How to Repair Dry Lips from Mask Wearing
Face masks have become the norm for most of us around the world now and its almost hard to imagine life without them, or a time where they weren’t really needed. As much as they offer protection from viruses and particles that can spread through the air, they can bring on some issues for those especially with sensitive skin. Even fluctuations in weather can mean that everything going on inside of your face mask can cause some kind of irritation.
We do need to be safe though, so as much as we all can’t wait for the world to get to a point where mask wearing is a thing of the past, we must do what we can to protect ourselves and those around us. The issue then, is how to make sure we look after what’s underneath at the same time – mainly our lips, as they will probably be feeling a little different now and may need some repair and TLC to get them feeling comfortable again and looking smooth and silky once more.
HOW THEY FEEL
Many cosmetic doctors have reported increases in patients needing treatment for their excessively dry lips over the past year, and it’s no surprise that the increase is due to wearing masks for a long period of time. It seems like a fair price to pay for healthy bodies in exchange for a little bit of dryness, but when you have experienced the soreness of dry or chapped lips you will know that it can be frustrating and painful for a long time while they are in a constant state of disrepair and it feels like fighting an uphill battle to get them feeling better again.
Soreness is a good word for how they feel, but it can also cause sharp tingling, tightness and at their worst, throbbing pain throughout the lips. This can mean difficulties eating or drinking and sometimes talking or smiling can be a chore when your lips are dry and sore.
The problem is that underneath the mask excess moisture builds up and combines with warmth in heavy doses to build up humidity, and this draws liquid from the lips meaning an increasing loss of water from the surface of them. This results in dry and cracked lips after some time.
HOW THEY LOOK
Varying from person to person, sore lips can go from one extreme to the other. For some it may be that their lips look smooth apart from a few sore cracks in the little creases at the plumpest part of the lips; for others sore lips looks like discolouration with flaky skin and even redness around the lip line as a result of the excessive moisture and heat.
The dryness is mostly characterised by dry skin that feels rough to the touch, but there could be some visible swelling and also bleeding when cracks get really bad. Healthy lips should look plump but not swollen, should feel bouncy to the touch and be consistent in colour depending on skin tone, without pale or purple corners that could indicate problems within the layers of skin. Lip lines should be defined, although with age this definition tends to fade a little, but healthy lips shouldn’t have sores or redness around the outer edges.
HOW TO REPAIR THE DAMAGE
There unfortunately a miracle cure for dry lips that will get them back in great condition in one day, but there are some steps you can take to bring those lips back to life and have them looking and feeling silky smooth again and even though it may require some commitment, it will be worth it in the long run. Hopefully this can help you to introduce a few new habits that will ensure longer lasting healthy lips, even when wearing a face mask is part of your daily life.
STEP 1. WEAR THE RIGHT MASK
It’s all in the material when it comes to masks. Now, obviously the recommended surgical masks work really well and give plenty of space between the moth and the face, but a lot of the time those aren’t available to everyone and it can also become a case of wanting to buy a mask that compliments an outfit, is a favourite colour or doesn’t irritate the ears when wearing one all day. The main thing is that it offers protection against particles exhaled from those close to you, but also to think about the material and how close the mask sits to the mouth as this is what can cause dryness to get worse.
When picking your masks aim for something cotton based that doesn’t sit so close to the face, as this can end up causing friction and add to your dry lip problems. Also be sure to dispose of masks designed for one wear and to wash your reusable masks after each use – for your safety and to make sure there isn’t a build up of bacteria waiting to cause irritation or infection around the mouth.
STEP 2. CHOOSE A REGULAR WEAR LIP BALM
If you suffer from dry lips regularly then you probably already have your favourite lip balm on stand-by, but if many hours of mask wearing have caused your lip problems recently you may want to pick a lip balm that soothes the skin, but not know what to go for.
The tip is to aim for something with antioxidant properties that provides instant and long-lasting relief from bouts of dry or chapped lips, and lip balms containing petroleum jelly or natural beeswax are really good for dry lips and locking in moisture. The thing to avoid when picking your regular wear lip balm is menthol and other fruity flavoured balms. The problem with menthol and mint is it very drying in nature, so your lips could end up feeling sorer afterward, even though the instant, cooling relief might feel great initially. With fruity flavours there tends to be the temptation to lick the lips which is also not good for lips, dry OR healthy! The lips are extremely sensitive body parts, and any additives that aren’t necessary will hinder their recovery.
