For many of us, dry chapped lips can be a real problem throughout the year – especially in the winter. For some people this is not a seasonal problem however, and it can cause problems throughout the year.
Not only can chapped, dry lips be unsightly, they can also be very painful and can lead to low self confidence, and in extreme cases can lead to the dangers of infection.
If you are one of the many people who suffer from chronically dry and chapped lips, have a read through this post to help you deal with – and hopefully fix – the problem.
So why are my lips always chapped and dry?
Causes of dry chapped lips
There are several factors which increase the incidence of dry, chapped lips:
Cold weather and strong winds can strip moisture away from the skin, and can cause the lips to become dry and sore. Hot weather and a lack of moisture in the air can have the same effect.
B. Licking of the lips
When you constantly lick or chew your lips, you are removing a lot of the body’s natural protective oils in the skin around the lips, and in some cases, even layers of skin on the lips themselves. This can lead to sore, red and inflamed lips, as well as the skin that surrounds them.
Losing moisture in the lips can make them feel dry, and make you want to lick the more to moisturise them, which can exacerbate the problem.
C. Some medications
Certain tablets and pills can increase dryness in the lips and can cause them to become chapped and dry – you may be on a certain medication for a serious condition and cannot change it, in which case there is not a lot you can do beyond lip balm and being aware if the problem, but there may be other medication you can take that will have less of this side effect.
If not, you can look more into ways to protect your lips.
If you are not drinking enough water, there is not enough moisture in your body to go around, and this can be reflected in your lips.
E. Medical conditions
Medical conditions that cause you to breathe through your mouth rather than your nose can be a culprit, as this type of breathing is very drying to the lips.
F. Vitamin deficiencies
Vitamin deficiencies notably Vitamin B6, Iron and Riboflavin, have all been linked to dry, scaly lips.
Medical causes for chapped lips
If your lips are severely cracked and dry, you may have a medical condition called Cheilitis. This can be caused by infections, inflammatory diseases, dental trauma or an excess of saliva production, and children who use dummies or adults and children who wear braces are more at risk from this.
Cheilitis causes dark pink or red lips, which have a lumpy texture and cracks at the corners. You may even develop ulcers or white plaque on the surface of the lips. You would need a dermatologist to work out whether you have chronically dry lips, or a case of Cheilitis.
Home remedies for dry chapped lips
If your dry chapped lips are caused by the weather, sun exposure or a lack of humidity, you can relatively easily solve the problem:
- Apply plenty of lip balm throughout the day. Use a balm that contains nourishing oils such as Vitamin E or Almond oil for best results.
- Drink plenty of water to keep your skin, including your lips, well hydrated.
- Eat a well balanced diet. Lips can be the first sufferers when our diets are not optimal or if we are suffering from deficiencies, so make sure that you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Use a humidifier at home. Particularly if you live in a place that is very dry, and is either very hot or cold, a humidifier can help restore the moisture balance to your skin.
- Use a minimum SPF15 lip balm before you expose yourself to the sun. Sun damage can take a toll on the lips as well as the rest of the skin, especially as the lips are usually forgotten when we apply sunscreen.
- Limit your alcohol consumption and smoking. Alcohol can mess with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins, so ditching the booze is another way to improve the health of your lips.
If you suffer from cracked, dry lips, it can be both painful and unsightly, and getting rid of the problem to release your natural, beautiful smile may seem impossible. It is not!
Your first step is to follow the tips above to improve your lip health, and if these don’t work, contact a dermatologist to check for underlying issues. This should help you enormously, and you can step out and smile confidently, without worrying about cracks or splits.