Harmattan is here; that’s no longer news!
If there is a body part that gets easily affected (if not most affected) by the extremely dry weather, it’s your lips.
Chapped lips simply mean dry, cracked or rough, and sometimes sore lips.
Due to the cold winds that comes with the harmattan season, our lips get easily dry and sometimes get cracked, sore, scaly and might eventually peel off. The truth is; if you do not take care of your lips, they can get dry and scaly at any time of the year but it is usually worse during this period.
The main cause of this is that the cold winds strip your skin off its natural oils. Just as we take extra care of our skin during harmattan, so also should we take care of our lips.
How to Treat Chapped Lips
Below are some tips that will help keep your lips soft and smooth.
Make lip balm your best friend
The essence of a lip balm is to moisturize your lip. It replenishes your skin with as much moisture as it needs.
Pick a balm that is either an emollient or a humectant. You should look out for ingredients such as petroleum and dimethicione. Petroleum seals in moisture within the layers of your skin while dimethicione seals and covers up cracks in your lips.
You can also make use of natural moisturizers, such as shea butter, olive oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, rosehip oil, or coconut oil, to treat chapped lips. They hydrate your lips and can last for a long while. They also serve as a shield for your lips, to protect them from any damage that might occur.
Apply a moisturizer as often as possible
Your lip moisturizer or lip balm should always be with you at all time.
Whatever product you decide to use, make sure that you apply it on your lips before you begin your regular makeup routine. It is also necessary that you apply it as often as you can so that your lips can stay fully protected throughout the day.
You could buy more than one balm. One should always be in your purse, one could be in your car, another in your office desk, and one on your night stand in your bedroom so you can reach for it at any time.
It is advisable that you apply more moisturizer on your lips at night so that your lips stay fully protected throughout the night.
Never forget to exfoliate
Exfoliation is necessary for your skin because it removes dead skin cells and stimulates the growth of new and healthy cells.
Lips that are chapped can become very rough and begin to peel off. Exfoliating your lips prevents them from peeling off unnecessarily.
You can get a lip exfoliator, but if you want to go natural, make a paste out of honey and sugar and apply on your lips.
Do not lick your lips
Subconsciously, when we realize that our lips are dry, we try to provide them with moisture by licking our lips. But this is absolutely not ideal for your lips.
This is because, instead of providing moisture, it further dries up your lips. When you lick them continuously, the saliva from your mouth strips your skin off its natural oils.
Also, saliva evaporates very fast and this makes your lips drier than they were before you licked them. Trust me on this!
Keep your hands off your lips
For people that have flaky lips, it is very tempting to pick at them. Resist this temptation.
When you keep touching your lips, you might forcefully peel off your skin and this is not only painful but creates a sore on your lips.
So, if you notice your lips breaking, just apply a lip balm and let it be.
Drink a lot of water
One of the ways of moisturizing your skin from the inside is by drinking lots of water. It is no news that water keeps your skin hydrated. You could also eat fruits and vegetables that contain a large quantity of water e.g. cucumber and watermelon.
Get a humidifier
The work of a humidifier is to keep the atmosphere in your room very moist. If your lips are dry because of the extreme dry weather, a humidifier is a great choice not just for your lips but for your skin in general.
By keeping the atmosphere moist, a humidifier moistens your lips and prevents them from drying up.
You can easily find one online (Jumia, Amazon, etc), and they’re cheap.
Stay away from acidic foods or fruits
This is very important. The foods or fruits pass through your lips and if they contain acidic content then they gradually dry up your lips as you consume them. Stay away from citrus fruits especially.
Oranges, tangerine, lemon, grapefruit, etc. should not be eaten at this period (or at least not so much). They simply make your lips drier.
Keep your lips protected
Your lips should be protected from the harsh weather condition. Whenever you step out in the cold, ensure that you cover your mouth with a scarf or a ski mask.
Also, you need to make sure that the lip balm you use contains sunscreen. This protects your lips from the heat of the sun, prevents sun burns and dryness.
Visit a doctor
This advice is only necessary when you have exhausted all options for treating your chapped lips, but it refuses to heal.
If the dryness or peeling persists, it might be a symptom of something else — an infection or an illness. However, this is only for very extreme cases of chapped lips.
As you go through this harmattan season, treat your lips with care.
All you need to do is follow the tips that I have explained above and you wouldn’t have to worry about developing chapped lips this harmattan.
Most importantly though; make sure that you have a balm or moisturizer with you at all times, whether it is natural or not.