Summer is a fantastic time of year, isn’t it; Early morning hikes under the blue sky, lazy afternoon naps in the garden and late evenings soaking up the last rays of the sunshine just does something for me that winter cannot compete with. But this summer is a little different and a new normal is social distancing from others, remembering to take my mask out with me and thinking about staying fit and healthy during a global pandemic.
It can be a really weird time for a lot of people and our focuses have changed with new priorities taking charge of the way we live our lives. But there are always going to be times where we want to look our best as well as feel our best, so we can be forgiven for wanting to bring our old normal into today’s life. As long as we are doing it healthily and without risk, then it is a good thing to bring out the best in ourselves.
It is so important now more than ever to have hygiene and health at the forefront of our activities and that includes our beauty routines, as old makeup brushes could be hosting a whole world of bad bacteria and old makeup (especially if you’ve ever shared it) could prove to be harmful to your health. So, have a good clear out and try to start afresh with new kit that will see you through the summer.
One thing that has been on my mind lately is my lips. It might seem like the last thing I should be thinking about but actually, if there is one part of our body that we should be keeping clean and sanitised apart from our hands, its is our lips. They can spread bacteria and viruses so easily and can tell us a lot about our own health just by looking at them or feeling them.
We all know our own bodies better than anyone else, so you can always tell when something this wrong, but this summer we need to not wait until something is wrong to fix it and take some pre-emptive action to keep our lips clean and clear all day, every day. Then sure, once their health is taken care of, it would be a shame not to flaunt them!
Noticing Signs of Unhealthy Lips
When our lips are unhealthy they tend to tell us with quite obvious symptoms, but we don’t always listen. We should! Having lips that have seen better days is not just unsightly, its painful and not the easiest to fix, especially if you are away from home or on holiday, so it’s best to keep them healthy to start with or react to the signs before they get any worse.
Sign 1 – Dry and Chapped Lips
The skin on your lips will be feeling less than smooth and may feel like it could peel in parts if you have dry, chapped lips. This is usually down to dehydration and means that instead of constantly applying lip balm to moisten them, you should be drinking more water.
Dry lips Is usually a temporary thing and is something you might notice on a particularly hot day or even in colder climates where the air is quite dry. This sign is an easy fix as long as you do it right, so to restore them to their smooth self, stay away from sugary drinks or salty foods for a bit and drink some water instead.
Dry lips are a bit of a nuisance, but it can also mean there is more room and raw skin to collect bacteria that will cause the condition to get worse over time. The main thing to remember is do not lick your lips when they are feeling dry. In fact, just don’t do this at all! Saliva may give your lips a temporary feeling of relief, but it is just that – temporary. It won’t do you any favours, so avoid this at all costs.
Sign 2 – Discoloured Lips
The skin on our lips is a lot more delicate and thinner than the rest of our faces and this makes them more susceptible to damage. It doesn’t help that we use them to talk, eat and drink – among other things – so they can easily change in health and appearance.
As the tissue is so much thinner, it allows the blood vessels below to show through giving our lips their unmistakable hue in comparison to the everywhere else on our bodies. Lighter skin tends to mean the lips appear more transparent so any discolouration will be an obvious white or blueish purple colour. On darker skin, discolouration of the lips means darker purples toward the outer corners.
Discoloured lips can mean a range of things, from staining due to certain foods or drinks, to dehydration and even more serious underlying health conditions. But for the most part it due to acute illnesses such as colds and feeling run down to deficiencies in iron and other vitamins and minerals.
If you were to notice a sudden change in your lips that concerned you, the best thing to do is seek medical advice, but if you have had a lifestyle change that has caused the discolouration then keep up with plenty of fluids and vitamins and try to stay clear of dehydrating foods and drinks, such as alcohol.
Sign 3 – Sore Lips
Sore lips are really common and usually as a result of external factors such as too much saliva from licking them or spending too much time in the sun without any protection or sunscreen on your lips. Sun burnt lips are not a fun thing to go through so my best advice is to cream up before heading out on any day, especially in summer.
When this happens, petroleum jelly won’t be the best thing for them, especially is you are still out in the sun as it will only encourage them to burn more. Try using a sunscreen designed for your lips before going out and keeping it topped up regularly throughout the day. Soothe them later on with a cool compress and some repairing lip balm that is not scented or flavoured to get the best out of the sun without compromising the health of your lips.
Repairing your Lips
No one is perfect, and it isn’t easy to keep up with every little thing on our bodies all the time, so there definitely will be times where your lips feel a little under the weather and maybe look a bit worse for wear. Its ok, as long as you know how to look after them and how to repair them to prevent more damage and unwanted soreness.
A lot of moisture from breath is collected underneath a mask and stays there for as long as the mask is there, which may not do anything bad to start with, but you may start to notice skin drying out, lips feeling a little dry and sore and even breakouts in areas the mask covers.
Its also hard to wear lip balm under a mask, as that will just cause stickiness and help the fabric particles to stick to your mask, so the best thing to do is use a light repair balm that soaks into the lips and doesn’t leave any residue or oily components that can ruin your mask or cause harm to your lips.
If you find yourself with dry lips, it is easier than most things to fix and just requires a little bit more attention than usual. A lot of people swear by petroleum jelly or Vaseline to moisten their lips but the issue with this is they kind of get used to the product and become increasingly dry when it has worn or rubbed off. Also, other lips balms are scented and flavoured making it almost an irresistible thing to avoid licking them.
Lips balms tend to be quite sticky, so they lock in moisture, but this means it comes off easier, so a care and repair lip balm is the way to go when you are looking to repair damaged lips. Look at an Intensive Care Lip Balm like the product from Xlash which is an EGF balm (epidermal growth factor) that has a concentrated formula to act as a tight barrier while it repairs the skin on the lips.
This balm is best used at night, but can be used throughout the day if needed, although a little amount should be enough to do the trick. Miracles don’t usually happen overnight, but with an intensive care lip balm that hasn’t been designed for constant use, it packs a punch to make your lips feels softer the within hours. It doesn’t mean the damage is fully repaired underneath the surface though so it should be a routine to apply it to keep the lips in great condition.
Dressing Up your Lips
Even though your lips are repaired, they still need attention to keep them feeling good, but that doesn’t mean they can’t look good too. If your lips are in a current state of repair, it is best not to think about injections or enhancements without medical advice first. Your lips have to be in a healthy state to do any invasive treatments or it won’t pay off in the long run. The tip is to keep them hydrated, clean and moisturised to get the best out of them.
Most lip sticks, lips stains and colours these days have been designed with your lips in mind and provide moisture while you’re wearing them, but some long-lasting lip colours tend to really lock everything in by providing a demi-permanent barrier that keeps the colour on for longer.
Convenient as they may be, they can cause a lot of damage just by trying to remove them, especially if you have to scrub your lips to get the colour off. Try to use a soft liner and lip stick that is easily cleansable and leaves your lips feeling silky smooth. At the end of the day, make sure you are cleansing with gentle motions and some warm water, try not to use any harsh products that cause dryness and remember to moisturise with your intensive care lip balm once you are done. If needs be, you can exfoliate your lips with a cloth or flannel and some warm water or make a homemade scrub using honey and brown sugar to get any extra flaky skin off and leave your lips looking fantastic. Don’t neglect your lips this summer, keep them out of the sun, moisturised and clean and you’re onto a winner.