If you're getting married in a cold climate, chances are you'll have to deal with dry lips that crack and flake—not exactly the bridal vision you imagined! That's why you'll want to do something right now to get them in shape for your wedding day when all the world will be taking your photo and you'll be doling out lots of kisses—especially to your groom. "The first thing is to keep hydrating," advises Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a New York City dermatologist. "Drinking enough water ensures that not only can your body function optimally, but it will also maintain healthy circulation, which affects your skin, including lips." We've rounded up some of the best ways to prevent and treat chapped lips, so your lips are as velvety as possible.
Here's what you SHOULD do:
Use a humidifier in the bedroom while you sleep.
"Cool, dry air can take a toll on your skin and lips," says Dr. Zeichner. Using a cool-mist humidifier is key. "It replaces moisture in the air and prevents lips from drying out."
Use a gentle exfoliator.
"Dead cells that accumulate on the surface of the lips can be uncomfortable and lead to splitting of the lip if you bite down on it," he says. An exfoliator will help remove dead cells and hydrate at the same time. (Try Sara Happ Lip Scrub in Sparkling Peach, $24, sarahapp.com.)
Apply lip balm or ointment regularly during the day to lock in hydration.
Even if you're opting for a little color on your lips, make sure the formula is superhydrating. (Try Korres Lip Butter, $12, sephora.com.)
Use a heavier lip balm or ointment before heading to bed.
"Heavy ointments provide a protective layer over the lips to prevent loss of hydration and at the same time allow parched lips to heal themselves," says Dr. Zeichner. (Try Neutrogena Norwegian Lip Moisturizer, $2.84, neutrogena.com.)
And here's what you SHOULDN'T do:
Never pick dry, peeling lips.
"Picking injures lips more," explains New York Ciety plastic surgeon Norman Rowe, M.D. That includes scratching, biting, and generally being aggressive with what is the gentlest skin on your face.
Stay away from salty and spicy foods.
Dr. Rowe insists this is vital to your lips' well-being because it reduces dryness and inflammation. That means you need to stay far, far away from jalapenos, sriracha, and anything else with a bite in the days leading up to your wedding. Same goes for pretzels, nuts, and other supersalty foods.
Never, ever lick your lips.
Doing so is taking the fast road to chapped lips. So forget how dry they feel or how sexy you think you look—lip licking encourages moisture to be wiped straight out of your skin.
Avoid toothpaste with color.
"Don't use a toothpaste with synthetic colors as these can dry out the lips," Dr. Rowe explains. Opt for a natural or dye-free formula instead.