However, the solution isn’t what you think it is.
In fact, you probably never think about your lips unless you’re skiing or snowboarding—or until they look dry, cracked and flaky just when you wish they didn’t. Thing is, chapped lips don’t have to be a way of life. You don’t have to suffer just because you’re outdoorsy. And the three things you need to know about chapped lips might surprise you.
You might assume that chapped lips are just winter thing. And, true, a ski day comes with cold wind and burning sun—but it also dehydrates you.
"The main cause of chapping is dehydration," says Gissela Gorman, a make-up artist based in NYC. "People don't drink enough water, it starts to show. The drier your lips get, the more they peel."
This one's easy: remember to hydrate.
Good news is in hot weather, it should be obvious. You’re sweating. You’re thirsty. Reach for water, and remember to keep some SPF on those lips.
When winter rolls around, you might be less likely to feel thirsty during your activities. So chug some water before you start in on the apres-ski beers.
Okay, so you use a lip balm or stick of some kind. Great. Chances are it isn't working.
Lots of these are petroleum based. They might feel good, but they're not doing the hard work of restoring natural moisture.
"Something with a lot of petroleum in the product moisturizes the lip," says Gorman, "but it's not really treating them."
The world of lip products is vast. Make it easy on yourself and look for ingredients that sound like food.
"The main ingredients I want to see are shea butter, beeswax, natural oils like jojoba, even olive oil," says Gorman. "If you don't see products that you literally could eat, they're not good for your lips."
These ingredients will help restore natural oils, and boost vitamins like Vitamin E. Some even have antioxidant properties—which help protect you from aging.
Slathering lip balm on your cracked, peeling lips isn't getting to the root of the problem. To really treat a bad case of lip chap, you have to shed that dead skin.
"If you don't exfoliate your lip, in serious cases you can start developing a dark line around the edge," says Gorman. "And it can look a little scary."
The solution? Exfoliate. You could do this by gently buffing your lips with a damp toothbrush—but Gorman suggests a better way: sugar. It’s something she uses with clients, and she’s even developing her own line of scrubs.
"You want to be very gentle,” she says, “that’s why toothbrushes aren’t great. Sugar has tiny particles—even smaller than salt—and it tastes good."
You can do this at home by placing a little bit of dry, granulated white sugar onto the tips of three fingers and gently buffing your lips in a circular motion.
"Make sure to get the entire lip—bottom and upper," says Gorman. "After that, rinse it off and put a little lip balm on top."
Your lip balm will soak in better, and the chapped-ness won’t come back as soon. Which means this could be a good time to update that Tinder pic.