The lips: our beautiful, sensory organ. I will be the first one to say that I definitely take mine for granted. They are truly multifunctional. Lips are the key to communication and articulation. They are the door which allows us to provide nourishment to our bodies with food and drink. The sensation of touch can be experienced so intimately through them. And, when you’re having a hard day, a smile from someone else’s lips can brighten your whole outlook.
When the weather is cold we put on more clothes to wrap ourselves up nice and warm, and when the sun is shining bright, we apply sun protection to our skin. And yet our lips are continually exposed to the elements without shelter or protection. It really is vital that we care for them, but more often than not, lips are merely an afterthought in our skin care routines.
Lip skin structure
It is a common misconception that the skin all over our bodies has the same structure. However, this is particularly untrue for our lips which have a unique skin composition.
Skin on the other parts of our bodies has up to 16 layers, whereas the skin on our lips has between three to five layers, meaning they are very delicate. They do not contain sebaceous glands or hair follicles, but they do have a rich supply of blood vessels and nerves, which contribute to their slightly pinkish colour and high sensitivity.
Why should we care for our lips?
Caring for our lips is just as important as caring for the skin on the rest of our bodies. The skin on our lips is much thinner than other areas and they are not equipped with as many tools as the surrounding skin in terms of skin hydration and moisturisation. They are more susceptible to drying out and becoming chapped because they do not have the same natural protection that the rest of the skin has.
What does a lip care regime look like?
There are a plethora of products on the market which promote a ‘perfect pout’ but too much choice can be confusing. That being said, we, as formulators, also have so much choice in terms of ingredients it can be difficult to decide what to use. Here I will highlight some of the ingredients suitable for each category.