Keep your lips hydrated with these tips. Dry lips can sneak up on you. At first, you might hardly notice if your lips are a little dry, but if you wait too long to treat the problem, you can end up feeling uncomfortably dry. That can make eating, drinking, smooching, and even talking unpleasant.
What causes dry lips? Check out some of the possible triggers, and learn how to treat chapped lips at the first sign of symptoms.
Your lipstick: Matte formulas in particular can lead to dryness (they have less oil in them to give them that finish) but any lipstick can leave your lips looking less than smooth after a while. Prime your lips with a moisturizing product like ChapStick Total Hydration 3 in 1 first, then apply your lip color on top of it for a flawless look that won’t dry you out.
Having a home that’s too dry: Humidity in the air helps your skin and lips stay moisturized, so if the air in your home is too dry, you may find yourself using more moisturizer than usual. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends keeping the air inside your home below 60 percent humidity—ideally between 30 percent and 50 percent humidity. (You don't want it to be too high, either, because that may cause mold growth.) If you're not sure what the humidity level in your home is, you can buy a small, inexpensive digital meter at a hardware store or online, and leave it inside your home take a measurement. If the humidity level is too low, buy a humidifier to increase it.
That glass of wine: Alcohol dehydrates the body and causes you to urinate more than usual, which can leave you with chapped lips and dry skin. Alternating between wine and water can help lessen the effects of dehydration and prevent you from drinking as much—the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that if you are going to drink alcohol, women limit themselves to one serving a day and men cap themselves at two.
Licking your lips: If this is a habit of yours, see if you can break it. It may sound counterintuitive, but licking your lips doesn't prevent your lips from drying out. It does the opposite, because the saliva evaporates quickly and leaves your lips even drier than they were before you licked them. Instead, apply ChapStick and in cold weather, cover your lips with a scarf for extra protection.
Originally published on Shape.com/Strive.