Its 2019 and challenges and hashtags have clearly taken the world by storm. #kyliejennerchallenge or #biglipchallenge but instead of putting all of our focus onto these passing phases, wouldn’t the #healthylipchallenge be more refreshing to go by?
Our lips can be beautiful in more ways than one if we just learn to look after them before even thinking of enhancing them, so I’ve been thinking of a few simple rules we could all follow to make sure our lips are healthy and always kissable!
How Lips Become Damaged
Our lovely lips definitely get put through their paces every day. Playing a balancing act between staying dry enough that you aren’t sporting the wet look 24/7 and staying hydrated enough that you aren’t left with cracked, and sore lips every time you wake up. The weather plays a huge part in the condition of your lips and their healthy state.
In winter as the cold starts to set in, the cold, dry and windy conditions react negatively with your lips, by causing an inflammation reaction which in turn causes loss of moisture. The outer layers on our lips are much thinner and more delicate than our skin which is why lack of hydration causes the redness and the ability to crack more easily.
In the summer months our lips are exposed to UV rays from the sun almost constantly and we have all heard warnings on the effects of the sun on our skin, as it can cause rapid ageing, dryness and wrinkles if we don’t protect it when we are outside. I would say lips are no different, but in fact they are! Lips contain very little melanin, so they become even more vulnerable as they are protected even less than the skin elsewhere on our body. The extreme result wouldn’t just end in dryness and a few wrinkles, it could result in sun burn if not protected well.
The thing with both extremes of summer and winter is it takes the moisture out of our lips and that can lead to the one tempting thing none of us should do… licking our lips! There are hundreds of reasons why this is bad for you, but the main reason is that it actually causes them to become even drier, as saliva contains certain enzymes that evaporate faster. But as our tongue is right there, in what feels like a well hydrated mouth, it can be an easy habit to fall into. Don’t be caught in this trap! There are thankfully other methods that will be much kinder to your lips these days and its about time you gave those lips a little bit more love and a little bit less saliva, don’t you think?
We have recently explored the effect of the elements on our eyelashes (Eyelash Conditioning is a thing) and have learned that while we take conditioning our hair and skin seriously, looking after other facial features, in this case our lips have been left to the back burner and not yet become a normal part of everyone’s routine. Lips conditioning luckily isn’t a lengthy process that you have to put time aside for, or even book a salon appointment for, so no excuses now.
The Tricks and Treats
The secret to healthy lips is always going to be youthful lips. Lips that are a light pink and smooth to the touch. When I say light pink lips, I mean they should have a healthy glow. Now we all have different tones, but as a rule, lips with a more blue, purple or even bruised tone show signs of damage that could mean you are lacking in certain vitamins or need more hydration. Healthy pink lips provide a good palette for you to work on when applying lipsticks or balms, so let’s figure out how to get there first.
The trick to having youthful lips is first to figure out what the problem is. If you are simply another victim to a cold winter, then you may not need to take excessive action. But if your diet, habits and lifestyle have contributed to sore, dark lips then it might be time to change something. Caffeine is definitely not known for its hydrating properties, although that first cup of coffee in the morning may be what sets us up for the day, if you are experiencing signs of dry lips, it may well be time to cut back. Switch up the coffee to a green tea instead, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing properties. Always remember though that the heat from these hot drinks is also another cause of mild damage to the outer layers of skin on the lips, so let the green tea cool down for a few minutes before rushing in for your morning fix.
Sun-damaged lips are easily preventable and in turn, treatable as long as you look for the right product to keep the moisture in. The best preventative measure is to use a balm with SPF specifically designed for lips. Regular sun creams and lotions will have the SPF your lips might need but they may have a lower protection than required in comparison to the rest of your skin. Lotions can also be quite oily and sit on your lips for long amounts of time which means if moisture can’t get out, it can’t get in either! So be careful when looking at the ingredients of sun screen to make sure they don’t contain agents that will dry out your skin. Your lips will only regret it later.
Vaseline or petroleum jelly is one of the preventative treats you can use on your lips and is a very cheap method of keeping your lips soft and smooth, as it creates a barrier between the skin on your lips and the elements they may face from day to day. By creating moisture and locking it in below the surface it can help speed up the process of repairing lines and cracks. The problem with this is that the lips can become really dependent on it and then you feel the need to apply it more often which is not as healthy as the lips do need to breathe too!
