In anticipation of our biggest launch yet, Lip Therapy, we sat down with Dr. Goldfaden to learn all about the lips and why we need to protect them.
Please explain the anatomy of the lips and why they are more delicate and more easily dried out than the rest of the skin?
The lips are almost continuous with the internal parts of our body – that is to say, the lips are the transition area between the skin and the mucosa (the inner lining of the mouth). The skin overlying the lips is extremely thin and frail covering large amounts of blood vessels. The lip tissue’s cell turnover is much quicker than our facial skin. The stratum corneum, the dry scaly part of the skin and what we exfoliate off, do not really form and is almost nonexistent on the lip. The lips have no oil glands and no real protective barrier and so they dry out quickly. Many people who breathe more heavily through their mouths (mouth breathers) have the constant movement of air which can lead to dehydration.
What are some common ways we dry and damage our lips?
Since the lips have no protective barrier, climate and weather can affect the health of the lips. Wind, temperature and ultraviolet light can damage and dry out the lips. The Sun can damage the outer layer of the lips and cause them to not function properly.
Constant inflammation of the lips, which comes from external sources such as foods, spices, smoking/cigarettes, eating hot food, makeup and artificial coloring found in glosses or lipsticks are all considered ‘irritants. Excessive licking and biting the lips can also cause damage.
Since we may be wearing them for a while, are masks good or bad for the lips?
Wearing a mask is actually more protective than not. Masks stop water loss from the lips, protect against the sun, wind, extreme temperatures and keep humidity in. Negative side effects could be artificial dyes in the mask’s material. Look for masks free of artificial dyes and made from natural fibers.
“The best protection for lips is prevention. Once you find a lip balm or chapstick you like, buy a bunch and keep one in each bag, night table and coat!”
Which Ingredients should we look for in a lip treatment?
Understand which ingredients are helpful, as some products actually dry the lips out! Optimal ingredients to use are Sea buckhorn oil (promotes hydration and elasticity), Borage oil (anti-inflammatory, calming, anti-oxidant) and Vitamin E (helps protect against free radical damage).
What to stay away from if your lips are chapped?
- Matte lipsticks
- Menthol, Camphor or Eucalyptus products – as they may sting
- Lip plumping products
- The elements (wind, sun, etc.) – Cover your face with a scarf when outdoors
- Biting or picking
- Salty food
- Spicy food
- Acid-based skincare products