We use them all the time, yet the funny
thing is, the term we use- 'lips' is not what they're really called, and I could bet most
of you won't know the real name for them. They are really called 'the vermilion boarder.
And to add more confusion, they aren't really skin.
So what are they made out of if
they're not really skin?
They are more similar to what are called the 'mucous membranes' inside the mouth. They are
what we call skin, but they differ quite a lot to what we refer to as the skin on our
bodies. Our lips are not protected by the thick layers (called cornified tissue) of skin
like on the rest of our body. They have much fewer layers of skin. This causes the blood
vessels in our lips to be closer to the surface. It is this closeness of these blood
vessels that gives our lips that beautiful rosy red colour. But because of this lack of
skin, they are much more prone to drying out, along with other various problems such as
burning from the sun and wind.
Another problem that contributes to
dry lips that they have no oil glands, which obviously makes more it difficult for them to
stay moist. And that's not all, the reason they dry so easily, is because they have less
pigment in them compared to the skin on the rest of the body. Therefore they burn more
easily from the sun, as it is the pigment in skin that helps protect us from burning to a
So how do you keep your lips
The best thing you can do is to stock up on lip balm that has a high protective sunscreen,
and not just only in summer, but in winter also. During summer there is the problem of
increased burning, and you may not know it, but winter can be more damaging to your lips
than summer. As most of us know, due to our damaged ozone layer, the sun is strong
throughout the whole year. So winter is no exception, and to add to this because of the
dry air in winter, your lips are more likely to become dehydrated, and if you live in
areas of snow, the light reflecting off the snow is worse for your lips than the summer
Although winter is drying to lips due to the dry atmosphere, licking them will only make
them drier. Unfortunately it is an unconscious habit, but every time you lick, the saliva
that you put on them evaporates, and with that evaporation goes the natural moisture that
your lips produce. The end result is that your lips will become drier and drier.
Biting or otherwise known as chewing, is just as bad as licking- if not worse. Biting is a
habit, and one, if you want healthy lips, you should try breaking. Biting also dries out
your lips, along with taking off small amounts the little skin that already exist there.
If you can't break the habit of chewing them, then at least apply lip balm more
frequently, as this will help to protect them to some degree.
One way to help your lips recover from their hard day's work is to lather them with
petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly is usually one of the main ingredients in lip balm, mind
you during the day, you may look pretty weird if you smoother your lips with a good
millimetre of it. So at night, when no one can see you, pack it on, so it stays on during
sleep. This will help to keep the natural moisture in, and prevent any further water loss.
Other tips for healthy lips!
Your lips will reflect the health of your body-
Drink plenty of water (at least 2
litres a day), if you are dehydrated your lips will be one of the first things to let you
know, by drying out.
Eat lots of fruit and vegies, these will increase your vitamin intake, which adds to the
help of your skin, including your lips.
And of course, don't forget when you
kiss a lot, apply lip balm on the hours away from your partner, as intensive kissing can
be abrasive to lips (& you definitely need soft beautiful lips to kiss your man with)!