The dermatologist says:
"The thin skin on your mouth loses moisture faster than any other area--especially when it's cold. Your instinct may be to buff off the flakes, but don't: This can leave the skin raw and allow bacteria in. Instead, focus on hydration. By keeping the skin nourished and protected, it'll repair itself quickly and stay soft."
The cosmetic chemist says:
"To soothe and prevent chapped lips, try doubling up on products. During the day you want a balm that contains a rich emollient like shea or mango butter--they're loaded with fatty acids and lipids that help repair skin--and reapply it often. It's a myth that you can become addicted to lip balm, so don't worry!" (Try Aquaphor Lip Repair, $4.59; amazon.com.)
"Then, before bed, slather on a thick ointment that contains petrolatum, lanolin, or mineral oil to seal in moisture." A good choice is Vaseline Lip Therapy Mini Original, $2.36; amazon.com, which is pure petroleum jelly.
The makeup artist says:
"Very pale or very bold lip colors will make a dry mouth look even more scaly, so stick with soft, natural shades like rose or, for darker skin, a subtle, reddish berry. If you wear lipstick, make sure it's a creamy formula--the matte or long-wearing ones can be drying. Or switch to a tinted lip balm until chapping heals."
• Protect your lips. Use an oil-based lubricating cream or lip balm containing petrolatum or beeswax. Before going out in cold, dry weather, apply lip cream or balm that contains sunscreen — and then cover your lips with a scarf. Reapply often while outdoors.
• Avoid licking your lips. Saliva evaporates quickly, leaving lips drier than before you licked them. If you tend to lick your lips, avoid flavored lip balm — which may tempt you to lick your lips even more.
• Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids, and moisten the air in your home with a humidifier.
• Avoid allergens. Avoid contact with irritants or allergens, such as fragrances or dyes, in cosmetics or skin care products.
• Breathe through your nose. Breathing through your mouth can cause your lips to dry out.