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4 Unexpected Ways You’re Damaging Your Lips

in Woman

Lips get a raw deal.

They’re thin-skinned, lacking in oil glands, and exposed to the elements. As a result, they’re easily chapped. Then there’s the age factor: As we get older, lips become smaller and drier and lose color. But most women don’t make lip care a big part of their beauty routine—and they should. Here’s your plan for a healthier, smoother pout.

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Hydrate from the Inside Out

Dry lips can be one of the first signs that you aren’t drinking enough water. They can also show you’re stressed—which messes with your body, depleting it of essential nutrients, including water.

Rehydrating doesn’t have to mean chugging eight glasses of H2O. Herbal teas, coconut water, and even fruits and veggies with a high water content (melon, cucumber) can count toward your overall intake. The ideal amount is different for everyone, but if your urine is clear to pale yellow (and your lips are less dry), you’re doing a pretty good job.

Skip the Stick

That waxy balm you obsessively apply? While it’s great for protecting against moisture loss, it doesn’t actually get absorbed into lip skin to add any hydration. And if it has menthol or camphor in it, it can irritate and dry out lips further!

Instead, pick a creamy or ointment-like treatment that contains a mix of humectants (such as hyaluronic acid or squalane, which draw water from the atmosphere into the skin) and occlusives (like shea butter and avocado and jojoba oils, which help seal in hydration). Use eye cream—which includes humectants and occlusives—as a lip treatment. It’s the perfect not-too-greasy texture to wear under lipstick. Apply your cream or ointment to lips morning and night and anytime they feel dry.

Flake Off

To slough off rough skin, prep lips with a moisturizing balm or facial oil and lightly brush away any scaly patches with a soft-bristle toothbrush. It works like a charm. You can also use a little brown sugar and olive or coconut oil and rub it on with your fingertip for a few seconds. (Just don’t use salt—it will sting cracked skin.) Rinse lips clean and finish with another coating of your balm. Exfoliate lip skin once a week, tops. Any more can turn them raw.

Protect Those Babies

If your lip or eye cream doesn’t contain a broad-spectrum SPF, during the daylight hours top it with a balm or lipstick that contains at least SPF 15 (make it SPF 30 if you’re hitting the beach).

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