The lips area focal point of your face and are very visible to people you come into contact with. Smooth, healthy lips will make you look attractive and vibrant, and people will pay more attention when you talk to them. Chapped lips, on the other hand, will make you self-conscious and unwilling to talk to people since they can hurt.
Prolonged exposure to the sun, wind, and cold weather are the main factors that contribute to chapped and dry lips. We’re likely to get chapped lips in hot, humid, windy, or cold climatic conditions since moisture is lost more quickly through the lips than any other part of the body. Once moisture is lost, the lips become dry, tight, start to spilt, and eventually become chapped.
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What Causes Dry/Chapped Lips?
Lips do not have oil glands and they’re always exposed to the elements. This makes loss of moisture inevitable, so taking care of and protecting your lips is necessary. However, the weather is not the only cause of dry and chapped lips. Bearing that in mind, we shall examine some of the other factors.
As mentioned earlier, there are no oil glands on the lips. So, unlike your skin, the lips more prone to becoming dry and chapped. Chapped lips can also be a sign of dehydration. Therefore, if you don’t drink enough fluids during the day, your lips will most likely become dry. In addition, physical activities that involve exposure to cold weather, wind, heat, and ultra violet rays can lead to dehydration and consequently chapped lips.
Licking Your Lips
Most people are in the habit of licking their lip to wet them once they feel dry only to discover that they soon turn even drier. This is because as saliva evaporates, more moisture is lost leaving a rough, dry upper lip. Chewing and biting your lips will produce the same effect hence it’s better to stop the habit to avoid having dry and chapped lips.
Always apply lip balm, preferably one that contains sunblock or petroleum jelly on your lips every morning before you venture outdoors. Beeswax can also be helpful and continue moisturizing your lips the whole day to keep them from drying.
Breathing through the Mouth
Nasal allergies or having a cold can force some people to breathe through the mouth, which forces air to pass over the lips. Air passing over the lips can cause them to dry out. People with colds, those who snore, or have sleep apnea often wake up in the morning with chapped lips. Individuals with such problems should moisturize their lips the whole day and before they go to sleep. Consulting a doctor to correct the underlying health condition is also advised.
Many types of toothpaste contain sodium lauryl sulfate. This chemical can be irritating and cause dryness on lips. If you have a reoccurring chapped lips problem, the toothpaste or products you use on your lips could be the cause. Try switching to other products as many lip products have dehydrating alcohol in them.
Over Consumption of Vitamin A
Consuming too much vitamin A or taking too many supplements can cause chapped and peeling lips. You should not take more than 25,000 IU of vitamin A per day. Chapped lips can also be caused by deficiencies of certain B vitamins
Acids in Citrus and Cinnamates
Acids found in citrus fruits can be irritating and can cause chapped lips. Tomato sauce can be both painful and irritating for persons with chapped lips. Cinnamates used in gum, toothpaste and candy can also cause irritation and dry lips.
Allergies to cobalt and nickel can cause chapped lips and taking too many vitamin B12 supplements may lead to allergic reactions to cobalt resulting in dry and rusty lips.
Some prescription medication like propranolol for blood pressure, prochlorazine for vertigo, and accutane for acne or wrinkles can cause chapped lips.
Autoimmune diseases can make your lips become sensitive to the sun and prone to chapping. Persons with such medical conditions are advised to wear lip balm with an SPF (or sun protection factor) of 15. Psoriosis and thyroid disease can also cause dry lips. Diabetes, angular cheilitis or perleche will cause dryness around the mouth. People with Down syndrome usually have chapped lips as well as those with actnic cheilitis, which is caused by too much exposure to the sun. So, if you suffer from persistent chapped lips, seek medical advice because this could be symptoms to other conditions.
DIY Tricks and Home Remedies to Get Rid of Chapped Lips
In most cases, your lips get chapped either as a result of losing moisture or because of some medical condition. There are a few simple home remedies you can use to treat and heal chapped lip, which we will explore in this post.
Apply Lip Ointments
Once your lips become chapped, apply lip balm or ointment to protect the skin from the elements. Buy one that is high in emollients and has petrolatum and dimethicone.
Petrolatum locks in moisture while dimethicone seals cracks and splits in the drying skin and speeds up healing. You’ll need to apply the ointment about six to eight times in a day, first thing in the morning, before you go to bed, and after every two hours during the day. Apply first thing in the morning before you put on lipstick or lip-gloss and last thing at night.
Apply Sugar and Honey Paste
Sugar is a natural softener and it can be used to treat chapped lips. To treat chapped lips with this remedy, put two teaspoons of sugar and one teaspoon of honey in a bowl then mix well. Apply the paste on your lips and leave for 10 to 20 minutes. Rub off the paste with warm water, wipe dry and apply some lip balm.
