Winter can be unkind to the skin, especially around the nose and lips. When dry air, cooler weather, colds, and ‘flu can cause redness and inflammation. The cold air and low humidity leave the skin feeling drier, rougher, and less supple during the cooler months.
As the skin of the mouth and nose is thinner, it has less reserve when the season changes. Making it more susceptible to the damage that can occur. Add to this, watery mucous with frequent nose blowing from a cold, the flu or not to mention Covid-19 which leaves this area more exposed, and our poor nose and lip area don’t stand a chance.
Whether the cause is the cold, wearing a mask, or something else, here are ways to protect your lips and nose:
- Protect the lips with a lubricating barrier that helps lock natural moisturisers in the lips. Apply regularly.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. This helps keep the skin hydrated and mucous thin. Consider using a humidifier or steam to add moisture and ease congestion.
- Avoid licking your lips, this can exacerbate the problem. “As the saliva evaporates it takes the moisture out of lip tissue.
- Furthermore, bacteria in saliva can irritate the skin, and enzymes in saliva can break down the oils or moisturizers in your lip balm.”
- Only blow the nose when you have to and use soft tissues, ideally infused with aloe vera or calendula. Gently pat rather than wipe.
- Gently exfoliate. Exfoliators should increase cell turnover and eliminate dead skin without upsetting the balance of natural oils. Use gentle exfoliation weekly – you will notice smoother lips that are more able to absorb moisturising ingredients in any products you apply.
- Apply your lip balm or a treatment overnight. “During the day, our skin is busy fighting off potential irritants, UVB/UVA rays, etc.
- At night the focus is on recovery and regeneration and products applied at night can penetrate better for an enhanced effect.”
- Avoid matte lipsticks. The lack of oils or emollients makes matte lipsticks more drying which can aggravate chapped lips.
- If you wear a mask choose the right type of mask. Light cotton or silk creates less friction and is less likely to irritate the skin.
Which lip balm to use?
With hundreds of lip balms on the market, how do know which to choose? Any moisturising balm will help protect the skin. and recommends looking for one that contains petroleum jelly, castor oil, shea or cocoa butter and vitamin E. Apply regularly, several times a day, including before and after each time you blow your nose.
The increase in temperature and humidity under the mask also serves to dry the lips. This, combined with the natural drying out of the lips in the cooler months coupled with the fact that mask-wearing generally results in less water drinking throughout the day, ultimately leads to dry chapped lips.
Cheilitis, a medical term for inflammation of the lips, characterised by dryness, redness, cracking, and even itching, has been reported as a consequence of mask-wearing by healthcare workers. It typically presents with symptoms of tightness and chapping, followed by a burning sensation and itching. The most common signs are flaking, scaling, and swelling.
For more information, please visit https://www.ivohealth.co.za