Keep Your Lips Healthy and Juicy Year-Round in 3 Easy Steps

So long dry, chapped lips.

Every season brings along its set of lip concerns. In colder months, you may experience severely chapped lips, while in warmer months, your lips may get dehydrated or sunburnt. To prevent any woes, it’s important to take care of our lips the same way we care for our faces and bodies.

Now, you don’t need to invest in a 10-step routine just for your lips—there are some easy tips that you can (and should) be doing to keep your lips smooth, soft, moisturized, and comfortable. Here, we spoke with a board-certified dermatologist to learn how to properly care for your lips, including why it’s necessary and what you need. Keep reading for an easy three-step lip care routine you should be doing all year.

Why is it important to take care of our lips?

“Our lips are a unique and sensitive part of the body because they do not have any sweat glands,” says Miami-based board-certified dermatologist Annie Gonzalez M.D.  The lack of sweat glands is why they tend to get dry and chapped easier than other parts of the body, since they don’t produce their own moisture. “In addition, the lips are constantly exposed to different environmental elements, whether it’s cold air or the hot sun,” she adds. That said, if you want healthy-looking lips, you have to take care of them the right way. 

An Easy Lip Care Routine:

Step 1: Exfoliate

“The first step in a lip care routine should be exfoliation,” says Dr. Gonzalez. Exfoliating helps slough away any dead skin and can help revive chapped lips. Dr. Gonzalez says to pick a formula with exfoliating and moisturizing ingredients. “Pick an exfoliating agent such as sugar and also look for moisturizing ingredients, like beeswax, shea butter, oil, and honey.” A gentle exfoliator worth trying is the Sara Happ The Lip Scrub. Apply a small amount onto your lips and massage the product in circular motions with firm pressure before washing it off with lukewarm water. 

Step 2: Moisturizer

Moisturizing the right way will make a big difference in the appearance of your lips. It’s best to opt for a lip balm with hydrating ingredients, similar to the ones previously mentioned. You’ll also want to look for formulas with humectants and occlusives. Humectants, such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin, pull water to the surface of the skin to make your complexion plump and hydrated. Occlusives, like petroleum jelly, seal in that moisture and prevent transepidermal water loss which could make your lips feel dry.

“It’s also wise to choose a lip balm that contains SPF, so you can moisturize your lips and protect them from the sun at the same time,” says Dr. Gonzalez. The Aquaphor Lip Protectant with SPF 30 is our pick as it helps relieve chapped, dry lips while offering sun protection.

Step 3: Mask

For extra soft lips, add an overnight lip mask to your daily routine. “Lip masks are perfect for those who suffer from severely dry and chapped lips,” says Dr. Gonzalez. Masks help to provide maximum moisture, so you wake up with plump, soft lips in the morning. The Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is formulated with hyaluronic acid to moisturize and protect your lips.

How often should we care for our lips?

Although lip care is necessary, Dr. Gonzalez says not to overdo it. “Repetitive application of lip balm can cause the opposite effect to what you are looking for,” she says. “Lip balm sometimes leads us to lick our lips more often, which causes the lips to become more dry and chapped. Also, constantly swiping lip balm interferes with the lips’ natural process of adjusting to environmental changes.”

To avoid any adverse effects, Dr. Gonzalez says lip balm should be applied when you wake up, after you eat or drink, and when you’re going to bed. Similarly, over-exfoliating is a big no-no since lips are already sensitive. Stick to scrubbing them one to three times a week, at most.