STEP 3. LOOK INTO NATURAL REMEDIES
If lip balm isn’t your thing and you are looking for something on the natural side, then you could look into some homemade or natural remedies to help restore your lips’ health. Some ingredients can be great for an instant cooling and soothing sensation and others may have long-term effects that boost your lips natural layers back to normal without the worry of dryness creeping in for as long as you use them.
You may have heard of using cucumber for the eyes and puffy skin around them, but did you know that cucumber is an all-round good source of water and cooling effects for pretty much anywhere on the body. Lips could use a little soak from cucumber from time to time so next time you need to take a pampering break, pop a slice or two of cucumber on the lips for that added comfort.
Aloe Vera is a godsend in many aspects but it’s soothing and antioxidant properties can do wonders for dry and damaged lips. If you can get your hands on a plant and break away a leaf to reveal the gel, apply a small amount to the lips and leave it there for 20 minutes to give them a break from the pain and dryness that’s been occurring recently. This is especially effective if you have dry lips as a result of being out in the sun too long. Sunburned lips love aloe vera.
Coconut oil is another one of those magical products that helps out the body in more ways than one. As the gift that keeps on giving, coconut oil is great when applied to lips to deal with any inflammation issues and to sooth out dry skin. It is still an oil though so be careful using this as a lip balm that you want to wear outdoors, especially on sunny days as it can cause harm to your lips making them more susceptible to sun burn.
There are quire a few natural options for dry lips and that work as a lip balm, but they may be harder to get your hands on or messy to apply, so choose wisely and make sure that you give each thing a chance to work before closing the door on it.
STEP 4. EXFOLIATE YOUR LIPS
This is a delicate job especially when your lips are sore, so it may be best to treat them first and then begin your lip exfoliation journey once they stop feeling so tender and chapped. Our bodies have an amazing way of regenerating skin cells when they become damaged, but this usually results in some scabbing which is there to protect the inner layers. If you have sores or scabs, avoid exfoliation until they have mended.
Exfoliating the lips is a lot different to exfoliating the legs say, as the skin is so much thinner and easier to damage on the mouth. A good time to do it is after a warm shower or bath so that the skin is looser and warmer, making it easy to scrub away dead cells. You can take a warm, damp cotton cloth and rub in circular motions around the lips to remove dry skin, just be gentle and careful not to aggravate any areas that are really sore or suffering from cracks.
Follow up with a moisturising lip balm and repeat the process no less than one week later to see some amazing results. Exfoliation isn’t just about getting rid of dry skin though, as it also helps with circulation. If you’ve always wished for plumper lips with a more naturally vibrant colour then you will see exactly this after exfoliating them. Just don’t overdo it, trust in the process and start to feel the smooth layers of skin on the lips once more.
STEP 5. STAY HYDRATED
This should go without saying, but drinking water is the most important thing you can do for your body and that includes your lips. This doesn’t mean making a coffee in the morning and saying that it contains water, so you’ve had your daily dose, it means keeping up with regular glasses or containers of water so that your body is getting the right intake to stay hydrated.
Your hair, fingers, skin and eyes can always be counted on to let you know when you’ve not had enough water each day, by causing wrinkles, dryness of the skin, lack-lustre hair and tired looking or red eyes. If you feel thirsty or have a dry mouth then it’s time to get a glass of the good stuff in and ensure that every part of you feels nourished with water. Your lips will be one of the first things to feel dry when you are thirsty so don’t give them the chance to get to a damaged state or to get worse when you are taking important steps to repair them from dryness after wearing a mask for so long.
STEP 6. LOOK FOR A LONG-TERM SOLUTION TO LIP REPAIR
When your lips are only partially responding to your treatments or if you are concerned about their state of repair currently, you may want to think about long-term solutions to repair the dryness or inflammation. A cooling repaid balm would help out, as it has many of the above steps rolled into one tiny package.
Take the XLips EGF Intensive Care Lip Balm as an example. It packs more of a punch than regular lip balms as it isn’t just about keeping your lips healthy but repairing them from any long-term damage that may have been caused, whether that’s from over-exposure to the sun or wearing masks, an intensive care lip balm is designed to be worn overnight and spend many hours on your lips to really get the chance to sink in and do some of the hard work for you. With botanical extracts but remaining unscented, it is such a good thing to use for your lips when they need a little more work to get them back into shape.