Keeping Lips Kissable for Valentine’s Day

Having a romantic holiday like Valentine’s Day in the middle of winter isn’t great if you get chapped lips. Getting dental care with chapped lips is no picnic either, so let’s talk about ways you can avoid the chap!

Chapped lips are caused by dehydration. Lips have thin surface layers of skin so they dry out more easily than your face. You lose up to 10 times more moisture through your lips than through the rest of your face or body.

Dry winter air, dry indoor heat, wind and sun can all dehydrate your lips. While there isn’t much we can do about the elements there are things we can control to help keep our lips soft.

First, don’t lick your lips. When our lips feel dry our first impulse is to lick them but this only dries them out more. Additionally, saliva is acidic which will irritate lips even more. When lips become chapped we also have a tendency to pick at them. Leave the flakes alone! Picking at the already thin, damaged skin on the lips may cause them to bleed and become more painful. It also slows the healing process so you are doing more harm than good when you pick.

Protection For Your Lips

Lip balm provides a buffer between the elements and your delicate lips. Skin heals better when it is kept moist so choose an ointment or emollient balm rather than a waxy stick. The goal of using a lip balm is twofold: seal in moisture and get extra softening with beneficial oils. There are balms based on natural oils like shea butter or castor seed oil which are highly effective as are petrolatum based products. Make sure your lip balm also contains an SPF to protect against sun damage.

Lip balms that contain menthol, camphor or eucalyptus may actually dry your lips. Many lipsticks are also very drying.

Make sure you add your lip balm to your nightly ritual of brushing and flossing. Sealing in moisture while we are sleeping is very important, especially for those who sleep with their mouths open.

Happy Valentines Day from Dr. John Highsmith. Please contact our Clyde, NC office at 828-627-9282.

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