We may often think of skincare as a summer thing, but a winter skincare regimen for men is still essential.
This article will give you a brief overview of how to protect your lips, skin, and eyes from the elements so you can look your best any time of year.
Protect those Lips
Loose lips may sink ships, but frozen or chapped lips sure can hurt!
So, what, exactly are our lips, why do they get chapped, and how can we prevent or repair them if they do?
Getting Lippy: What Are Lips, and Why Do They Chap?
Our lips are two sensory organs that form our mouth. They’re divided into the upper lip and lower lip.
As you’ve probably guessed, we use them mostly for talking and eating. Lips have muscles too, which contribute to expressions like smiling, frowning, and other goofy faces.
And (because we know you’ll ask!), lips have a high concentration of nerve endings, which is why kissing produces such a powerful stimulus.
Lips, though, are essentially skin. But, they only have three or four cellular layers versus the 12+ layers on, say, your forearm. This makes them not only more sensitive but also much more susceptible to the elements.
Lips don’t have hair or oil glands the way skin does, so they lose moisture easily. This is especially true in cold, dry winter weather.
This makes winter skin care all the more vital. Cheilitis of the lips, or chapped lips, occur when lips dry out.
So, how to stop chapped lips?
The most effective way to stop chapped lips is to eliminate the source of the problem.
A natural and common reaction to cold, dry lips is to wet them by licking them. Whatever you do, resist this urge!
Digestive enzymes and bacteria in saliva can damage the lips, leaving them in worse shape. And, when the moisture evaporates after you’ve licked your lips, they become even drier as they lose the moisture into the frigid air.
A second way to prevent chapped lips is to create a barrier between the elements and that sensitive skin. Petroleum jelly or commercial products like Chap-Stick are excellent for this. Apply liberally a few times daily-but do be mindful of over-applying, as this can actually backfire and strip what little moisture your lips naturally have.
If the damage is especially severe, prescriptive products like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or Retin-A (commonly used for acne), or Renova (for combating skin wrinkles) are also helpful.
Protect Your Skin!
While skin has more layers of cells than your lips, it’s still vulnerable to attack. Wind, dry air, and sunlight are just as harsh in cold weather as in hot weather. However, there are some steps you can take to protect your skin.
Yes, really! Sunscreen, even in winter, can protect you from the sun’s UV rays and the reflective glare of snow and ice. This is especially important if you’re going to be doing outdoor sports like skiing, snowboarding, or climbing.
If you’re more of a keyboard warrior, it’s still important to use a facial or skin protector. Many, if not most, of today’s high-quality skincare products have SPF15 blending in with their formula. But, it still good to check.
The cold, dry air has the same effect on your skin as it does on your lips. The lack of moisture causes your skin to dry out and, if not caught soon enough, to crack. You can prevent this with a couple simple tricks:
Moisturize! Noticing a theme here? Lotions with a blend of butters like shea and cocoa and collagen-producing peptides will re-hydrate your skin and keep your much more comfortable. Apply it a few times a day, or after you’ve been outside for a few hours.
Invest in a humidifier. A humidifier keeps moisture in the air and on your skin. Consider putting one in your bedroom.
Drop the thermostat a few degrees. It can be tempting to crank the heat up in the winter, but artificial heat dries up your skin…as well as your bank account with high heating bills! So, consider setting it a few degrees lower and putting on a sweater. Better for your wallet, and better for winter skincare.
Protect Your Eyes
While sunglasses may conjure up daydreams of beaches and images of tiki drinks with umbrellas, they’re not just for the Caribbean. As we mentioned above, UV rays are still a threat even in the hazy shade of winter.
Sunglasses are, of course, the most common way to protect your eyes any time of year. You can spend a few dollars to over five hundred dollars on sunglasses, but UV protect is an absolute necessity for winter skincare.
For any time of year, we’d recommend a pair with significant coverage for your face. Of course, keep this within reason, but a good pair of shades is a great way to keep your winter skincare game strong.
If you’d like to learn more about what sunglasses work for your face, you can check out our most recent discussions about sunglasses here.
If traveling outdoors for sports, a face-shield with UV protection is also a wise investment. Some of them are radical in design!
A skin regimen is an important part of any gentleman’s life, and winter skincare is certainly no different. Above, we’ve recommended a series of simple ways to protect your lips, face, skin, and eyes during this time of the year.
For your lips, keep a lubricant (like Chap-stick) handy, and do your best to resist licking them! For your face and skin, use a quality moisturizer to replenish nutrients lost to dry air, and consider investing in a humidifier. For your eyes, a quality pair of sunglasses is also a wise investment.
Thanks for reading, and stay warm!
Yours in Style,