The skin of our lips has a different structure than our regular skin. It is thinner than the skin on the other parts of our body, which is why it cracks and chaps quite often, thereby demanding extra care and attention.
In this article, we briefly discuss various ways you can take care of your delicate lips.
- 1 Need for Lip Care
- 2 Common Lip Problems and their Causes
- 3 Steps to Add to your Regular Lip Care Routine
- 4 DIY Hydrating Lip Mask
- 5 How to Make DIY Exfoliating Lip Scrubs?
- 5.1 DIY Honey Lavender Lip Scrub
- 5.2 DIY Sea Salt and Rosemary Lip Scrub
- 5.3 DIY Peppermint Lip Scrub
- 5.4 DIY Vanilla Lip Scrub
- 6 Tips and Tricks to Prevent and Treat Lip Wrinkles
- 7 Tips for Treating Darkened Lips
- 8 Lip Augmentation Vs. Lip Fillers
- 9 Final Word
Need for Lip Care
Our lips constitute a lesser number of oil glands that help keep the lips moist. Unlike the rest of our body, our lips do not have microscopic sebaceous glands that open into hair follicles producing oils that keep our skin soft.
Our lips do not have any virtual protection as it is unable to create the sun-filtering melanin. The winter season’s dry air dehydrates our skin and causes chapped lips. However, the winter season isn’t the only time our lips struggle as various other factors like sun, wind, and dry air contribute to dehydration of the lips.
There’s a common misconception that licking the lips can help keep them moisturized. But the truth is, it makes the lips drier than before. Another side effect of licking the lips is the building up of yeast that causes inflammation at the edges of the lips. This condition is known as angular cheilitis.
Lip balms can offer a quick remedy for dry lips. They are usually made of waxes and oils, while some lip balms also have menthol and camphor in their ingredients which has a soothing effect on the lip’s stinging.
Furthermore, aloe vera-based lip balms heal the lips faster. In addition, certain lip balms act like sun protection creams as they carry UVA protection ingredients like titanium dioxide or avobenzone.
Common Lip Problems and their Causes
Lipstick bleeding happens due to the loss of collagen and tissue elasticity in the skin around the mouth. Aging and aggravated smoking can cause skin bleeding. You can solve it in the initial stages by using a waxy lip liner to outline the lips.
You can also take a collagen injection to fill the cracks to solve the issue in the long term. However, such injections can put a hole in your wallet as they are pretty expensive.
Chapping of lips is not specific to winters as it can happen during any season. However, winter months usually have low humidity in the air, which is a significant cause of chapped lips. Strong heat from summer sun exposure also damages the lips.
Dehydration causes the lips to dry, thereby resulting in chapping. A lip balm with UVA protection and Vitamins E, C, or A can effectively treat it. When applying the lip balm, spread it widely so that it overlaps the corners of the lips.
Splitting refers to cracks that occur when you sleep in dry air. Split lips mostly happen due to cheilitis which causes lip inflammation. Splitting has various other determinants such as weather, vitamin intake, allergy, or hydration.
Using a humidifier to increase the moisture in the air and applying a moisturizing lip balm before sleeping can help prevent splitting.
Steps to Add to your Regular Lip Care Routine
It’s ironic how lips are often ignored when it comes to self-care when it is one of the few things people notice first when they look at you.
Healthy, fresh, and radiant lips enhance your looks multi-folds and make you look younger, but dry skin, chapped lips, and dead skin on your lips have an opposite effect on how your face looks.
Here are few measures you need to take for an effective lip care routine:
Drinking water has numerous benefits on your body, and healthy lips and skin are two of them. Drinking water regularly and frequently should be a priority. Our lips act like a sponge, so they look fuller whenever they are highly moisturized with water. On the other hand, if they do not get enough water, they shrink and shrivel.
However, licking your lips frequently does not help in keeping them moisturized. Instead, it has an inverse effect as saliva makes the lips drier due to the enzymes it constitutes.
Licking your lips does provide some temporary relief from dryness; however, they end up more dehydrated than before in a minute or so as water evaporates.
These enzymes can be harsh on your delicate lips. Therefore, using hydrating lip products twice or thrice a day can boost your lip health.
