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Aaah winter… you’re here. And with those cooler temperatures comes the challenge of keeping our pouts hydrated without the need for a kajillion balms, serums, lotions and potions. Topical treatments are amazing but as with anything to do with your internal and external wellbeing, the goal is to create a healthy bod that doesn’t require a multitude of daily upkeep and treatments.
Our lips are made from skin that’s much thinner and therefore much more vulnerable than skin on other parts of our face and body. The very outer skin layer covering the epidermis, the stratum corneum, is already paper thin, so we’re talking seriously thin.
Despite believing that our lips have a particular colour, the stratum corneum on our lips is so thin that it’s extremely pale. This is because significantly less melanocytes reside there, that is the cells that produce the pigment melanin. So the colour we’re seeing is the blood vessels showing through along with the vermillion border, the slightly darker red outline, that frames the lips.
Because of this lack of melanin too, our lips are prone to being sunburned, which means later in life we can develop sun spots and even lip cancer if we haven’t taken care previously.
Unlike the rest of the skin on our bodies, our lips don’t have sebaceous glands, hair follicles or produce naturally hydrating sebum. On other areas of the face, our skin naturally creates an acid mantle, which combines sebum with acetic and lactic acid from our sweat that protects our skin from moisture loss. Because our lips lack this protective barrier the only moisture for our pout is from saliva, which is why lips can become dry when the rest of our face is not affected.
It takes around 26 muscles to smile, 62 to frown and a whole lot of them to eat, chew, talk, kiss, whistle and even keep our mouths closed. While lips don’t do all of the work, they’re pretty much front and centre for all of these tasks, and yet, they are so easy to neglect.
But just like our regular skincare routine, lips need love too. So whether you go all in with a lip care routine or build it up with time, here’s what we reckon will keep a smile on your dial all year round!
Winter lips are more prone to dehydration in winter than summer thanks to rapid changes in temperature - from going from cold outdoors into heated cars and rooms repeatedly. Additionally, some heating (as well as air-conditioning) reduces the natural humidity levels in the air, which is what our skin relies on all year round to absorb moisture. The cooler, dryer winter air evaporates moisture from our skin’s surface, which given that our lips don’t create their own moisture, makes them prone to drying and cracking. Plus, due to evaporation in cooler weather, licking our lips makes lips even more chapped.
To keep lips hydrated and conditioned during winter, apply the Antipodes Kiwi Seed Oil Lip Conditioner with organic bioactive botanical kiwifruit seed oil and avocado oil. Or the super cute Shiseido UV Lip Colour Splash Tahiti Blue SPF42 and Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Replenishing Lip Balm, designed to deeply moisturise, nourish and keep your luscious lips soft. Overnight, try the Dermalogica Nightly Lip Treatment with sesame seed extract and vitamin-rich shea butter to restore hydration and elasticity on and around your lips. Keep it by your bed and apply before you tuck yourself in.
We say again and again that using sunscreen all year round is your best defence against premature ageing and oxidative stress on the skin caused by the sun’s harmful UV rays, but how often do your lips get that same love? Sun protection on lips is vital because they cannot protect themselves, so it’s a habit you really want to start young. We love Burt’s Bees All Weather Lip Balm with 100% natural ingredients and SPF15. To protect from sun, wind and the cold, try the Blistex Ultra Lip Balm SPF 30+ or its Blistex Lip Conditioning Balm SPF 20, both ideal for heading up the mountain, a brisk beachside walk or going about daily life. If you can, wear a scarf up over your mouth in particularly volatile weather!
The human body sheds 30,000-40,000 dead skin cells per day with the lips adding some of those. So while you adopt a regular exfoliation routine for your face and body, remember your precious lips too. Regularly exfoliating means that the nourishing, hydrating skin care goodies you purchase can effectively get into pores without a layer of dead skin cells getting in the way to do the work they’re meant to do. Plus by exfoliating, your lips will look and feel much smoother.
It’s super easy to create a lip exfoliator at home using sugar or fine coffee grounds mixed with coconut oil. If DIY is not your jam, try the gorgeous Snowberry Nourishing Exfoliator with tiny mother of pearl granules and ruby powder to gently remove dead skin, replenishing skin with potent natural ingredients including macadamia seed oil, ucuuba butter oil, totara extract and kanuka honey extract. Yum!
Sometimes chapped, dry and even cold sore-affected lips just happen, so treatment mode is the only option. Honevo Sore Lip contains a potent dose of pharmaceutical-grade kanuka honey, clinically proven to be one of the strongest antiviral treatments on the market, with superior hydrating hygroscopic properties that assist healing by keeping lips moist. Keep one in your cabinet at all times if you’re cold sore prone.
Whatever you do this winter, adopting a regular lip loving routine will mean your lipsticks will look smoother and more gorgeous, and your lips infinitely more kissable! 😘💋👄
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At last, there is snow coating our favourite mountains and now all there is left to do is grab the crew, load up the car, and road trip!
We Kiwis love our tattoos. As in love, love! A 2010 study revealed that 40 percent of millennials have a tattoo and a 2011 survey of 750 people by the NZ Herald found that one fifth of us has a tattoo. Now in 2019, even our national carrier Air New Zealand is approving visible tattoos such as Tā Moko on members of its frontline flight staff. We just love them!