Fun fact: I once made out with a kid who literally cut me with his mouth. He was my high school boyfriend, and — despite the fact that we lived in the humid and sunshine-y state of Florida — winter had gotten to him. Well, it had gotten to his lips. And as we made out in the front seat of his pick-up truck and I pretended I wasn't rubbing my face against what felt like sandpaper, his mouth scraped and cut mine until my lips straight-up started bleeding. If only homeboy had Googled how to get rid of chapped lips fast.
Because spoiler alert, you guys: there are all sorts of hacks, tricks, and products designed to give you soft, kissable lips in no time at all. And even though peak dating season happens to correspond with peak chapped lips season (because the universe just loves to mess with us), you don't have to worry about cutting anyone with your mouth, friends!
Here are three easy (and speedy!) ways to avoid getting chapped lips this winter, or help repair them in a pinch, thanks to medical professionals and the power of Pinterest. They're shockingly similar to those for a healthy sex life — you should use protection, use lube, and don't be afraid to get a little rough.
Always Use Protection
"The skin on your lips is among the most sensitive on the body," explains Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai. "[It] is very thin and does not contain as many oil or sweat glands... Plus, it is constantly exposed to saliva from licking your lips as well as harsh weather from the environment."
In other words, our lips are super sensitive, but we're constantly exposing them to elements and environments that are going to dry them out. Dr. Zeichner says the secret to keeping them safe is using a lip balm or moisturizer with waxes and oils "to form a protective seal over the skin."
His personal rec is Neutrogena Norwegian Lip Balm, which you can pick up for a few bucks at any drug store (BRB, going to stock up right now). It's also got SPF 15 sunscreen and helps guard your skin from harmful UV rays, so it'll keep your lips supple and safe during the sunnier months as well.
Lube 'Em Up
All right, let's say you've failed to protect your lips all winter and your mouth has reached sandpaper level dryness, but you've got a hot date tomorrow night. Don't panic — your lips can still be saved!
"In cases of severe dryness or cracking, [if] a stick just isn’t cutting it, look for an occlusive petrolatum-based ointment to form a occlusive barrier to the environment," says Dr. Zeichner.
Basically, just try to smother your mouth in a lubricating ointment like Vaseline, Aquaphor, or Dr. Zeichner's rec, CeraVe Healing Ointment (which you can also buy at most drug stores for just three dollars a tube), and you'll be golden.
Get A Little Rough
If the skin on your lips is coming off in chunks (gross, I know, but we've all been there), you might also want to throw an exfoliating scrub into your lip care routine. Brands like Lush make a ton of natural — and surprisingly tasty — lip scrubs, but feel free to mix one up yourself with a couple of ingredients from your kitchen, like sugar and coconut oil.
Just rub your DIY or store-bought scrub across your lips in a circular motion, let it sit for 30 seconds or so, and then wipe it away with a moist washcloth. Try doing this on a weekly basis if you want to avoid those lip chunks in the future.
Prepare to have the lips of a goddess and pucker up.
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