Drinks like soda, soft drinks, coffee, or sweet juices do not help in hydration as these drinks contain sugar or caffeine, which causes dehydration.
You should drink at least 2 liters of water per day. However, if the day is highly humid and hot, try increasing your water consumption to 3-4 liters.
Exfoliating your lips is necessary to make them healthy and soft. Dead, dry, and flaky skin accumulates on the lips. Removing it through exfoliation facilitates restoring the lip’s softness and smoothness.
A gentle exfoliant can help remove the top layer of accumulated dead skin cells and smoothen out the skin. In addition, exfoliation improves texture, offering a perfect canvas to use lip makeup on.
One of the significant problems that lip skin faces is discoloration. Unlike the rest of the body skin, lips are more prone to becoming dark, patchy, and dull. Regular exfoliation keeps them pink and healthy.
Exfoliating lip scrubs can be bought ready-made or made at home. They require two ingredients – an emollient and an exfoliant. Emollient helps in hydration while exfoliant scrapes the layer of dead skin cells off the lips.
It would be best if you involved exfoliating once or twice a week in your skincare routine.
Here are the steps for exfoliating:
- Take a small portion of the scrub at the tip of your fingertip.
- Gently apply it over your lips in a circular motion. Do it for 20-30 seconds.
- Let the exfoliating lip scrub rest on your lips for approximately 10 mins. Your lips will soak the nourishing oil in this period.
- Rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Dry the skin with a clean towel or tissue.
- You can now apply a lip balm to enhance the hydration soothing the lips even more.
Eat Healthy Food
This is something you must have heard before quite a number of times. An unhealthy diet does not go together with healthy skin. What you consume regularly has a defining effect on the look of your lips.
You should eat plenty of good fat-rich food and avoid fried food at the same time. Omega 3 fatty acids do wonders in making your lips look smooth and supple. Salmon, eggs, avocado, walnuts, flaxseeds, and soybean are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Involve healthy nut oils like peanuts and pumpkin seeds into your diet. And of course, this goes without saying, eat your greens.
Lip Protection for UV Rays
The harmful UV rays that emit from the sun are something you need to be cautious about. The sun rays are not pleasant to us all the time. Unprotected sun exposure causes sunburn, premature aging, and even skin cancer in some cases.
Our lips are made of delicate, sensitive skin that requires SPF protection from the sun more than our normal skin. Therefore, it would help if you considered buying products that carry SPF.
Many lip balms contain SPF, thereby serving two purposes at the same time. They keep your lips moisturized while protecting them from sun damage.
Here are few lip balm suggestions from us –
Sun Bum Lip Balm, SPF 30 – This lip balm offers excellent protection from UV rays while hydrating your lips with aloe vera and vitamin E constituents.
Banana Boat Sunscreen SPF 45 – It contains everything that Sun Bum Lip Balm has to offer. The unique feature of this lip balm is that it is water-resistant.
Use the Right Makeup and Always Remove your Makeup
The way your lips look is determined significantly by the kind of makeup products you use. Avoid using fakes and dubious quality lipsticks and liners, as they harm your lips if used for a long period.
Always prefer using good quality certified products that are well-tested. Of course, you might have to throw in a few more bucks to buy it, but at least it won’t cause any damage to your lips.
If your lips struggle to maintain their moisture, you can go for lipsticks that have moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera or vitamin E to prevent dry lips.
Removing your makeup the right way before sleeping is equally important as using the right kind of products. Makeup clogs the pores of the skin and dehydrates it. Avoid using regular soap for removing makeup as these soaps are harsh for the soft skin of your face.
Instead, makeup removal products containing natural oils are your best choice as they do not leave the skin dry.
If you use lip products several times a day, clean off your makeup entirely before reapplying with a makeup-removing wipe. Use lukewarm water while washing your face and dry it with a towel or tissue.
It’s preferable to use smudge-proof products as they stick around longer, eliminating the need to reapply makeup frequently throughout the day.
It’s best to exfoliate the lips and use a lip balm before putting on lip makeup. It helps to retain the moisture in your lips. It’s preferable to use balms or lip products that contain SPF to protect your lips from damaging UV rays of the sun.
