Dry lips are uncomfortable and let’s face it, unattractive – here’s how to care for your lips in winter…

Aside from the obvious discomfort and general unattractive appearance of dry lips, they can become downright painful when it reaches the point of cracking, splitting and flaking.

Here’s how to keep your lips moisturised and looking gorgeous all winter long.

Why do lips get dry?

Aside from dry air and cold temperatures, dry lips can be caused by a myriad of factors. Think illness, medication, sun, wind, lip licking and harsh cosmetics. If you can’t remove the cause of your dry lips, here are a few ways to prevent and treat the symptoms of dry lips.

Change your habits

Simple things like licking or biting your lips and breathing through your mouth can cause serious lip dryness. Actively work on these if they’re bad habits of yours and you’ll see an almost immediate improvement in your lips.

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Avoid harsh products

Some skincare and make-up products can be very drying – long wearing matte lipstick is known to dry out your lips, and skincare products with ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and high concentrations of alpha hydroxy acids are also drying. This is due to the lips only having a very thin oil layer to protect them from the elements.

If you use any products that contain those ingredients, make sure you don’t put them on your lips or cut them out of your skincare routine if possible.

Treat your skin

When you’re treating your face, you should include your lips in most skincare steps to ensure they’re healthy and moisturised. Although you should avoid harsh ingredients like the ones mentioned above, you should use gentle exfoliants, hydrating serums, moisturisers and SPF on your lips too.

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You should gently exfoliate your lips regularly. You can use a gentle facial exfoliator (either mechanical or chemical), a soft toothbrush with some petroleum jelly, or a face cloth to do so.

Create a barrier

Since the skin on our lips secretes very little oil, it’s vital to apply a barrier product to protect your skin from moisture loss. You can use a lip balm of your choice, or keep it simple and use plain old petroleum jelly – most lip balms seem to get the job done equally well, it’s just a matter of personal preference (although you can keep an eye out for ingredients like lanolin and shea butter if you’re after a more sophisticated formula).