The lips are a conspicuous component of the human face: not only are they important in physical attraction and erogenous when used in kissing and other acts of intimacy; they can be an important indicator of health.
The lips take a lot of abuse throughout the day: they’re constantly exposed to irritants such as the tip of the tongue; food and drinks; environmental pollutants; sun, cold, wind and so on. This means they can become chapped and unhealthy looking and therefore mar the appearance of an otherwise attractive face. Chapped lips can also become prone to infection, further worsening the situation.
DID YOU KNOW? The upper and lower lips are referred to as the Labium superius oris and Labium inferius oris respectively.
So how can you keep your lips looking lush and healthy?
Unless you have a specific medical condition that affects the lips, then maintaining healthy looking lips is easier than you might think. It simply comes down to developing some simple habits, which are:
1. Stay Hydrated
Simple though it may seem, being dehydrated is one of the main causes of dry looking lips. Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day (drinks such as soda, tea and coffee don’t count) and try and introduce water-rich foods into your diet if you’re not doing so already. Water-rich foods can include fruits such as melons, grapes, cucumbers and mangos.
2. Use a Good Lip Balm
Dry, warm air has a tendency to dry out your lips, which you will probably bear witness to if you live in hot, desert-like climate. Licking your lips exacerbates the situation because saliva evaporates quickly, leaving them drier than before, and the enzymes that help your saliva clean your mouth and digest food are harsh for your lips.
A lip balm helps to lock in the moisture in your lips by creating a waterproof layer which helps prevent evaporation and also provides a barrier to saliva getting through to the surface of the lips. Popular and effective lip balms such as Nivea Lip Butter also contain nourishing ingredients such as almond oil and vitamin E which can aid in conditioning in the lips, further enhancing their appearance. If you live in a lower latitude country where the sun is stronger, it is advisable to use a lip balm with sun protection (SP 15 or above) and if you’re a lip licker, try and avoid using a flavoured lip balm as this will only increase your desire to do so.
3. Exfoliate Your Lips Before Bedtime
Just as exfoliating the skin helps to remove dead skin cells and stimulate rejuvenation of new cells, exfoliating the lips can do the same. The way to do this is simply using a moist toothbrush (without toothpaste on it of course) and softly buff your lips for about half a minute. Another variation on this is to use sugar or a homemade scrub of honey, sugar, and olive oil. Simply rub the mixture on your lips and allow it to sit for several minutes before washing off with cool water.
If you follow the above tips, your lips will look healthier, fuller and sexier!
In addition to the above tips, here are some more tips that are worth reading as they will hinder your efforts to achieve healthy lips if you neglect them:
- Don’t bite your lips – it is a common habit for people to bite their lips when they’re anxious. If you’re one of these people, try using chewing gum to satisfy this urge because biting your lips causes cracking and can create open sores that are prone to infection
- Ladies – use only good quality, moisturising lipsticks. Search for key ingredients such as shea or cocoa butter extracts and any type of moisturising oil such as coconut and/or olive oil
- Try not to let any food bits or substances touch your lips while eating, especially processed foods and cooking oil as they can irritate your lips
- Exercise your lips – facial exercises can increase blood circulation, which will give you a healthy glow, and it can improve the tone, texture and shape of your facial skin and lips
If your lips do not improve in appearance after following the above tips for a few weeks, then it is probably time to consult your doctor as some lip conditions can be a sign of an underlying issue such as infection or a nutritional deficiency.