Use Lip Balms
Unlike the skin of the rest of the body, the skin of the lips is way thinner and does not have oil-producing sebaceous glands, so you need to hydrate your lips externally. To solve this problem, lip balms come to your rescue.
When buying lip balms, look for components like Shea butter, Vitamin E, natural oils, and hyaluronic acid. These natural ingredients facilitate the regeneration of damaged lips and retain moisture.
Avoid Certain Kinds of Food
Sometimes our lips tend to get irritated when we consume salty or spicy food. For example, pickles or peppers might give your lips a stinging, burning sensation. Even oranges and lemons can hurt your lips due to their acidic nature.
If your lips are getting irritated, using a calming lip balm before eating acidic or spicy food can help provide relief while eating. In such cases, avoid touching these foods with your lips.
Smoking Damages your Lips
We’re all aware of the several damages that smoking causes to our bodies. It also damages the fragile, delicate skin of our lips. Smoking for months and years causes wrinkles on the skin around the mouth. Another side effect is the darkening of the lips and gums.
Cigarettes consist of nicotine that shrinks our blood vessels, decreases blood flow, and depletes the oxygen in the skin, thereby fastening the skin’s aging process. In addition, it strips away nutrients that the skin requires to remain healthy.
There are way too many chemicals in a cigarette that causes uneven pigmentation and darkening of the lips and gums. Studies have proved that 7,000 chemicals are produced when a cigarette burns.
While smoking, a person repeatedly puckers the cigarette’s tip, and heat is generated from the burning cigarette. This process of puckering may also cause the formation of the smoker’s lips.
The time taken for the formation of the smoker’s lip differs from person to person. It depends on several factors like the duration of your smoking habit, the frequency of smoking in that duration, age, skin type, genetics, etc.
You can treat yourself at home on your own if you have livid wrinkling and mild pigmentation. However, in cases of severe wrinkling and dark hyperpigmentation, proper medical treatment is required for the cure.
If you’re a smoker, you should know that quitting smoking can prevent further damage to your lips and skin. Drinking plenty of water helps flush out the cigarette toxins from your body, reversing the damages over time.
Being Cautious while Opting for Cosmetic Procedures
People opt for lip enhancement when they feel the need to change the shape of their lips. Such augmentation is done with an injectable filler which can either be collagen-based or hyaluronic acid, which plumps the skin and prevents it from appearing old and wrinkly.
These implantations last for approximately half a year, and then refilling is required to maintain the desired look.
It is preferable to rely on at-home remedies rather than lip enhancement to get your desired look. However, if you still plan to opt for lip augmentation, keep an interval of two weeks before the surgery or implantation to prepare for it, and stop any medication that will hinder blood clotting.
Your smoking habits can negatively affect healing after the procedure, as smoking causes contraction of the blood vessels in the lips. You must strictly follow the diet suggested by your dermatologist during the months of the procedure.
It would be wise to cancel the procedure if you suffer from mouth herpes, soreness, blood clotting problems, lupus, or allergies. Keep an ice pack handy with you post-surgery as side effects like bruises and redness are expected after the procedure.
It would be best to opt for a trained, certified, and experienced medical practitioner specializing in this field.
Using Overnight Sleeping Masks
Overnight sleeping masks are excellent for the hydration, regeneration, nourishment, and revitalization of the skin. And all of it happens while you’re sleeping, isn’t that amazing?
These masks can be used easily, they save a lot of time compared to other skincare methods, and they effectively moisturize and nourish your skin. Here’s how you can apply an overnight lip mask to make your lips soft and supple –
- Clean all the dirt from your skin with a double-cleansing method or any other method you prefer.
- Use a toner and let it dry.
- Then apply serum and let it dry.
- If you have severely dry lips requiring excess moisture, use a lightweight moisturizer and let them dry.
- Apply the mask.
- The mask will take around 30 mins for absorption.
- Go to bed.
You can also make different kinds of lip masks at home. Here is the recipe for making a DIY lip mask.
DIY Hydrating Lip Mask
You can make a hydrating lip mask if your lips are chapped or dry. All you need is one teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of coconut oil. You can substitute coconut oil with avocado or cucumber.
