or lowered body temperature and circulation.
- Bright Red – Paired with symptoms of bad breath and food cravings, this could mean compromised liver and spleen function.
- Purple or Green Tint- Heart or respiratory issues may be indicated.
- Dark Red to Black- The digestive system may be stressed and overloaded. A cleanse may be necessary to restore balance.
- Pink or Rosey – These colors indicate health
Healthy lips mean a healthy life
Keeping your lips healthy is not just for aesthetics, although they can make you look significantly younger. Making healthy lips a priority in your skin care and overall health routine, could be the detail you have been missing.