Published on March 1st, 2013 | by Karin Jenkins0
Hide Your Age – Protect Your Lips!
Do you remember the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” where the father swore the use of Windex could fix anything? Well, that was my mom with Blistex lip balm. My parents were both early advocates of lip care.
I remember one winter, my mom and I had flown to Missouri and we were caught in a horrible blizzard for three days. Between the freezing wind and the heated hotel room, the skin on my face and lips was chapped and cracking to the point of bleeding. By the time we got on the plane to head back to sunny, humid Florida, I was miserable. My mom whipped out her tube of Blistex and insisted I rub it all over my face. I protested, but she wouldn’t back down. With a heavy sigh, I finally smeared the Blistex on my face. By the next morning, my skin was back to normal again. My mother was brilliant!
It’s no secret that the areas most exposed to the elements (the sun, the wind, cold and dry air) are the face and hands. These two areas show the signs of aging the quickest. As we age, we seem to become more aware and concerned about the lines around our lip area, but what about the lips themselves?
Dr. Charles Zugerman, associate professor of clinical dermatology at Northwestern University Medical School, explains it best. “Lips have an extremely thin outer protective layer. As the body ages, the already thin layer becomes progressively thinner. To compound matters, we lose the oil and water barrier that keeps lips hydrated. Without proper attention, the lips can age faster than other parts of the skin.”
In further lip research I found that a lot of the damage we have done to our lips over the years can actually be reversible! What? I can actually make something on my body look young again? The clouds are starting to part and I am hearing the angels sing!
There is no time like the present to start taking better care of our lips. We need to start with a good moisturizing regimen. Thank goodness my early childhood lip care education stuck with me. I apply Blistex morning and night to my lips while I am taking care of the rest of my skin care needs. The reason I use Blistex is because it contains medicated ingredients to relieve dryness and cracking, and is the only leading lip care ointment that contains moisture to rehydrate dry lip cells. No, I don’t work for Blistex and yes, maybe I should, but like I have always promised you – I would be open and honest with my findings on beauty matters.
When I go to the beach, I do apply a lip product that has an SPF of 15 (meaning it multiplies the lips’ natural protection 15 times). You can usually locate this product in with the sunscreen products or the lip care product aisle at your local drug store or grocery store.
Lips have almost no melanin, the natural pigment in skin that helps screen out the sun’s harmful rays. Environment is clearly one of the most important causes of lip dryness, but there are other situations we need to keep in mind as well. For instance, it’s the cold and flu season and often times we get “stuffed up” and have to breathe through our mouths. When you are nursing that cold, don’t forget to moisturize your lips. If you don’t have a lip cream or chapstick, Vaseline will work just fine. Lip irritations can also be caused by certain types of food, medication, cosmetics and cigarette smoke.
I want you to think of other times in your life when your lips were irritated from a situation you were in and how you can learn from that and not make the same mistake twice. For me, I apply a good coat of lip moisturizer before I see the dentist or before surgery. If you love your lips, you have to start thinking ahead and protect them now.
To slough off dry, dead lip skin (ew), use a Lip Pumice about once a week or as needed. It will gently remove the dead skin. After you have done that, apply a nice lip moisturizer to bring that wonderful soft, supple look back into your lips.
As a makeup artist, I have to work with dry or cracked lip situations all the time. To down-play the problems, I line the lip with color and gently fill in the lips with the same liner pencil, if possible, then use a lip gloss instead of a lipstick. Lipsticks can actually enhance lip damage. If your lips are too chapped for a pencil, just use a nice tinted lip gloss only. Always avoid harsh lip products such as lip stains or long-lasting lipsticks. They will only further the irritation of your already dry lips.
Your lips are more prominent than almost any other part of your body. You use them to smile or pout. You can make them pucker to kiss the people you love. Lips frame your “pearly whites,” show off your lipstick colors, and help you to mouth phrases like “Thank you” or “I love you.” Lips can even express your thoughts. When my husband or my daughter are not exactly telling me the truth, they bite the left side of their bottom lip and when they read this article, they will finally know how I have always been able to tell.