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Lips for keeps!

Are you one of those women who take care of your face religiously with moisturizers, sunscreens, anti-aging lotions and serums but forget to care for your lips. Yes, your lips need TLC as well. During the summer months, constant sun exposure can make lips rough and dry. Winter months are not any less cruel on your lips and lack of humidity can give you seriously dehydrated, cracked, chapped and flaky lips. Imagine wearing a lipstick on seriously dry lips? So how do we get soft, supple, moist and kissable lips? Good news is that it doesn't take much to make your lips look and feel luscious. Some simple tips can give your neglected lips a life!

1. If you have ever gone shopping for lip balm, you would know there is a huge selection to choose from. You would be spoiled for the choices you get in the color, texture, fragrance and packaging. So which one is the best for you? Well, get familiar with the ingredients which are good for your lips, such as beeswax, Shea and cocoa butters, wheat germ, castor, coconut and jojoba oils, petrolatum, Vitamin C & E. My personal preferences are organic lip balms as they contain no chemicals, additives, pesticides and synthetic ingredients that could be harmful to your body. Imagine you are putting these chemicals on your lips and licking them! The best news is that the organic lip balms are not expensive and they are healthy for our lips so why should we put unsafe products in our bodies.

2. Choose a lip balm according to your concerns. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, buy one which has SPF 15. Did you know your lips can get sunburn as well? Make sure you apply it at least 20 minutes before stepping out. If your lips are severely dry, buy something with moisturizing ingredients. Your concerns and needs would vary depending on different seasons so buy them accordingly.

3. Do you know dehydration can make your lips dry? Yes, we need to work from inside out. If your body is dehydrated, no amount of lip balm can keep your lips moist and hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and you would notice that you don't need to use as much lip balm.

4. I would strongly oppose of exfoliating your lips. I know it is a hype these days to exfoliate the lips and there are many exciting homemade recipes to choose from. But the fact is the skin on our lips is not the same as the skin on our face or body. Do you know the skin on our lips does not have dead skin cells? If there is no dead skin to slough off, then why bother with all the exfoliating? The skin on our lips is much thinner and delicate than the rest of our body. The point is if you are exfoliating your lips with the intention of making them look and feel beautiful and healthy, then this practice alone is actually doing more harm than benefiting your lips. This can lead to irritation, chapping and even damage to your lips. You may wonder how natural ingredients like sugar, honey or baking soda can cause damage to your skin. Well, regardless of what kind of exfoliant you choose to use such as chemical exfoliants like salicylic acids or glycolic acids or you may go for physical exfoliants like a washcloth or toothbrush, each time you endanger the health of your lips. Don't jump on the bandwagon.

5. Are you in the habit of licking your lips? This seemingly harmless habit can severely dry out your lips. You might think licking your lips helps to keep them hydrated, but it actually does the opposite by severely drying them out. As a matter of fact, "lip licker's dermatitis" is often seen in people who compulsively lick their lips which can cause an itchy rash around the mouth. Instead, whenever you feel the urge to lick your lips, take out your lip balm and apply it. Try to avoid using flavored lip balms as the smell and taste entices you to lick your lips more. While we are on the subject of licking lips, do not bite your lips either. Biting lips can remove its protective covering which causes further drying. Allow your lips to heal and function without licking or biting them.

6. Do you know certain prescription and nonprescription medications can dry out the lips? Some medications have dry lips as a side effect. These medications are usually given for severe acne, pain, allergies, depression and others. You should check the side effects on the medicine box to see if your chapped and dry lips are the reasons behind taking certain medications. However, do not stop taking any medication without first consulting your doctor. Your doctor can always prescribe an alternative if lips dryness cannot be managed.

7. This tip is for our lovely ladies who love to wear lipsticks but due to chapped and dry lips do not want to draw any attention to their lips. If you have dry lips, you do not have to avoid wearing lipsticks altogether, try wearing creamy lipsticks with moisturizing ingredients. Matte lipsticks can seriously dry out the lips, so leave them for special occasions only where you require long wear lip colors.

8. Lastly, if you happen to live in a place with a dry climate, you must look into purchasing a humidifier. One of the conundrums of living in cold climates is that you can experience severely dry lips. Humidifiers help to add moisture to the dry indoor air. You must make sure you take good care of your humidifiers in order for them to function properly.

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