IT'S HARD TO SHOW OFF a smile that's surrounded by cracked, chapped lips. "Our lips are very susceptible to drying out because they're a thin layer of skin that's exposed to the elements all the time," says Diane Berson, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Cornell University Medical College in New York City. "They're also made up of mucous membranes, which dry out easily."
To get your lips back in kissable form, you need to first rid them of dry, flaky skin. After brushing your teeth at night before bed, try gently rubbing your lips with your toothbrush or a damp washcloth, then slather on a thick layer of lip balm to leave on while you sleep.
Look for a balm that contains moisturizing oils to heal your lips along with wax to protect them from further damage. If you're going to be outside, pick a formulation with an SPF to minimize the impact of the sun. Here are some great options, plus a homemade favorite.
Lucy B. Organic Lemonade Balm ($18; lulus.com) is loaded with avocado, castor, and jojoba oils, plus healing flower essences.
Aveda Lip Saver ($9; aveda.com) offers jojoba oil to moisturize your lips and candelilla wax to protect them.
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($23; fresh.com) is a hydrating sweet treat with SPF 15, and vitamins A, C, and E for extra protection.
Aveeno Essential Moisture Lip Conditioner with SPF 15 ($4; drugstore.com) soothes with oatmeal and softens with shea butter.
Make Your Own Yummy Honey Balm
Try this delicious do-it-yourself recipe from Barbara Close, founder of Naturopathica:
1. Place 1/2 ounce almond or olive oil (to moisturize lips) and 1/2 tablespoon grated beeswax (to protect lips) in a heatproof glass measuring cup. Set the cup in a shallow pan of simmering water.
2. Heat until the ingredients have melted, then add 5 drops of vanilla essential oil (for aroma) and 1 tablespoon honey (to soothe skin); stir to blend.
3. Pour the mixture into a container, and place in the refrigerator to cool. Apply at will.
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