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6 Tips for Dealing with Dry Lips

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You have to up your lip game.

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In cooler weather, you might notice your lips getting drier than usual. It makes sense—the skin on your lips is thin and delicate, and the cold and lack of moisture in the winter can dry it out. But that doesn’t mean you have to grin and bear it. These steps will help keep your lips happy and hydrated during the colder months.

1. Take warm, not hot, showers.

Indulging in a steaming-hot shower in the winter months may feel oh-so-good, but the hot water can dry out your skin (yes, the skin on your lips counts!). A better bet: take a short, lukewarm shower; moisturize; then wrap yourself up in your coziest robe and wool socks.

2. Exfoliate.

Just as you exfoliate your face (and other parts of your body), you should exfoliate your lips to get rid of dead skin cells. Doing so regularly will leave you with healthier-looking lips. Try ChapStick Total Hydration Conditioning Lip Scrub, which gently exfoliates while leaving lips soft and smooth. Rub the product onto your lips in small, circular motions, then wipe off with a damp cloth.

3. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

After using an exfoliator, follow with a lip balm to keep your lips hydrated. You should also use lip balm as necessary throughout the day, and before you go to bed. Don’t use lip balms that cause your lips to sting or tingle, and look for a balm with soothing ingredients—think: jojoba oil, olive oil, and shea butter—like ChapStick Total Hydration 3 in 1. If you have chapped lips, look for a balm with soothing and cooling ingredients. ChapStick Medicated Lip Balm contains camphor, menthol, and phenol that help provide relief for chapped lips. Another important ingredient: sunscreen. Use a lip-specific SPF—it’s less sunny, but the sun still makes appearances throughout the winter. Additionally, any snow on the ground reflects sunlight, which means more UV rays bouncing onto your skin.

4. Cover your mouth.

During the winter, you don’t leave the house without a hat, scarf, and gloves to cover your head, neck, and hands. Take an extra step and pull your scarf over your mouth, too, to protect your lips from the cold winter wind.

5. Stay hydrated.

When it’s chilly, you may also be exposed to very dry heat indoors. Your H2O needs may vary according to your overall health and how active you are, but as a rule of thumb, women should aim for 11.5 cups of fluids a day (including what you get from food). You can also switch on a humidifier to help balance the moisture in your home, which will also help at night if you have a tendency to mouth-breathe.

6. Lay off the matte lipsticks.

You might want to add a pop of color to your lips when it’s cold and dreary out, but matte products, which have less oil, can further dry out a parched pout. Instead, go for lip stains or glosses, or use a tinted lip balm like ChapStick Total Hydration Moisture + Tint to moisturize and add color. If you can’t give up your favorite lipstick for the winter, be sure to apply a lip balm under your chosen shade.

7. Stop licking your lips.

Once your lips are dry, you might think that licking your lips will help. But enzymes in saliva that are meant to digest food can be irritating to your lips. Plus, after you lick your lips, the saliva evaporates, making them drier than they were to begin with. Instead, use lip balm.

Find other great health and wellness stories at MarthaStewart.com/Strive.