While petroleum jelly is great and has hundreds of uses, it is not really tailor made for our lips so it may not suit everybody and doesn’t contain the vitamins or ingredients that other serums and conditioners do to aid specifically target problematic areas.
Lip Conditioning Balms vs Natural Remedies
Some people might argue here that natural remedies go a long way. Afterall, lip conditioning balms and serums haven’t been around forever, and people seemed to get by before they were invented. While this could be true, the reason for the rise in certain conditioners is due to the current climate we live in. Factors such as air pollution, new foods and drinks, or even smoking can have a negative effect, so there is more need for these serums now and more than ever to counteract the damage that can be caused over time.
That being said, there are some things you could do at home to help your lips get smoother and full of life as opposed to full of cracks.
The first thing you can do is to exfoliate your lips – like the skin on our bodies needs a good scrub to get rid of dead skin and particles, our lips need that kind of attention too. People say you can use a toothbrush to gently rub away at any dry skin on your lips but be careful with this! As I have said before the skin on our lips is so much thinner than normal skin and will damage easily, not to mention sting so think of this as more like a gentle lip massage than rigorously scrubbing using sand paper!
In addition to the toothbrush or perhaps instead, you can use a damp wash cloth at is will be soft enough but still have the texture needed to rub away at the dry skin. To loosen up the skin beforehand, make sure you damp the lips or rub a light balm into them in advance and the dead particles will practically start to jump away from your lips!
In addition to or maybe instead of a balm at this stage you can use a home-made scrub of honey and sugar. The honey has soothing and smoothing properties while the sugar, or better yet, brown sugar has a grainy texture which helps with the exfoliation of the skin. The best way to apply this scrub is while the lips are slightly damp already from a lukewarm cloth and then to rub the mixture in circular motions for a couple of minutes. Then when its all washed off your lips should feel healthy and smooth. Just be careful not to eat the scrub, as tempting as it may be!
Another good scrub for the lips would include a cinnamon and honey mixture. In keeping with the properties of honey, by adding cinnamon to the mix, you are creating a non-harmful reaction to the skin and the blood vessels which in turn helps to plump up the lips and give you a more obvious pout! Well, it would be a shame to make sure your lips are healthy and not try to give them a boost at the same time.
There are probably thousands of these home-made scrubs you could come up with just by rummaging through your food cupboard and all the different ingredients make cook up a storm and give you the smoothest and pinkest lips you could ever want. So there are things you can do to make sure that whatever kind of scrub you come up with is going to be healthy and give you the soft lips you crave. Various fruits, oils, seeds and plant extracts will always be a bonus, especially for their vitamin content, soothing and inflammation repairing properties and sometimes anti-ageing miracles! So a lemon an honey scrub will help reduce redness to the lips over time, but a coconut oil will help with skin regeneration to keep you looking youthful. Its all a balancing game and if you fancy having a go at making up your own home-made lip scrub, just have a little dig into what properties will suit what you need.
If you decided a home-made lip scrub was not for you, then as I mentioned earlier, there are a variety of lip conditioning balms that put all the ingredients you need together in a little tube so you know that the science bit has already been done for you. All you need to do is make sure you apply it regularly to see results. With balms on the market now such as the Xlips EGF Intensive Care Lip Balm, you know you are being looked after and the formulas have been cleverly designed to target all problem areas when it comes to the lips. Combining EGF and various plant extracts along with hyaluronic acid, you are looking at the triple threat of the healthy lip world.
- Anti-ageing – Youthful lips that stay young with every use.
- Moisture – The plant butters and nutrients keep the lips nourished and the balm keeps the moisture locked in!
- Damage Repair – Prior damage fixed and lips health back to normal.
Serums and lip balms are also hugely convenient in this day and age and while they contain natural ingredients and essential vitamins that we all need, it would be rude not to, don’t you think?
Essential Vitamins for Healthy Lips
Everyone knows we need a diet of varied vitamins and minerals to keep ourselves healthy and active and make sure our bodies are doing what they should be. But vitamin intake is vital for healthy hair and skin and our lips are no different.
