1. They're...dry and cracked
You might be dehydrated, so drink lots of water. Try to avoid licking your lips because as your saliva evaporates, it can cause the lips to dry or crack even more. To help with the healing process use a heavy duty balm like Lanolips 101 Ointment. It's made up of medical grade lanolin and can be used on ANY dry body part. If your lip skin isn't feeling too dry but is still a bit rough, you can gently exfoliate the area with your toothbrush bristles when you brush your teeth.
Depending on the cause of the swelling, there are a few things you can do. If it's an allergic reaction, the best thing to take is an over-the-counter antihistamine - however it's always best to chat to your doctor first, to establish the cause. In the meantime, you can wrap ice cubes in a new, damp chux cloth and apply to the area on and off for 10 minutes at a time.
Things such as the sun, wind, cold weather and even air-conditioning can cause your lips to split. It can also be a sign of vitamin deficiencies. So if your trusty lip balm and lots of water don't sort it out, seek medical advice from your doctor. In the meantime, you can try applying Bepanthen - although technically for nappy rash, it also helps to heal cuts and irritations.
When your lips get sunburnt, it's not only painful, but it can also cause long-term sun damage including pigmentation and fine lines. The best thing you can do is to wear SPF products which protect from UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays on your lips year-round. Cancer Council have an SPF30 Lip Gloss with the added bonus of aloe vera.
5. They're...bordered by blackheads
Start by working a gentle exfoliant around the area using circular motions and rinse. You can make one at home with sugar or bicarb soda mixed with some oil and water to make a thick paste consistency. Then, have a steamy shower to open your pores and loosen the blackheads. Next, wrap two tissues around your pointer fingers and place them either side of the blackhead and wriggle it out from underneath. To avoid them building up again, use a gentle salicylic cleanser a few times a week like the Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash.
6. They're...surrounded with hair
Providing you're not on any acne medications, have had a peel, laser or any kind of resurfacing in the last week, you can book in for a wax to remove your lip hair. If you're unsure about whether your medications will affect waxing, check with your doctor. Alternatively, you can tweeze the area.
7. They...have cold sores
Cold sores are a sign of herpes simplex virus and they can be triggered by stress, sunlight or a weakened immune system among other things. Avoid picking and touching them and seek advice from your doctor regarding the best creams and antiviral medications to use.
8. They...have fine lines
Sun damage and smoking can lead to fine lines around the lips, so the best thing to do is avoid these two things. You can also use an eye cream to help hydrate lines and reduce their appearance (as eye creams are already formulated to absorb into thinner skin), or a plumping product such as Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme.
9. They're...not your desired colour
Tinted lip balms are a godsend when you want your lips to look naturally pigmented. Try Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm which will also nourish the area. Alternatively, long-lasting lip tints or lip stains are also great options if you don't want to reapply too much throughout the day.
See the full story on Cosmopolitan.com.au