How To Beat Chapped Lips (And A DIY Remedy)

remedy for chapped lipsDry, chapped lips are uncomfortable and sometimes painful, and once the weather starts to change, everyone suffers. No one likes the look of flaky, dry skin all over your mouth. So I have a few tips to help you keep your lips soft and smooth if you get stuck under the mistletoe.

I have struggled with chronic dry lips for years, and even year round. Once the cooler temps hit, my lips would dry up and it seemed like there would be nothing that would solve my problem. Even while I was working at Sephora and had access to every lip balm in the world, I still couldn’t find anything that would solve my chronic chapped lips (called cheilitis, for those skin care nerds out there). My lips would be raw from my lower lip to my nose. So what’s a girl to do?

Here’s what I finally figured out.

Stop using products with sodium lauryl sulfate. Or, even better, all sulfates. Many products are touting their sulfate-free status these days, giving the impression that sulfates are evil ingredients. They are not, but they are heavy surfactants (cleansing agents) that can irritate delicate skin. If your skin is already irritated, it can make that irritation worse. Think of it like salt – not bad on popcorn or potato chips, even necessary, but boy does it sting if you get it in an open wound. Some people may have a higher sensitivity to sulfates and the sulfates themselves may cause the irritation. This was my problem. I stopped using a toothpaste with sulfates and my severely chapped lips disappeared within a week. Check your toothpaste and face wash for sulfates and switch it up if necessary. I switched to Sensodyne, which is easy to find at any drugstore. You’re looking for ingredients that have the word “sulfate” in them: sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate.

Consider allergic reactions. The lips are thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of the body, so I’ve encountered plenty of people who have lip-specific allergies. Try to use one lip balm for a few weeks and see if the condition subsides. If it doesn’t, try a different one, with a different set of ingredients. Once you’ve used a few, you should be able to figure out from the ingredients if you have an allergy. Look at the ingredients list on all the lip balms and try to find the common ingredients.

Severe chapped lips (think lips that crack and bleed, chapping, and irritation beyond your lip line) may actually be caused by a medical condition. Anyone who’s ever taken Accutane knows that it can cause some serious chapping. What I didn’t know? People who are prone to fever blisters and canker sores can also suffer from chronic chapped lips. If that’s you, get to a doctor. You’ll probably want a diagnosis and a prescription in order to get relief. Check out this article from Dr. Audrey Kunin who breaks down hidden causes of chapped lips on Dr. Oz’s website.

Try my DIY lip scrub. It’s so easy, and I even made a video for you. Remember, you can’t scrub away an irritation, so if your lips are swollen, inflamed, hurting, tender to the touch, don’t scrub. Use a product like Aquaphor for the time being, and if the irritation doesn’t subside within a week, you may want to see a doc.

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Video: Get Bronzed the Healthy Way

 

Tips for Getting a Great Sunless Tan for Your Face

When I self-tan my face, I make sure to contour where I can. Contouring is a great way to give your face extra definition, make it seem thinner, or make something that you don’t like appear less noticeable. It also helps create a natural glow. If you apply the self tanner in one even layer, it can make your skin look flat and dull… even dirty if you over do it! Applying it with a contour looks healthier and more realistic. Remember to start light and build your bronze. It’s always easier to add more contour than to take it away.

I highly recommend that you check out this video tutorial or this quickie cheat sheet from Cara of the MaskCara blog. She explains contouring really well and gives some great step by step pointers. I’ve also pinned her contouring tips to my Pinterest page on my Beautify board, along with a few others, so follow me there to get easy access.

Make sure you start with freshly exfoliated skin. The tan will develop in the uppermost layers of the skin so you want to work on the freshest layers possible. You don’t want to use anything irritating or deeply exfoliating. A gentle peel the night before, or a glycolic wash before applying is perfect. I also sometimes like to apply a super light oil free moisturizer or Body Drench Body Quench Quick Tan airbrush tanninghydrating serum. It gives you a bit of a buffer zone.

Spray in wide circles, aiming for the outside perimeter of the face. Make sure to hit the neck. The aerosol self-tanner I love is Body Drench Quick Tan Instant Self Tanner Spray. Don’t be scared. Aerosols are so easy to use.

Clarins Liquid Bronze Self TanningUsing a compact but soft brush, apply small amounts of the self tanner (gels work best in this case) as you would contour your face… under the cheek bones, one the neck, under the chin, and around the sides of the forehead. The Sun Gelee I used for the contouring is from Spray di Sole and I love it. Another to try is Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanning. It’s not tinted, but it’s easy to work with a gives a nice color.

Make sure to layer. Less is more. Don’t be an oompa-loompa. Keep in mind that the tan will develop after several hours. Don’t get wet in that amount of time. Check out my before and after shot to get an idea of how much my color developed after I finished filming the tutorial.

After the video and the next day
After the video and the next day

 

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Video: Eye Massage and Lymph Drainage for Dark Circles and Puffiness

I chose to use my Rodan and Fields Redefine Multi Function eye cream as my massage medium. I like this eye cream because of the creamy texture, and also because it has many beneficial ingredients. You want to choose something that is creamy and has a little slip to it, so you can glide across the skin without dragging or pulling.

  • Apply the eye cream or a tiny bit of coconut or jojoba oil all around the eye area.
  • Using gentle pressure, sweep upward on the brows. Massage the frown lines between the eyes and stretch them out.
  • Work up to release tear duct, and sweep across brow. Find the pressure point at the bottom of the brow and press in for a few seconds.
  • Work across the length of the brow in gentle, soft strokes
  • Return to the tear duct and gently pull down on the inside corner of the eye. Sweep from the inside to the outside without pulling on the skin.
  • Work a little extra eye cream into the crow’s feet and around the temples.

These techniques are helpful to stimulate lymph drainage, which can reduce dark circles and puffiness. It can also be beneficial to reduce sinus pressure due to allergies or illness.

 

 

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The Other Side of Me: In the Treatment Room

I love my time in the treatment room, and I was recently featured on the Spa Week blog in a video to demonstrate the Sircuit Cosmeceuticals Smart Peels that Exhale Spa will be featuring during Spa Week. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a little glimpse into the hands-on side of my skin care life.

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Read on for the full article! And if you’re in New York, come see me for your own personalized treatment.