Your lips need a little extra care in summer. UV rays, heat, and transitions from the heat to air conditioning can leave your lips feeling a bit dry or sore.
The science behind your lips
Your lips are made up of a thin layer of skin which lacks a stratum corneum. The absence of a tough outer layer means that they’re more sensitive than the rest of the skin in your body. This layer of skin is similar to the inner lining of your mouth and nose, but unlike these areas, it’s not protected by a warm and moist environment.
Your saliva can worsen the weather-related damage on your lips by breaking down your skin’s main fats and proteins. When you lick your lips to moisten them, especially before applying a protective barrier like balm, you are locking in saliva and leading to further skin breakdown.
How to look after your lips in summer
1. Exfoliate your lips
Your lips build-up dead skin cells just like other areas of your body. So you should exfoliate your lips before adding a nourishing formula. Use a toothbrush to gently brush your lips for a few seconds in the morning, or wipe them with a face towel in the shower. This helps eliminate any residue from the surface of the lips and leave them feeling smooth. Alternatively, you can use a mixture of honey and sugar. The sugar will help remove the dead skin while the honey adds moisture.
2. Keep your lips well hydrated
Lips can often turn dry, cracked or get chapped if not hydrated. During the colder and warmer months, lips are much more susceptible to losing their hydration, making them more prone to cracking and chapping. Plus well hydrated lips are essential if you want to show off your latest liquid lipstick.
Choose natural ingredients. Whatever is being applied to this sensitive area is also going straight into your mouth, and being absorbed by your body. Natural products will also help you avoid the side effects sometimes caused by cosmetics loaded with chemicals.
Massage your lips with warm coconut oil a couple of times a day - don’t wait until your lips are feeling dry or sore. Coconut oil is made of fatty acids that are easily absorbed by the skin. It not only acts as an emollient and a moisturizer but it also facilitates the easier absorption of vitamins like vitamin E, an antioxidant that reduces the formation of free radicals that damage cells. Alternatively, you can use almond or olive oil.
3. Protect your lips
Use products like lip balms or lip oils to protect your lips from harmful UV rays and heat.
Look for lip oil formulas that use natural ingredients like hydrating virgin coconut, olive and eucalyptus oils. Even if you don’t normally like the greasy feel of face oils, lip oils are generally thick and balmy without the stickiness of a traditional balm or gloss.
Lip balm often gets a bad rap. Some claim it's addictive, while others argue they are loaded with ingredients that promote chapped lips. However lip balms aren’t meant to absorb into your skin like a body lotion. Rather, they’re designed to sit on top of your lips, forming a temporary shield that prevents dry air from drawing out moisture. So when your lip balm rubs away during the course of the day, your lips dry out again.
Choose a lip balm that has an SPF of at least 15. Skip flavored balms in favor of ones containing wax or oil. The fewer ingredients, the better. Watch out for lip balms that use parabens, phthalates or other potentially harmful ingredients. You can read more about the effects of these chemicals in our latest blog.
Choose natural ingredients if you can but be aware that there are some natural ingredients that can cause sensitivities and irritation. Steer clear of essential oil ingredients like menthols and citrus as some people do not tolerate these well. They really have no place on your lips other than they taste and smell good.