Monday, August 6, 2012

My Dry Lip Battle

Here's the general tips for dealing with lip dryness:

  • If it's winter, expect you're going to have chapping when you don't otherwise due to the low humidity (air holds less water at lower temperatures)
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Keep a lip balm on lips 
  • Wear balm at night
  • Exfoliate with washcloth/toothbrush/sugar/etc
  • Look for things that may be drying lips out, certain toothpaste or lip products
  • Don't lick your lips

So there are dry lips, and then there are my lips.  I should clarify though, 98% of the dryness is in my lower lip.  It is the problem child.  I tended to get frustrated with my lips and for many years I would let them get very dry, then all the stabbing dry skin would make me angry and I'd end up ripping skin off.  I also picked at my lips when having anxiety.  So this led to many years of never-ending dryness and bleeding and more dryness and more bleeding.  Finally some 5 or 6 years ago, I Made a Decision.  I would try 100% to stop the cycle.

 For other various reasons, I have modified my water intake to be high for a couple years at a time.  It never made a difference on lip moisture.  I was determined to stop chewing on my lips and especially when you have a nervous habit, it can be difficult to break.  Just like stopping the habit of picking my face or touching it, I was successful eventually.  I very rarely do it anymore!  I knew that if I stopped chewing, I wouldn't get any saliva on my lips which is terrible for drying them out as well.  I can't stand licking my lips if *any* product is on them, I hate tasting lip goo, so that was never an issue.

I made sure to keep Chapstick near me and put some on occasionally.  That helped, but not much as I always *occasionally* used lip balm.  Next stop, keeping lip balm on my lips all day.  To my surprise, I could have smooth lips occasionally with these measures!  But then I reached a point where even with all day Chapstick, I was having a fair amount of dryness.  I stayed at this level for quite a few years.  At some point I added a thick balm before going to sleep.

I reached a plateau a couple years ago where I had lip products on every waking hour and before going to bed, but my lips were still peeling.  If I left them dry for 30-45 minutes, they'd start drying up.  I could exfoliate the night before, keep balm on them, mid-morning the next day they're peeling again.  I found Burt's Bees wasn't helping anymore and I could feel my lips getting that sore dry feeling underneath the balm.

Just to be sure I didn't have some sort of Condition, I asked the dermatologist while there for acne stuff and she said some people just have dry lips.  I have a pet theory that is not substantiated by any data, but I do wonder if either my lower lip never produced enough oil to keep moisturized or it got wonkered by the constant injury over the years.

The great frustration with this would be (other than that I need lip balm within arm's reach at all times) wearing color lip products.  I always put balm on first, but with any lipstick or gloss I'd still end up with lip flakes developing.  My regular routine involved wiping lip products off with a napkin before lunch and having color and flakes come off, ugh.

But one week, I stopped seeing the flakes.  This is just so odd and hard for me to believe, but once I started using the Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Sweetheart, I wasn't peeling.  I could wear a lipstick underneath the gloss, still no peeling.  I don't know what to say, but it seems to work.  So, there is hope.  And it does seem most issues work with the standard treatment above.  But if those things don't work for you, maybe you can also find your miracle product!  What have you tried, and what things worked?  I'd love to hear!

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