Pucker up with Healthy Lips

Pucker up with Healthy Lips

Lips. They are wonderful things, they help us to eat, talk, smile, and look angry (along with every other facial expression). They are good for biting when nervous, and of course were made for kissing.

We use them all the time, yet the funny thing is, the term we use- 'lips' is not what they're really called, and I could bet most of you won't know the real name for them. They are really called 'the vermilion boarder. And to add more confusion, they aren't really skin.

So what are they made out of if they're not really skin?

They are more similar to what are called the 'mucous membranes' inside the mouth. They are what we call skin, but they differ quite a lot to what we refer to as the skin on our bodies. Our lips are not protected by the thick layers (called cornified tissue) of skin like on the rest of our body. They have much fewer layers of skin. This causes the blood vessels in our lips to be closer to the surface. It is this closeness of these blood vessels that gives our lips that beautiful rosy red colour. But because of this lack of skin, they are much more prone to drying out, along with other various problems such as burning from the sun and wind.

Another problem that contributes to dry lips that they have no oil glands, which obviously makes more it difficult for them to stay moist. And that's not all, the reason they dry so easily, is because they have less pigment in them compared to the skin on the rest of the body. Therefore they burn more easily from the sun, as it is the pigment in skin that helps protect us from burning to a crisp.

So how do you keep your lips beautiful?

The elements
The best thing you can do is to stock up on lip balm that has a high protective sunscreen, and not just only in summer, but in winter also. During summer there is the problem of increased burning, and you may not know it, but winter can be more damaging to your lips than summer. As most of us know, due to our damaged ozone layer, the sun is strong throughout the whole year. So winter is no exception, and to add to this because of the dry air in winter, your lips are more likely to become dehydrated, and if you live in areas of snow, the light reflecting off the snow is worse for your lips than the summer sun.

Although winter is drying to lips due to the dry atmosphere, licking them will only make them drier. Unfortunately it is an unconscious habit, but every time you lick, the saliva that you put on them evaporates, and with that evaporation goes the natural moisture that your lips produce. The end result is that your lips will become drier and drier.

Biting or otherwise known as chewing, is just as bad as licking- if not worse. Biting is a habit, and one, if you want healthy lips, you should try breaking. Biting also dries out your lips, along with taking off small amounts the little skin that already exist there. If you can't break the habit of chewing them, then at least apply lip balm more frequently, as this will help to protect them to some degree.

Bedtime rules
One way to help your lips recover from their hard day's work is to lather them with petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly is usually one of the main ingredients in lip balm, mind you during the day, you may look pretty weird if you smoother your lips with a good millimetre of it. So at night, when no one can see you, pack it on, so it stays on during sleep. This will help to keep the natural moisture in, and prevent any further water loss.

Other tips for healthy lips!

Your lips will reflect the health of your body -
So always:
  • Drink plenty of water (at least 2 litres a day), if you are dehydrated your lips will be one of the first things to let you know, by drying out.
  • Eat lots of fruit and vegies, these will increase your vitamin intake, which adds to the help of your skin, including your lips.
  • Don't drink too much alcohol. Because alcohol dehydrates your body, it will dehydrate your lips.
  • The chemicals in cigarette smoke do not help the health of your lips. So if you want healthy lips here's another reason to quit.
  • And of course, don't forget when you kiss a lot, apply lip balm on the hours away from your partner, as intensive kissing can be abrasive to lips (& you definitely need soft
    beautiful lips to kiss your man with)!

- Louise Ganey