NOTE: This is a transcription of the Skincare Fairy Godmother Podcast Episode 1. It may have been changed slightly for ease of reading vs. listening.
In today's treatment room, we are going to learn all about chapped and cracked lips.
The skin on the lips is different from the rest of the face - facial skin is about 16 cell layers deep, and lips are only about three to five layers deep. That's why you can see the red tinge of blood vessels, that's what makes our lips red.
Lips also don't have any hair follicles or sweat glands, so they can't produce any oil of their own which naturally makes them predisposed to being more dry.
What can cause chapped or cracked lips? The most common are: weather exposure, sun damage, licking your lips constantly, ingredients, being dehydrated, allergies, or contact dermatitis.
Let's talk a little bit about a couple of these things individually.
First thing, stop licking and biting your lips. I know it's challenging, I know it's a habit, but it will make a huge difference long term.
Next, make sure you're getting enough water every day, roughly half your body weight in ounces. So if you're 150 pounds, you're going to aim for about 75 ounces a day. This doesn't include if you're working out or sweating a lot due to your climate.
Eat your water. You can have fruits and vegetables - those do count.
When you're going to be out in the sun, make sure you're wearing an SPF lip balm - that can really help to prevent cracking and peeling, not to mention damage. This does matter also if you are in a colder climate if you're going to go snowboarding or skiing or something you should definitely have SPF on your lips.
Pay attention if your splits or dry lips happen immediately after starting a new toothpaste or a new lip product or a new skin product. At that point you might need to speak with your doctor or eliminate that product. A really common thing that irritates around the mouth is toothpaste, so finding the right one that works for you is really important.
Avoid menthol or camphor in your lip products. Those are naturally more drying and irritating to your lips. Some people have trouble with peppermint as well. So something just to bear in mind if you happen to be having trouble with it.
What happens if your lips are already dry or chapped? How can you fix it?
First, recognizing the difference between occlusive and hydrating ingredients. Occlusive ingredients tend to be things like beeswax, Vaseline, petroleum jelly, and aquafor. Hydrators are things like shea butter, apricot and wheat germ oils.
You want to either find a product that has both or you're going to want to layer them -hydrator first with your occlusive on top. If you put the occlusive on first, the hydrator can't get where it needs to be. The occlusive layer holds the hydration in and because lips don't produce their own oil, we need to apply oils, butters, and hydrators and then seal it in with that occlusive. The caveat to that - if your product is one that has both, you can try that out without an occlusive on top for a little while and see how that does for you.
So what are some favorites of mine? My personal favorite is Amber Budd Skincare Lip//Conditioner. Followed by a thin layer of Vaseline at night. I have naturally really dry lips so even though our lip conditioner does have both the hydrator and occlusive ingredients, during the day that's enough for me, but at night I do like to put a little layer of Vaseline on top to make a more intense treatment. I also really like the Sara Happ lip balm - the one in the little pot. The company says the tube and jar are the same, but I can't say I agree. :)
Last tip: if you have flaking peeling lips do not, do not, do not (!) pull the skin. Soften it with your lip hydrator or conditioner. Break it off if you need to, but do not peel it. If you have to peel it. It's not ready. Just let it be.
That is it for her treatment room lesson for today. Do you have any follow up questions? If so, head over to Instagram and DM me @amberbudd -That's where I hang out most often online.