How to

17 November 2016

Lip Care: How to Handle Winter

With winter just around the corner, unhealthy lips are a real concern. The change in environmental conditions during winter takes a lot away from your lips. Cold weather and harsh winds are damaging to the lip skin, causing dryness, cracking and chapping. If left alone, chapped lips can worsen to the point of bleeding and severe chapping. People tend to forget that our lips need a special kind of looking after just as our skin does in the cold months. Flakiness, pain and irritation are no fun to deal with and won’t get you any closer to a fabled winter romance. Implementing a few changes to your skin care regimen will take you one step closer to lush lips despite the cold.

Lips are said to be the most sensitive part of the body; however, as everyone is different and may feel more sensitivity on other body parts, this does not apply to all. Touch receptors – sensory neurons located in the skin that respond to stimulation – are found all over the body. Heightened sense of touch is linked to large concentrations of receptors. There are many touch receptors located in the lips and fingertips, areas ranked with high concentrations of receptor cells. Unlike the rest of your skin, the lips have no oil or sweat glands.

Treat the Body

Prep for each day with a healthy dose of water first thing in the morning as doing so helps to get a groggy body going. Hydrate daily by imbibing sufficient amounts of water and water-rich produce will ensure the skin is as hydrated as possible.

Similarly, you can help nourish the skin by keeping up on vitamin B complex – B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. This conglomerate of vitamins does no small feat; it is responsible for converting food into fuel and keeping the body running. Specifically, vitamin B5 and B7 promotes healthy skin. Looking to add these vitamins through your diet? Add avocados, yogurt, eggs, meat, and legumes for B5 and barley, liver, yeast, pork, chicken, fish, potatoes, cauliflower, egg yolks, and nuts for B7. Deficient levels of B2 and B6 can cause chapping and cracks along the side of the mouth. Add these to your diet with almonds, wild rice, milk, yogurt, eggs, Brussels sprouts, spinach, and soybeans for B2 and chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, lentils, sunflower seeds, cheese, brown rice, and carrots for B6.

In the winter, the air can become quite dry. If you’re prone to excessive dryness even at home, you might want to consider investing in a humidifier. Doing so allows you to control the humidity level in your home. This will surround you with sufficient moisture regardless of the outer cold.


Have a lip balm with at least SPF 15 for use outdoors and carry a cloth or scarf to protect your face from unbridled cold air. In choosing a lip balm, look for naturally moisturising ingredients, like Shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil, beeswax, aloe-vera, and vitamins E/A/D. It’s best to stick to lip balms even if lipstick is your item of choice. Lipstick can darken and dry the lips, especially in winter. In fact, wearing lipstick daily can cause aging of the sensitive lip skin so it’s best to save it for special occasions. Instead, choose a coloured lip balm or, if you must, a lipstick with moisturiser and SPF protection.

Treat the Skin

Those fiddly flakes of skin that just won’t come off can be a real annoyance. To minimise them, rub your lips gently while in the shower or bath and the dead skin will come off naturally. Use a natural exfoliator if you fancy something with a bit more punch. A soft toothbrush works too, just rub your lips with the brush once you’ve finished your teeth to get off any dry skin. Just be sure to follow exfoliation with a moisturising lip balm. Once treated, your lips will appear fresh. Patting a bit of honey on the lips before bed will give you uniquely moisturised skin in the morning. That’s because honey conditions the skin with its own blend of enzymes, moisturisers, and nutrients. It’s also great for laying flakiness and dryness to rest. After treating the lips with honey for the night, be sure to gently scrub it off in the morning, revealing seemingly-new skin.

  • Lip products with alcohol, retinol, menthol, or an abundance of chemicals.
  • Excessive amounts of alcohol.
  • Constantly wearing lipstick or not removing it before bed.
  • Skimping on water (stay hydrated).
  • Bad lip habits: licking, touching, biting.
  • Unnecessary exposure to the harsh cold.
  • Smoking accelerates lip chapping.

Try Me
  • True North Protective Lip Balm: SPF 50 is nothing to scoff at. This lip treatment is targeted towards those engaging in winter sports encouraging cell renewal (vitamins A and E) to fight chapped lips. Due to the high SPF, it does go on slightly white.
  • Malin + Goetz Lip Moisturizer: This thick lip gel contains fatty acid to give long-lasting protection. The absorbent formula won’t clog pores and is quickly drunk up by dry skin. An added bonus, it’s free of colours and fragrances.
  • Burt’s Bees Ultra Conditioning Lip Balm: A creamier balm, this formula is chock-full of good things like kokum, and Shea and cocoa butters. It has no petroleum (if you aren’t sure why that’s good, have a quick read). The balm has been clinically proven to moisturise lips for 4 hours.
  • Dr Bronner’s Naked Organic Lip Balm: Dr Bronner is a brand known for abstaining from chemicals in order to stay as natural as possible. Their lip balm follows through as well, made from beeswax, vitamin E, avocado oil, and jojoba oil.
  • Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant: Dermatologists loved this balm’s ability to heal skin and form a protective layer, according to Belfast Telegraph. Key ingredients – petrolatum, lanolin, and beeswax – are responsible for its healing properties. 

Jacqui Litvan

Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver).