Lip balms have become such a prevalent part of our lives, so much so I’m sure some of us (cough cough, me) have had moments of panic upon realising you’d had left the house without one. We’re going to dive into some habits which could be damaging for your lip health, how to repair them, and why your trusty lip balm might be doing more harm than good…
Unlike our facial skin, lips don’t have pores (could you imagine…) and so are unable to produce oils to keep hydrated. The skin over our lips is also much thinner, impartial to more potential damage. Aside from cold, dry climates, there are a couple things you may not realise are affecting the moisturisation of your lips.
Licking your lips. Our saliva is a strong substance, designed to break down food, so when it evaporates off your lips, it takes your natural moisture with it. A combination of this habit, and excessively breathing through your mouth opposed to your nose, can cause windburn (think the feeling of sunburn lips). Crazy, right?
Consuming certain drinks. Beverages such as coffee, or alcohol, are particularly drying, and could be affecting the natural moisture of your lips. An easy fix? Try a (reusable) straw. If your lips are feeling sensitive, now might be the time to avoid salty or spicy foods as well.
Dehydration. Ever feel like ‘drink more water’ is the advice people give to solve all of your problems? Well, water may not be able to answer your burning questions about life, but it does improve all sorts of functions in your body which can then benefit you in all sorts of quandaries, especially keeping your lips hydrated.
Becoming addicted to your lip balm. Whilst lip balms can be soothing and moisturising, their primary function is to make sure you’re protected from moisture loss. That is why you’ll see ingredients like petroleum or beeswax, which have a thicker viscosity and feel nice and smooth on top of your lips. The problem arises when your lips don’t have enough moisture to begin with, and your lip balm is now blocking moisture from absorbing into the skin. Our tip, make sure your lips are aptly moisturised first, and stick to one or two applications of your lip balm per day.
So what can you do to make sure your lips are healthy and happy?
Never touch your lips with unwashed hands. This seems like an obvious step (especially right now), but it’s important to reduce the chance of unwanted bacteria getting onto your lips, as this can cause infections or exacerbate pre-existing discomfort. If you use a product which requires applying with a finger, always wash your hands first, or try using a lip brush which you regularly clean instead. If you’re using a rollerball applicator, we’d also recommend wiping it clean every so often.
Use SPF on your lips. It’s just as important to make sure your lips are protected, as it is the rest of your face! There are options out there from SPF factor 15 to 50, depending on your desired coverage, and we’d always recommend an SPF 30 as a minimum. Remember, sun and UV damage is a primary factor in signs of ageing!
Exfoliate. If you read our guide to a DIY facial, you’ll know we value a lip scrub just as much as anyone. Whether you decide to make do with various pantry ingredients, or a premade product, routinely removing dead skin from your lips is a great idea to promote repair, improve circulation, and allow any lip products to be more easily absorbed for best function.
Use a lip primer with makeup. You wouldn’t apply makeup to your face without a primer first, so why not the same with your lips? Lip gloss and lipstick can work as good barriers for keeping moisture in, but like our lip balms they aren’t helping you in the hydration department. If you read our blog about makeup prep, you’ll know our Liquorice Lip Oil works great as a lip gloss alternative, and also hydrates and plumps your lips under other products!
Switch out your lip balm for a lip oil. Whilst you might find it strange to use a lip product which absorbs into your lips rather than giving you that smooth coating, it may serve you better in the long run. A lip oil can take a little getting used to, especially if you’re used to petroleum-based products because it absorbs into the lips rather than just sitting on top. But trust us, an oil reaps many more benefits, so it’s worth it! Our Liquorice Lip Oil, uses ingredients like prickly pear, liquorice and jojoba oil to deeply hydrate your lips, promote quick repair, boost collagen, and give you naturally plumped lips to die for. And if you store yours in the fridge like we do at Q+A, red and sore lips get a cooling sensation that will instantly improve the discomfort. Not to mention it’s 100% natural. And to address one of our most commonly asked questions about this product.. no, it does not taste like liquorice.
Hopefully, these tips will help you achieve your best lips yet!
Until next time,
Amy @ Team Q+A
Online community coordinator at Q+A and lip oil addict