So winter is upon us yet again, and for those who have a dedicated skincare routine that changes with the seasons, have you taken time to look after your lips?

This is an area that seems to be easily neglected.

So, a quick introduction to lips. They are one of the few organs in our bodies that do not contain sebaceous glands on the outside but there are tiny white bumps inside your lips called Fordyce spots. These are the only oil-producing glands for the lips. As there are no sebaceous glands on the outer border, they are prone to getting cracked and chapped.

Factors such as ageing, sun exposure and smoking will accelerate the thinning, loss of collagen and elastin in the lips which can lead to cracks and fissures.

As we age, our lips lose fullness and shape with ‘thinner lips’ being the main concern of women getting older. This is also due to the resorption of the skeletal frame -something that we cannot prevent as we age.

So how do we keep our lips in the best condition to slow down these changes whilst maintaining healthy lips?

Nutrition plays a key role in keeping your lips healthy.

Iron is important in oxygen transportation as well as inflammation regulation. Deficiency in this mineral can lead to pale skin, anaemia, brittle nails, fatigue and angular cheilitis.

This is a painful condition at the corners of the mouth which can lead to fissures, cracks and infections in this area if not prevented. Mouth opening can be painful and lead to recurrent cracking when there are temperature changes.

Zinc is an essential mineral and deficiency can lead to impairment of skin health, immune function, reproductive health, growth and development. It can also cause chapped lips, as well as dryness, irritation and inflammation on the sides of the mouth.

B vitamins- these are essential for overall general well-being but in particular Vitamin B3 ( niacin). Deficiency of this can lead to dry, cracked lips or tongue and a red swollen mouth.

A well-balanced diet that includes dark green leafy vegetables and fruit helps to keep all your mucous membranes and body healthy.

Apart from keeping a healthy, well-balanced diet, how else can we prevent/reduce dry chapped cracked lips?

Harsh environments such as cold weather evoke an inflammatory response in the lips. This can lead to moisture loss and cell damage which can lead them to become dry and chapped.

Creating an artificial barrier using a lip-type balm will help protect your lips from the elements.

So how does keeping your lips hydrated help reduce the risk of cold sores in harsh weather?

When our lips become dehydrated, they can become scaly/fissured and can look swollen. These scaly changes can affect the lips and extend into the skin below the lips.

Lips that are well hydrated (drinking lots of water will help!) are less likely to have cracks/ fissures. This can reduce the risk of cold sore virus transmission.

Of course, seasonal variations and sudden temperature changes can make lips inflamed and dry. It is essential to wear a lip treatment that contains an SPF especially when exposed to the sun for example, when skiing or on a cold winter day with sun and wind.

Sudden temperatures from cold to warm can increase the risk of our lips becoming inflamed, dry and chapped too. It is so important to regularly apply a lip treatment to counteract these changes.
It is essential not to lick your lips and pick off any dry lip skin. This can lead to cracks and increase the risk of any infections.

Saliva is not moisturising as the enzymes in saliva help to break down your food so licking your lips can make them more dry!

Drink lots of water. The first sign of being dehydrated is being thirsty, then parched and then your whole mouth becomes dry. Drinking about 2-3 litres of water daily will help combat this.

So what products help prevent these sore painful lips, whilst keeping them moisturised?

We recommend Ormedic Lip Enhancement Complex – full of peptides, avocado oil and Vitamin E this delicious lip balm will soothe the driest of lips.

Can be used alone or under lipstick. Amazing when applied at bedtime and lips are still soft and not dry in the morning.

Another firm favourite is the IMAGE MD Restoring Lip Enhancer which contains that all important SPF15 and is also water resistant for 40 mins, this is a game changer lip product for everyday outdoor wear.

We recommend this product to all our patients post dermal lip filler, if going skiing, or those that generally complain of dry lips whilst they are constantly applying lip balm, which isn’t great as they do not allow dead skin cells to come to the surface to naturally exfoliate leading to more dry lips!

Apply these recommended products before you feel your lips getting dry. Obviously, once lips start cracking, everyone reaches for the lip balm. But if you take the necessary steps to apply before going outdoors in the cold, this will help prevent chapping at all.

Sunscreen is a must as this decreases the risk of any oral cancer as well as other conditions such as windburn, snowburn or sunburn. It will also help prevent premature ageing of the lips.

#lipcare #winterskin #winterskinliptips

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