6 Sneaky Things That Are Damaging Your Lips

It’s all too easy to overlook the lips. While you might have an extensive Skincare Wardrobe for the skin on your face, your lips may just get a swipe of a balm — and that’s if they’re lucky. But the lips are one area where damage appears quickly (think dryness, peeling, burning, or flaking), and that can be seriously uncomfortable if they don’t get TLC.

The good news? It’s not you. That’s just how they’re made. “Since the lip does not have the same oil glands that are present on the rest of the face, the lips can dry out more quickly,” says Marisa Garshick, MD, dermatologist in New York City. And because the skin of the lips is also thin, “it’s sensitive to many external allergens, such as cold air, saliva, water, soap, and makeup, in contrast to skin elsewhere on our body,” says Rina Allawh, MD, a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in King of Prussia, PA.

Can you get addicted to lip balm? Here, we bust some common lip-balm myths.

A little moisture can go a long way to care for lips. “Often it is best to use products on the lips that not only will hydrate, but also will be occlusive and create a barrier effect to help keep moisture in and prevent external irritants,” says Dr. Garshick. Try our Watermelon Glow Lip Pop or the new Blueberry Bounce Lip Pop, which nourish lips with a combo of coconut oil and watermelon seed oil (while imparting a unique-to-you tint). We just revamped both to be 35% bigger than the original, and Blueberry Lip Pop’s berry shade — once a limited edition — is here to stay. Apply it before lipstick to boost color payoff, or layer it over lipstick to keep your color looking fresh and vibrant.

While cold, windy weather and skipping lip balm are two obvious offenders, little-known triggers for chapped lips can also contribute to them. Here’s what to avoid.

You lick your lips to moisten them

Licking dry lips might feel good for a second, but they’ll inevitably go back to feeling tight and tingly. And in licking your lips, you do much more harm than good. “Licking your lips can actually be irritating, because while the saliva can feel temporarily moisturizing, it can actually be drying and strip the lips of some natural moisture,” says Dr. Garshick. “Additionally, saliva has various enzymes and components that can actually be irritating to the lips.” Resist the temptation, even in a pinch, and hold out until you’re reunited with your dedicated lip balm.

You bite or pick your lips

If your lips are already chapped, it can be tempting to pick at the peels or flakes. (Gross, but universal.) But that only makes matters worse. In doing so, you’re basically removing the top layers of dead skin, irritating the area and causing more discomfort. If flaky lips are too hard to resist, layer on a few swipes of Lip Pop on a regular basis. Both Watermelon Glow and Blueberry Bounce have flower-derived AHA (it’s edible!) and coconut sugar to deliver gentle smoothing — enough for a soft, comfortable feel, but not so much that it’s irritating. That actually clears the way for the moisturizing actives to better penetrate.

You brush with flavored toothpaste

That peppermint-flavored toothpaste might wake you up when you brush your teeth in the A.M., but it’s not doing your lips any favors. “Common triggers [for chapped lips] are flavored toothpaste — including the cinnamon and the mint flavors,” says Dr. Allawh. “These contain common allergens, which may trigger a skin rash and dry, peeling lips.” Switch to one that’s not flavored or, if that doesn’t exactly sound appealing, be sure to apply a lip balm ASAP after rinsing.

The secret to flake-free lips: an A.M. and P.M. lip care routine.

You forget about sunscreen

While sunscreen on your face is a no-brainer, it might not be as obvious that your lips, too, could use that sun protection. Not only can sunlight dry out lips and irritate those that are already chapped, but also, “chronic sun exposure can lead to a condition known as actinic cheilitis, which can appear as dryness, scaling, thinning, or scabbing of the lip,” says Dr. Garshick. Plus, your lips are not magically exempt from the risk of skin cancer, so it’s a good idea for your general health, too. Before applying Lip Pop, swipe on a clear balm that offers broad-spectrum SPF 30.

You bite your nails

Since you eat, drink, and talk with your mouth, your lips are coming into contact with a lot of stuff throughout the day. “It’s possible that your lips are chapped as a result of what is known as contact dermatitis, which can be caused by allergies and related to ingredients that may be coming into contact with the skin, such as fragrance or preservatives that may be found in lipsticks or other cosmetics,” says Dr. Garshick. And if you bite your nails, you could even be wearing those allergens on your fingers. In fact, “a common culprit for chapped lips is allergens found in acrylic nails or nail polish itself,” says Dr. Allawh.

Your medication is drying out lips

One of the sneakiest offenders behind chapped lips? Your medicine cabinet. “Some oral medications that we take, including oral supplements, may cause our skin to be more dry and may even trigger dry, flaky skin on the lips,” says Dr. Allawh. (If you’ve ever used Accutane to deal with chronic breakouts, you might already know this.) There’s not much you can do about it besides (what else?) moisturizing your lips on a regular basis — and with the dewy tint of a Lip Pop, you’ll have yet another excuse to do so.

Read more about how to care for your lips:

SHOP THE LOOK

Glow Recipe

Watermelon Glow Lip Pop

$22

https://www.glowrecipe.com/products/watermelon-glow-lip-pop

Glow Recipe

Blueberry Bounce Lip Pop

$22

https://www.glowrecipe.com/collections/lip/products/watermelon-glow-lip-pop