Cucumbers are great at hydrating your lips as they are full of antioxidants and water. On the other hand, Avocado has plenty of minerals and nutrients effective at moisturizing the lips.
Take honey and coconut oil, as mentioned earlier. First, soften the coconut oil by microwaving it for 15-20 seconds and heat it in a pan for 2 minutes at low heat. Then, mix the oil with honey and apply it to your dry lips.
This DIY hydrating lip mask is highly effective for treating lip lines and smoker’s lips.
DIY Exfoliating Lip Mask
Exfoliating lip mask helps peel off the layer of dead skin cells, thereby removing flaky skin. You can make an exfoliating lip mask with two teaspoons of greek yogurt and one teaspoon of muddled kiwi.
Yogurt contains lactic acid that is great at peeling away old dead skin and generating fresh, healthy skin. If you’d like a more potent lip mask, you can replace muddled kiwi with lemon juice which contains citric acid that stimulates collagen production.
DIY Coloring Lip Mask
You can make a coloring lip mask if you’d like to add natural colors to your lips. You will require one teaspoon of honey and 1/2 teaspoon of pomegranate juice.
You can try different kinds of colors by substituting pomegranate juice with other pigmented components. For example, rose petals and strawberries are fantastic substitutes if you’d like natural rose-colored lips.
Rose is rich in essential oils and sugar, great for hydrating and nourishing the lips, whereas strawberries contain Vitamin C and antioxidants that make the skin more vibrant.
How to Make DIY Exfoliating Lip Scrubs?
Lips scrubs are great for removing flaky skin and dead skin cells. They help retain moisture in the lips. The best part is that you don’t have to take a trip to the store to buy lip scrubs, as you can make various kinds of lip scrubs from the comfort of your home.
DIY Honey Lavender Lip Scrub
- One teaspoon organic coconut oil
- 1 tsp honey
- Four drops of lavender essential oil
- Two teaspoon sugar
Steps to Make DIY Honey Lavender Lip Scrub
- Combine one teaspoon of organic oil with one teaspoon of honey and two teaspoons of sugar in a small bowl.
- Now add four drops of lavender essential oil into the mixture.
- Ensure that the mixture is thoroughly blended. Now apply it to your lips in a circular motion.
- Rinse it off and pat dry with a towel or tissue.
- Exfoliate twice a week for best results.
DIY Sea Salt and Rosemary Lip Scrub
- Two teaspoons of sea salt
- Two teaspoons of virgin olive oil
- Rosemary essential oil (two drops)
Steps to Make Sea Salt and Rosemary Lip Scrub
- Make a mixture of all the components in a blender.
- The mixture should be a smooth paste.
- Scrub the paste on the lips and leave it there for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the scrub with warm water and dry it with a towel or tissue.
DIY Peppermint Lip Scrub
- Two teaspoons organic coffee
- Two teaspoons of jojoba oil
- Peppermint essential oil (two drops)
Steps to Make Sea Salt and Rosemary Lip Scrub
- Mix jojoba oil with peppermint essential oil in a small bowl. Now gently pour the coffee beans into the bowl and stir until the mixture is well blended and smooth.
- Gently apply the paste on your lips and wipe it off with a wet cloth dipped in warm water.
DIY Vanilla Lip Scrub
- One teaspoon jojoba oil
- Two teaspoons of cocoa powder
- Vanilla essence (3 drops)
Steps to Make Vanilla Lip Scrub
- Put two teaspoons of cocoa powder in a bowl, add jojoba oil and stir it till the mixture is coarse.
- Now add three drops of vanilla essence and mix it with your fingers.
- Rub a thin layer of the mix onto your lips for a minute.
- Wipe it off with a warm towel or tissue. If you have flaky lips that dry up frequently, you can use this DIY scrub every alternate day.
Tips and Tricks to Prevent and Treat Lip Wrinkles
If your lips tend to shrivel and tighten, are prone to peeling and flaking, have fine lines, then chances are your lips stay dehydrated most of the time.
Tretinoin-rich moisturizers may boost collagen production, thereby reducing wrinkly skin around the mouth. When buying a well hydrating moisturizer, also look for SPF as one of the components as it protects from sun damage and reduces exposure to ultraviolet rays.
