Blog Posts, Wellness

Winter skincare for nose and lips

Winter can be unkind to your family’s skin, especially around the nose and lips, when dry air, cooler weather, colds and ‘flu can cause redness and inflammation.
Dermatologist Dr Lauren Knight (also known as Derm Discovered) and oral hygienist Dirna Grobbelaar share expert advice for adults and children, on how to protect this delicate area, prevent chapped lips or a red, sore nose.

Why is winter hard on the skin?

The skin changes during colder weather. “Cold air and low humidity can leave the skin feeling drier, rougher and less supple during the cooler months. As the skin around the mouth and nose is thinner, it has less reserve when the season changes, making it more susceptible to the damage that can occur.
Add to this, watery mucous with frequent nose blowing from a cold, the flu or allergies leaves this area more exposed. The poor nose and lip area doesn’t stand a chance, says Dr Knight.

She recommends using hydrating moisturisers or a barrier cream like Letibalm, to restore the skin barrier and prevent irritation.

7 ways to protect your lips & nose

Whether the cause is the cold weather, flu, allergies, or something else, Dr Knight shares seven ways to protect your lips and nose:

  1. Protect the lips with a lubricating barrier that helps lock natural moisturisers in the lips. Apply regularly.
  2. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. This helps keep the skin hydrated and mucous thin. Consider using a humidifier or steam to add moisture and ease congestion.
  3. Avoid licking your lips, this can exacerbate the problem. “As the saliva evaporates it takes the moisture out of lip tissue. Furthermore, bacteria in saliva can irritate the skin and enzymes in saliva can break down the oils or moisturisers in your lip balm.”
  4. Only blow the nose when you have to and use soft tissues, ideally infused with aloe vera or calendula. Gently pat rather than wipe.
  5. Gently exfoliate. “Exfoliators should increase cell turnover and eliminate dead skin without upsetting the balance of natural oils. Use gentle exfoliation weekly – you will notice smoother lips that are more able to absorb moisturising ingredients in any products you apply”.
  6. Apply your lip balm or a treatment overnight. “During the day, our skin is busy fighting off potential irritants, UVB/UVA rays etc. At night the focus is on recovery and regeneration and products applied at night can penetrate better for an enhanced effect.”
  7. Avoid matte lipsticks. “The lack of oils or emollients make matte lipsticks more drying which can aggravate chapped lips.”

With hundreds of lip balms on the market how do know which to choose? Dr Knight says that any moisturising balm will help protect the skin. She recommends looking for one that contains petroleum jelly, castor oil, shea or cocoa butter and vitamin E, like Letibalm.

The best way to blow your nose

If you do happen to catch a cold or ‘flu be gentle when wiping your nose. “Use extra-soft tissues, ideally containing Aloe vera, calendula or vitamin E, not kitchen towel or serviettes,” says Dirna Grobbelaar, Ivohealth’s oral hygiene advisor. “Gently blot, rather than rubbing or wiping.”

Grobbelaar uses Letibalm on her patients and her children. “Letibalm works better than any other balm I have tried,” says Grobbelaar. “It is wonderfully soothing. Apply regularly, several times a day, including before and after each time you blow your nose.” Letibalm is the only balm available in South Africa specifically formulated to protect and relieve the nose and lips. It contains natural and active ingredients including the ancient healing herb centella asiatica, nourishing cocoa butter and vitamin E.

Caring for your child’s nose woes

A red nose is often one of the more visible symptoms when your child has allergies, a cold or the flu. Although it’s probably not that serious, a chapped nose is not very attractive and can feel a little sore. It may also become infected and can take longer to heal if not cared for correctly.

Dr Knight shares five ‘dermatologist-approved’ tips to help prevent your child’s ‘nose woes’:

  1. Avoid touching the face and only wipe the nose when necessary. Keep your child distracted with an activity or book so they are less likely to fiddle. Keep fingernails short, just in case.
  2. Regularly wash hands to prevent spreading germs. This applies to both of you – wash your hands before and after wiping your child’s nose.
  3. Teach your child not to pick or to wipe their nose roughly (e.g., on the back of sleeves). Encourage them to use soft, unscented tissues and only wipe or blow when needed.
  4. Repair and restore the skin with a hydrating moisturiser or barrier cream like Letibalm Nose & Lip Repair that helps soothe inflammation and forms a protective layer to prevent further chapping. The Letibalm Paediatric is suitable for all ages, from birth.
  5. Dry mucous (aka bogeys) can be irritating and may encourage picking. Being well-hydrated – inside and out – helps keep mucous thin and moist. Give your child plenty of fluids to drink and use a humidifier or steam as needed.

You’ll find Letibalm Nose & Lip Repair at Dis-Chem and selected pharmacies.

For further advice on winter skincare speak to a pharmacist or healthcare professional.

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