The harmattan has stayed with us for awhile now and some people have started complaining of some of its impacts such as broken lips, cracked heels and dry skin. When the dry air affects the lips, they begin to tear little by little and this could lead to bleeding.
From our anatomy, our skin is made up of sebaceous glands which produce sebum- an oily secretion that feeds into the hair follicles. The sebum flows up through the follicles and spreads out over the skin surface, keeping the hair and skin soft, supple, and water-repellent. Also, located at the outermost epidermal layer is a protective layer called the stratum corneum. This layer protects the skin from bacteria assault, moisture loss, heat and light damage.
The skin on the lips is different from the skin on other parts of the body. They are thin and lack the protective layers and are thus vulnerable to bacteria attack and UV damage. Because of these also, they loss moisture much faster than other areas of the body. So, keeping them moist, pliable and attractive may seem difficult but here are simple tips to help you achieve this.
1. Increase your daily water intake: to keep your lips soft and moist you need to drink lots of water. Don’t wait until you are thirsty before you grab a glass of water. Make it a habit to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.
2.Stop licking your lips: you probably think you are doing yourself some good by licking your lips. Unfortunately,, this will worsen your condition because the moisture you add by frequently licking your lips evaporates in seconds thus drying them out even more quickly. Another reason why you shouldn’t lick your lips is because the digestive enzymes in saliva would have similar effects on the lips.
3. Apply Lip Balms: lip balms or lip salves are important in easing dry lips. They contain ingredients like paraffin, petroleum, camphor, sunscreen, among others which provide an occlusive layer on the lip surface. This layer closes up moisture in lips and protects them from the external environment.
4. Things to avoid: some toothpastes, facial cleansers, shampoos, body wash, household soaps, makeups, detergents, lipsticks are made of Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and guaiazulene. These chemicals causes skin, scalp and gum irritation, hormonal imbalance and poor eye development in children. Furthermore, most of the beauty and dental hygiene products contain the anti-oxidants propyl gallate and phenyl salicyclate. These chemicals could cause allergic reactions manifesting as dry lips in most people. Therefore, if your dry lips persists after all efforts to treat them proved abortive check the ingredients of the dental or beauty products you are using. If they contain Propyl Gallate or Phenyl Salicyclate, try changing them.
5. Don’t breath through your mouth: the nose purifies air and make them warm and moist before they are inhaled into the lungs. By breathing through your mouth, you are taking in the air in their unfiltered state and this can disrupt your natural body mechanisms, leading to symptoms such as dry lips, dry mouth, bad breath, gingivitis, gum disease, sore throat, among others. If you have a medical condition that makes it difficult for you to breath through your nose, quickly see a doctor or a myofunctionl therapist to help you out.
6. Eat balanced diet: The place of balance diet for optima health cannot be over-flogged. Leafy vegetables, diary products, nuts and fruits are essential sources of vitamins and minerals needed for skin health. They also increase collagen production which makes the lips suppler and fuller.
7. Exfoliate your lips: exfoliating your lips removes the dead outer layers, revealing the tender skin beneath. To achieve this, you can either gently rub your lips with a dampened washcloth or a lip balm. Olive oil and papaya are also good exfoliants, they help to keep the lips moist and supple.
8. Get a Humidifier: drinking enough water during harmattan may not be enough to give your lips that attractive look you desire. Therefore, it is a good idea to invest in a humidifier. A humidifier keeps the air around you moist.
If after trying any of these and your dry or cracked lips persist you may need to see a dentist as some dry lips may be as a result of dental problems.