B Vitamins are what they require to stay youthful and protected and when it comes to our lips, is what is responsible for the turnover of collagen and cell re-building. Vitamin C is what is needed for protection against the sun and UV rays but also responsible for the glow and moisture in our lips. Any deficiency in these vitamins can also show up on our lips faster than any other part of our skin as they will be the first to dry out and start to look sore and chapped. Vitamin E is what we mostly get from eating fruits and vegetables and incorporating various oils, like olive oil and almond oil, so it really isn’t difficult to look after your skin and lips in this way as it can become part of your daily regimen.
When going for a lip balm or a lip repairing conditioner, I think it’s really important to check out the vitamins and extracts to make sure they are going to work for you and have the aim of giving you the healthiest, glowing lips every day.
Healthy Enhanced Lips
It is always great to prevent damage before it has even happened and in an ideal world everyone would be taking measures to ensure their lips were always healthy before the damage sets in. But sometimes we want something more and this can lead to even more self-care to make sure that any enhancements are looked after and always have that desired “Wow!” factor.
Lip enhancements and fillers are massively popular and while they gain widespread popularity, the bottom line should be keeping lips healthy while they go through certain changes to make the pout fuller or more pronounced. Again, preventative measures win hands down, but sometimes after additions that may not be so natural, it is only normal for you to have to take extra care to look after those beauties!
With some lip fillers, bruising, swelling and bleeding in the first instance can be quite common. This shouldn’t last too long and shouldn’t be a scary experience, but here is where the aftercare should be taken really seriously to ensure no side effects turn into infections and to keep the lips moist.
Now many lip enhancing serums and lip moisturising conditioners contain hyaluronic acid and this is a common choice for temporary lip fillers, so although the risk is relatively low, it is still there. Hyaluronic acid is already present in our bodies so although is a good alternative to collagen, it still helps the existing shape of our lips and attracts water so that’s where additional swelling and lumps and bumps come from!
The thing with fillers is it can dehydrate your lips, water is stuck under the surface or unable to get through. The importance and staying hydrated after dermal or temporary fillers cannot be emphasised enough. Especially for those who go back time and time again to have their lips done. Remember the process is unnatural to the skin and flesh, therefore the repair needs to be taken seriously so you end up with that enviable smile! Water, water and more water!
You may have just paid a nice little sum for those fillers, so it would be a shame to not look after them. But not only that, it would be a shame if you still had lips you weren’t happy with. So keep up with hydrating balms and ensuring vitamin intake doesn’t drop. Those moisturised lips will be ready for their debut in no time.
The Healthy Lip TAKEOVER!
When you see just how easy it is to keep your lips healthy, no matter the experience, whether you are natural or enhanced, it feels like there should be no excuse anymore. If you are one of those lucky people that doesn’t get affected so badly by the changing seasons, I envy you!
I cannot leave the house without my trusty lip Xlash Intensive Care Lip Balm whether rain or shine! Just as in winter, I tend to get drier skin on my face and have to reach for a moisturising conditioner to see me through the frosty season, in summer, I tend to go oil free and whilst keeping my skin hydrated, I am also aiming not to look like I moisturised with pure cooking oil! My lip balm matches what I need all year round and that is just perfectly convenient. All it takes is a little application each day and the moisture soaks right in and says locked in while I carry on with work or activities. So, I definitely follow my own rule of no excuses!
We all know our own bodies better than anyone, so I think if you suddenly start to suffer with dry or chapped lips having never been a sufferer before then it could be a good idea to recognise that the damage may be related to something else other than a bit of cold weather. Keep up with your vitamin intake, and stay hydrated, follow the steps for exfoliating your lips with a toothbrush or damp cloth and it can’t do any harm while you establish if there is an underlying factor. Lips can be a really good indicator so in effect, listen to what they are saying.
If you are anything like me, you want healthy lips and a little bit of a boost too, so remember healthy lips don’t have to be boring lips. Using a great balm overnight, means the work is done while you get to have a rest, which means the next day, your lips are ready to do business! Grab that lip plumping serum, go get your perfect shade of lipstick and get applying so you can feel as fantastic as your lips do. Just don’t forget to take off the make up before you go to bed and always keep in mind the new #healthylipchallenge! Are you up for it yet? I’ll be willing to bet your lips are!