This Is A Telltale Sign You've Gone Overboard On Hot Coffee
Some people swear by iced coffee in the winter, while others assert a hot morning beverage year-round never gets old. If you fall into the latter category, we have some unfortunate news: Hot beverages may actually be drying out your lips, especially if you're drinking a few every single day. Allow us to explain why and what to do about it.
Why hot beverages may dry out your lips.
So we've talked about how super-hot showers can dry out your skin, and the same principle applies here. Just like exposing the skin elsewhere on the body to scalding hot water can weaken the barrier by disrupting your natural lipids, the same can be true for the lips when you're drinking piping hot coffee.
You're probably thinking: OK, iced coffee it is! But that's not the whole story. See, coffee is actually a diuretic—so it can be dehydrating when drunk in excess. In fact, gastroenterologist Will Bulsiewicz, M.D., MSCI, says he always checks the lip area for signs of dehydration: "Pay attention to your lips. If I notice my lips starting to get dry, that tells me I'm pushing the coffee more than I should," he says on the mindbodygreen podcast.
Although, you should know that moderate coffee drinking won't have a huge effect. (Don't worry; no need to curb your habit entirely.) So you can still enjoy a cup or so of hot coffee, if you please, and be just fine—but if your lips start to feel tight or chapped and you aren't sure why, you might want to keep your hot beverage intake in mind. That goes for hot drinks other than coffee, too—if you consistently sip on warm lemon water, tea, or matcha throughout the day, it may be easier to dry out the sensitive lip area.
What to do about it.
If you do notice your lips drying out from hot beverages, don't fret: Keeping up with your lip care is one way to manage the chap. Be sure to check your lip balm ingredients, as there are some lip products that may actually be making your lips drier. We have a guide to navigating lip balm INCI lists here, if you're curious. In addition, keep up with your daily water intake. Of course, adequate hydration benefits your body in so many ways, one of which is preventing dry or peeling lips.
Lastly, exfoliate your lips as needed. If you find that you have some lingering flakes on your lips, buffing with a gentle scrub is much better than picking them off—as that can lead to bleeding and broken skin. Just be mindful of over-exfoliation (which can lead to even more flakes!), and make sure to follow up with a hydrating lip balm.
If your lips won't stay moisturized, it may be due to excess coffee intake. Especially when served hot, coffee can dehydrate your body and thus lead to dried-out lips. Other culprits? Spicy food and a lack of B12—more on causes of dry lips here.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.