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Cracking the code of seasonal lip care

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As the temperature outside drops and you start to progressively add on the layers of clothing, do you ever feel like you’re getting a bit dried out?

Not only are chapped or cracked lips extremely uncomfortable and at times painful — and, let’s face it, pretty unattractive — but also can be detrimental to your health. “It’s no secret that lips are often forgotten, leaving the body susceptible to infection when they become chapped or cracked,” said Charles Zugerman, associate professor of clinical dermatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

At a point in the year when colds and the flu are running rampant and wreaking havoc on our immune systems already, something as simple as putting on the lip balm that extra time during the day can help protect your body from further illness.

Another generally good practice in the colder months, when your body naturally is producing less moisture and sweat, is to stay extremely hydrated. People often think of staying hydrated in hot summer months when you’re exuding a lot of water — which is very important, as we noted in a previous story — but it’s also important to drink lots of water in fall and winter so that your body — including skin and lips— stays hydrated. (Check out more skin-nurturing foods here.)

Keep your lips hydrated and healthy by finding a lip balm that you like and applying at least twice a day (in the morning and evening). Can’t find one that really does the trick? Try making your own! And while you’re at it, check out some other recipes we scoured on oddly effective at-home grooming treatments.

And don’t kiss off lip protection in the summer months, either. Just because they’re not necessarily chapping as frequently doesn’t mean you’re home free on lip care. The thin outer layer of the lip has almost no melanin, the natural skin pigment that blocks the sun’s harmful rays. So, when unprotected, lips are at high risk of sun damage.

How do you keep your pucker looking and feeling its best all year round?

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