Long hot summers effect our lips in many ways: the heat dehydrates the lip surface, we may be prone to lick them more often which is not helpful and actually causes chapping, lips are devoid of the skin hormone melanin – the body’s natural defence to sun and UV damage and so prone to UV damage and sunburn easy and then if we are in the middle of a heat stress such as the current heat wave then be it dehydration or heat exhaustion, our immune system can be compromised and underlying issues such as cold cores can arise.
So the 3 big complications of this weather are inflamed lips , chapped lips and cold sores
1. Inflamed lips aka Cheilitis – lips can easily inflame via through allergy, medication or injury – including over licking, sunburn or severe dehydration. The inflammation of lips can develop into sever chapping, crusting and even bleeding sores if not treated appropriately. the answer is a lip balm
Boost a beeswax lip balm with some Lip friendly essential oils such as Lavender, German chamomile, tea tree, lemon, lemon thyme, sandalwood, peppermint, rose and rose geranium. simply warm up to soft add a few drops and allow to reset.
2. chapped lips – chapped is the next stage, when the swell stretches the lip and damages the surface skin layer resulting in tears or chafing. Resist repeatedly licking your lips – saliva just evaporates off quickly, and can leave your lips even drier than before -instead apply a balm and drink plenty of fluids to keep self and mouth and all skin hydrated – Avoid citrus juice and fruits –as they aggravate chapped lips….
Many commercial balms and lipstick contain alcohol and/or petroleum products which can aggravate the condition of chapped lips rather than remedy it – Try the hydrating and skin replenishing sap of Aloe Vera or make a pulp of cucumber or avocado flesh for the same effects.
Severe or persistent chapped lips can be a case of Perlèche aka Lip sucker syndrome – A form of exfoliative cheilitis (crusting and ulceration) directly related to the habitual sucking, chewing, picking and licking of lip – sometimes considered as a nervous tic or symptom of stress yet is common amongst teenage girls and young women. Passion flower tea is as effective as a more natural benzodiazepine antianxiety medications – but without the side effects.
honey lip scrub – A smear of Honey is great as apart from its moisturizing properties it functions as an antiseptic. A mix of both oil and honey with a little added sugar grains can exfoliate the dry skin and soothe the exposed new forming skin.
3. Cold sore. A cold sore is a viral infection manifesting as a small blister or cluster of blisters occurring on the lips and nearby skin. It is caused by – herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Tingling, itching or burning sensations generally herald the blistering to come. As a virus it is highly contagious and as a virus it has its own lifecycle.
Some people get a cold sore once and it never returns but with most, once contracted the virus remains with you for many years if not lifelong. Thankfully it is predominantly dormant with possibly one or two flare ups each year but it is also easily triggered into activity by sunburn or other damage to lip surface and also by stress or fatigue. So looking after yourself is the best way to keep it repressed.
Outbreaks generally clear up without any intervention or treatment within 7-10 days, there are plenty of OTC lip balms and topical creams to suppress the viral activity and soothe the soreness and there are lots of home cures too to make it more manageable.
Topical tincture or tisane of lavender, chamomile, selfheal, St John’s wort or hyssop are antiviral. Internal tinctures of thyme, echinacea or astragalus are immune boosting and antiviral. A tea of Liquorice root contains glycyrrhizic acid that can inhibit and fight viral spread. A dusting of cinnamon is a great antiseptic and dries up ruptured blisters and bleeds.
One of the best things you can do is to avoid acidic or salty foods as they not only sting but can suppress your immune system just as it attempts to fight the virus flare up. The mistake is to lessen eating and drinking for fear of bursting a blister or cracking a scab but do drink plenty of fluids to keep the lip hydrated and functioning normally in unaffected areas
Four essences medicated lip balm
The veg butter and oil are moisturizing and absorbing of the essential oils and their antiviral and healing principles while the thickening agent – bees wax – is naturally antimicrobial and wound healing.
1 tablespoon shea butter or cocoa butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon grated beeswax
2 shakes each of the essential oil of lavender, German chamomile, tea tree and thyme
Method: In a bain-marie (or jam jar resting in hot water), melt the shea butter/cocoa butter and beeswax into the olive oil, once melted remove from heat stir with a chop stick or swirl around, add essential oil at last minute, decant to a suitable container – small glass jar or tin – cover to retain volatile oils and allow to cool and set naturally. Store in a cool place and use as often as you need to soothe and treat.
Cold sore blitz paste
All ingredients are antiviral, anti-inflammatory and pain relieving.
Method: Simply blitz together 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of lavender foliage, 1 tablespoon of chopped chamomile tops (flowers or foliage) and 1 teaspoon of honey. Use a dab treatment throughout the day, each day until virus subsides. Stores in fridge for 1 week.