Regularly exfoliate, use lip masks and balms, stay hydrated and protect lips from sun exposure to keep the lip skin hydrated and supple.
There are various injections that smoothen wrinkles and fine lines. Your doctor may suggest opting for injected medication such as Botox.
A dermatologist or plastic surgeon may suggest you get laser treatment. Laser resurfacing or las abrasion involves the removal of the damaged upper layer of the skin.
A surgeon may treat deep wrinkles by injecting temporary fillers. Some procedures apply fat grafting and liposuction.
In laser treatments, the melanin deposits in the upper lips are heated to reduce pigmentation. Such procedures are usually done multiple times with a gap of four weeks. The frequency and number of sessions may differ as per the extent of the darkening of the lips.
The cost of laser treatment varies from person to person as it depends on the severity of pigmentation, underlying cause, and modality used.
Mandelic acid accelerates cell turnover, which reduces many skin problems such as dark patches and acne blemishes.
You can use mandelic acid to treat fine lines and wrinkly skin around the mouth and to lighten dark patches on the lips. Alpha hydroxy acid, obtained from almonds, offers various at-home remedies and professional treatment that includes peeling.
Fillers are made from biocompatible compounds such as hyaluronic acid that tighten the skin and plump up the lips by filling in fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth. Such dermal fillers can add fullness and volume to the lips, lasting up to one year.
The procedure is safe with mild side effects.
Some fillers are made from natural compounds like collagen. However, collagen used for soft tissue may have side effects like allergy and inflammation as it is extracted from animals.
A surgeon may use liposuction to transfer fat tissues from other parts of the body, like thighs or arms, to the lips. Such filler procedures provide a permanent solution. However, they are riskier and may cause many complications.
Tips for Treating Darkened Lips
Exfoliators are highly effective in lightening the lips. You can purchase an exfoliator from a nearby store or make one at home easily. We have stated various recipes to make different kinds of exfoliation scrubs in this article.
Lip masks constituting turmeric, lime, or lemon juice are effective in lighting the lips. Coat your lips with a mixture of Vitamin A/ Vitamin E oil and any of the ingredients mentioned above for 15-20 minutes for maximum effects.
There are different types of laser treatment for different kinds of lip problems. Lasers concentrate pulses of light deep into the skin’s layers.
Such procedures facilitate restoring the lip’s natural colors, excess melanin removal, collagen production, and remove the appearance of fine lines around the mouth.
Lip Augmentation Vs. Lip Fillers
Lip fillers are amazing if you want to experiment with your lips and try different lip styles and sizes, as fillers are temporary. However, if you’re very sure about getting fuller, plumped lips, then lip augmentation is what you should go for.
Lip Augmentation refers to the process of transferring excess fat from one part of the body to the lips. It is a more permanent solution for fuller lips. Only a small amount of fat is extracted from your body, as even fuller lips do not require much donor fat.
On the other hand, lip fillers are injections that offer a relatively temporary solution that lasts for a few months. Fillers are useful for trying out new looks. If you like a particular look and style with lip fillers, you can go for lip augmentation to make it permanent.
The lip filling procedure is fast and simple, taking only up to an hour in most cases. While lip augmentations require fat to be transferred, fillers are made with a hyaluronic acid component, forming naturally in the human body.
In the case of lip augmentation, the procedure does not take much time, but it takes a month or two for the full results to be visible. The procedure is often followed by swelling and redness on the lips.
Lips tend to look plumper post lip augmentation surgery due to swelling, but the size gradually decreases, and a small amount of transferred fat dies.
If you’re confused between lip fillers and augmentation, then you need to identify what you want. Fillers involve less risk as they’re temporary and great for trying out new options.
Lip augmentation is costlier and permanent but does not require you to invest much time in maintaining the look. If you’re pretty sure that you’d like plumper lips for life, then augmentation might be the right choice for you.
It’s ironic how we tend to ignore taking care of our lips when it really needs extra care and nourishment due to its delicacy and sensitivity.
The aim should be to keep the lips hydrated all the time with moisturizers, lip balms, water, and exfoliation. You don’t have to worry anymore, as following this lip care routine regularly can help you keep your lips soft, smooth, and healthy.