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There’s no escaping the fact that winter has arrived; the weather has become rather cold and the chances are that you’ve already cranked your heating up. It’s this combination of cold weather and hot dry air that can wreak havoc on your lips in winter – and your skin in general.
Having a seasonal skincare routine in place is fairly common, but what about seasonal lip care? For one reason or another, we don’t always consider our lip care when we’re considering our skincare, but this shouldn’t be the case.
In the colder winter months our lips can really suffer. The combination of cold outdoor air and dry, hot air from central heating can leave your lips dry, cracked, chapped and sore – which is where a good quality lip balm comes in.
As Dr Catherine Borysiewicz, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic tells HuffPost UK: “If the skin barrier of the lips is disordered it is important to treat the lips to an extra protective layer.”
Damage happens when the keratin in the top layer of the skin begins to lose its elasticity, which then leads to damage in the form of dryness, chapping, and soreness. Lips are more susceptible to damage and soreness than the rest of our face, which is why protecting them with lip balm is important.
How can you ensure you’re using the right balm?
Choosing a lip balm isn’t always a simple task as there are so many brands and formulas to choose from. Dr Borysiewicz recommends choosing a product that is quick and easy to apply and that can be carried around in your pocket or bag.
She also recommends opting for a lip balm with SPF where possible. “Don’t forget an SPF particularly if you are out all day or exposed to sun especially high altitude environments such as skiing,” she says. “This will help reduce the risk of pre-cancerous sun damage and also reduce cold sore flares.”
Even if you’re not on the slopes, SPF is important, just as it is for your skin.
What ingredients should you look out for?
“Common ingredients found in lip balms are: castor oil and hemp seed oil, petroleum jelly, shea butter and cocoa butter, humectants such as honey. Also vitamin E for its antioxidant effects and mineral sunscreen products such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide,” says Dr Borysiewicz.
When it comes to natural versus synthetic ingredients, Dr Borysiewicz says that each have benefits. “Both work well, so if you generally prefer ‘natural’ ingredients there are plenty of products to choose from,” she says.
And while there aren’t any specific ingredients to avoid, Dr Borysiewicz does recommend steering away from overly fragranced products.
Choose what works best for your skin
“It is important to remember that everyone’s skin is different,” says Dr Borysiewicz said. “One person’s favourite lip balm may not suit another person’s skin, so try out a few until you find your best match.”
If you have an irritation to a balm, your lips will actually become more dry and chapped. “If you notice this happening try switching products,” she says.
Need some lip balm recommendations? We’ve got you covered with our roundup of the best lip balms for winter lip care.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.