Caring for winter lips


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How to help customers who are looking for relief and protection for dry lips this winter

Winter isn’t much fun for our skin and our lips aren’t immune from the damaging effects of dry, cold air and wind.

In fact, given that the skin on our lips is much thinner than the skin on the rest of our bodies, with no oil glands or ability to make moisture of their own, they’re usually the first to suffer when the temperature and humidity drops. 

P’ure Papayacare’s resident naturopath Melissa Argiro shares her top 5 tips to prevent and treat chapping, cracking and (gasp) bleeding lips this winter.

1. Beware petroleum-based lip-balms

Regular lip balm offers the fastest remedy for chapped, dry lips, but according to Ms Argiro, many lip balms can actually dehydrate your lips.

“Lip balms containing a base of petroleum jelly create a physical barrier against the skin which prevents moisture from being absorbed,” she says.

“Although lip balms containing petroleum may feel nice and smooth on your lips when first applied, in the end they will dry out your lips, so look for a lip balm free from petroleum, like our P’ure Papaya Ointment.”

2. Leave the lip licking

If people are stuck without a lip treatment, it can be tempting to lick their lips to give them a quick hit of moisture, however Ms Argiro says that this is a sure way to dry them out. 

“Many people think that licking their lips will moisturise dry skin, however, saliva contains acids that break down food, which can also dry and irritate the lips.”

3. Do not exfoliate your lips with a toothbrush!

Exfoliating lips with a toothbrush is a common piece of internet advice for refreshing lips – but it’s not always a good idea.

“Ouch! Please don’t do this,” says Ms Argiro. “Brushing your chapped lips with a toothbrush can often worsen the condition and lead to cracking your chapped lips, which is not only painful but can make your lips prone to infections.

“The skin on our lips is extremely soft and fragile and the bristles on a toothbrush are much too harsh on the delicate skin.”

Instead, she advises opting for a lip balm containing calendula and jojoba oils, which aid in healing and regenerating skin cells.

4. Watch your caffeine intake

Winter sees most of us increasing our coffee intake, which can also contribute to dry, chapped lips.

“Consuming large amounts of caffeine can leach moisture from the inside, and the skin on our lips, being so thin, is highly susceptible to dehydration.

“Try swapping out some of your caffeinated beverages for a herbal tea which boost your hydration levels, rather than sapping them,” she says.

5. Outrule any other underlying causes

There are a number of other factors that could be causing or worsening your dry lips, says Ms Argiro.

“Allergies to harsh ingredients in your lip balm or cosmetics, your nutritional intake, certain foods, poor hydration levels and even snoring can cause or worsen dry lips,” she says.

Pharmacists and pharmacy staff can ask their customers some questions to ascertain the factors at play.

“If you suffer chronic chapped lips, there might be something else at play that you need to investigate. Are you drinking enough water? Are you eating well?  Do you need to sleep with a humidifier on?”

In other words, rather than only treating the symptoms, try to look at the big picture.

P’ure Papaya Lips is a vegan friendly formula and is available in 10g tubes from selected pharmacies and health food stockists, both in store and online.

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