We may have avoided the Polar Vortex here in the Bay Area, but there’s one winter workout challenge that can creep up regardless of geography: chapped lips.
That’s right, you can thank all that dry air and lower temperatures for completely zapping lips of moisture, and since the skin on this part of your body doesn’t secrete any oils, it’s always more susceptible to drying out.
But there are a few precautions you can take to help prevent that painful tenderness and cracking this season; kiss Cheilitis (that’s doctor-speak for dry, chapped lips) goodbye by doing the following:
1. Resist the urge to lick. When it comes to moisturizing, saliva is only a temporary solution; it has a drying effect when it evaporates, plus it contains digestive enzymes that can irritate lips.
2. Hydrate from the inside. Cold weather amplifies the dehydrating effects of sweat loss during workouts, so it’s important to rehydrate skin by drinking ample amounts of water. Not sure how much is enough? Do a quick urine check: It should be light in color, almost like lemonade.
3. Hydrate from the outside. If you’re cranking up the heat, it’s important to also infuse the surrounding air with moisture. Run a humidifier in your bedroom to help prevent lips from drying out while you sleep.
4. Slather on a protective barrier. Keep lips soft and supple with lip moisturizer. I keep a steady stream of balms, glosses and sticks in rotation (mostly because I’m always losing the little buggers), but right now I’m using Miracle Skin Transformer’s Lip Rewind in “Love” ($24). Shea butter and coconut oil hydrate, SPF and Vitamin E protect, and I like the pepperminty flavor and menthol tingle — plus, $5 of every purchase goes to the Children’s Action Network, a national non-profit dedicated to finding loving families for waiting foster children.
5. Stay sun-safe with SPF. Those rays are still strong, so it’s important to protect from dehydration and damage with a sunscreen-enhanced lip balm (see above). For maximum protection, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends a minimum sun protection factor of 30.
6. Cover up with clothing. When the weather’s particularly harsh, take care to cover the delicate skin on your face with a lightweight, form-fitting material, such a scarf or face mask. Not only does it help to warm the air you breathe, but it also defends against severe cold and chapping from wind.
7. Think before you drink. It’s tough when the tendency is to want to curl up with a hot toddy, but try to limit the amount of alcohol and caffeine consumed, as these drinks are particularly dehydrating to skin. Instead, try a warm cup of tea or hot cider, both of which will warm your belly without parching your pout.
How do you keep lips from drying out during winter workouts?