Close up young woman applying lip balm
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Sure, you could use lip balm and call it a day. Or, better yet treat your lips to some TLC. Weather, pollution, stress, even using the wrong products can cause your lips to feel, well, lackluster with dryness, redness around the lips, even cracking or chapped skin. But there are tricks and tips to help pamper and protect, creating pillowy-soft, hydrated, and healthy lips.

1. Be mindful of diet

Your lips, like the rest of your body, reflect on the outside what you put inside. Eat a balanced, lip-friendly diet. Opt for foods nutrient-rich foods such as whole grains, dark leafy greens, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Also include Vitamins B and E (deficiency in these often triggers dry lips) and limit salty, spicy, and acidic foods which can cause irritation, inflammation, and dryness.

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Yes, by now you know that drinking plenty of water and staying well-hydrated is key to maintaining a healthy, well-balanced body. Drinking plenty of H2O is equally as important for lips, which act like a sponge: They absorb water and plump when moisturized and dry out or shrink when dehydrated. Lip skin on lips is super-thin and sensitive, making it prone to dehydration-related dryness and redness that even the boldest lipstick won’t hid. Sip through a (reusable!) straw to avoid putting lips on the abrasive edges of can, bottle or glass. Avoid licking your lips; enzymes in saliva can make lips all the more sensitive and even drier.

3. Skip exfoliation in favor of gentle scrubbing

Dr. Dennis Gross says to nix exfoliating your lips. “The skin on your lips has a special top layer that doesn’t accumulate dead skin cells and is very thin (approximately one third of the thickness of skin on your face). In order to heal dry, chapped lips, you need to repair that barrier, not scrub it off,” explains Dr. Gross. “When you use a scrub, you’re removing the protective outer layer of the lips, leaving them even more compromised.”

4. Opt for hyaluronic acid

Because the skin of the lips is very different from the skin on your face (it’s actually more similar to the skin inside of your mouth), Dr. Gross recommends treating lips with a hyaluronic “cushion”. His line’s Hyaluronic Marine Collagen Lip Cushion stimulates lips’ natural production of chondroitin sulfate, which is a sister ingredient to HA, but is more prevalent in lips as opposed to facial skin.

Kosas Kosasport LipFuel hyaluronic acid infused lip balm is another (tinted) option. Its buttery formula will keep your lips soft, supple, and hydrated.

5. Go coconuts

Choose hydrating balms or lip products infused with coconut oil. Kopari Beauty Organic Coconut Lip Glossy creates soft shine as it hydrates lips while Bali Body Coconut Lip Balm with SPF 15 repairs dry, cracked lips while offering sun protection. These nourishing coconut oil infused products will help protect and pamper at the same time.

Now, you can finally kick chapped lips to the curb with some TLC!