Apply Tea Tree Oil
Apply tea tree oil on your lips, let it absorb, and pet gently with a wet towel. After the roughness is gone, apply lip balm and repeat the process daily until your lips are completely healed.
Apply Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a natural moisturizer with anti-inflammatory properties that will soothe painfully chapped lips. It also has hygroscopic properties that will moisturize your lips.
To apply this treatment, take a fresh aloe Vera leaf and squeeze out the gel. Apply the gel on your lips. Leave the gel to dry on your lip then wash off. Repeat the process daily until your chapped lips heal.
Apply Milk Cream
Milk cream has a high content of fat, which helps your lips moisturize naturally. To sooth dryness, apply some fresh milk cream on your lips and leave it for 10 tp 15 minutes. Use a cotton ball to wash your lips gently and repeat daily to get faster relief.
Moisturize With Green Tea Bags
Green tea bags are one of the oldest home remedies used in moisturizing dry lips. All you do is use a used tea bag and press it against your lips for at least 4 minutes. This will raise the moisture in your lips, so it should be repeated every day after your daily dose of tea.
Drink Plenty Of Liquids
Your chapped lips could be as a result of dehydration. So, in addition to applying lip ointments, you should also take plenty of liquids during the day. Drinking plenty of water is especially beneficial to the body.
Avoid Licking Your Lips
Licking your lips constantly could actually be the cause of dryness and you should avoid doing so. Instead, apply a good lip balm to reduce the urge of licking your lips due to dryness.
Avoid Applying Certain Skin Care Products
Some skin care products like anti-ageing or exfoliating creams can migrate to your lips and cause dryness. If you’re using either of these products, they might be the cause of your chapped lips. You should keep your lips away from these products. Apply lip ointment before using these products to create a protective barrier and use a wet washcloth to wipe off any excess cream.
If your chapped lips do not heal after trying different remedies for some time, you could be allergic to a food or lip care products. Getting chapped lips through an allergic reaction is called allergic chelitis, and it’s important to identify the allergen that’s causing the problem.
If you suspect your chapped lips are due to an allergic reaction, try avoiding the allergens listed below. Once your lips have healed, start using one product at a time until you identify which one is giving you an allergic reaction.
If you’re allergic to citrus, even a small amount can have an effect on your lips. Exposure to this chemical may come about after putting a twist of lemon in your drink, eating an orange, drinking orange juice, and so on. You can lessen the allergic reaction by using a straw when drinking juice from citrus fruits to minimize contact with the lips.
Mint is found in many products like breath mint, gum, and toothpaste.
Cinnamon is found in some teas, drinks, and dental products.
Many lip balms for healing chapped lips contain ingredients that are allergens. These ingredients include vitamin E (tocopherol), eucalyptus, lanolin, rosemary, mint, non-mineral sunscreen, fragrances, and flavors in lip products.
Use Mineral Supplements
Deficiency in certain vitamins, fatty acids, hunger and lack of proper nutrition can cause your lips to dry and crack. Using mineral supplements to augment your diet will help speed up healing from chapped lips.
Use A Humidifier
In winter, humidity levels in homes drop drastically. Cold, dry conditions in turn increase the chances of developing chapped lips. If you reside in geographic locations that experience a dry and harsh winter, install a humidistat to monitor moisture levels in your home. When the readings fall below 45, switch on the humidifier to moisturize your home’s atmosphere. Doing so will help your lips to absorb moisture from ambient air.
Lips usually become inflamed due to mild irritation. They can also get bacterial or fungal infections that enter through cracks on them. The corners of your mouth can become red and sore and have an inflammation known as angular cheilitis. This condition can be treated by applying ointment on the affected area.
- Angular cheilitis is associated with a type of eczema called contact dermatitis and is common in people who wear dentures. It’s more prevalent with older people who have creases around the corner of the mouth and saliva can build up and irritate the skin.
- Seek help from a professional medical practitioner if your lips are red and sore or suspect they might be infected. Antibiotic or antifungal creams are usually sufficient to treat this condition. If you have a persistent sore on your lips that does not heal see a doctor as soon as possible.
Dos and Don’ts
In most instances, we get chapped lip because we do not protect our sensitive lips or are not aware of the things that cause this condition. Knowing what we need to do and what we should not do to avoid getting chapped lips will save you from this inconvenience.
- Always apply the right lip balm before you go outdoors to protect your lips from the elements.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf or use a ski mask if you are outdoors in cold and windy winter conditions to prevent dry lips.
- Drink plenty of water and fluids throughout the day to avoid getting chapped lips especially in hot, humid, cold and windy conditions.
- Use a straw to drink beverages that contain citrus acid if you are allergic to citrus.
- Protect your lips by applying a good lip balm before using anti-aging or exfoliating products.
- Avoid the habit of licking your lip whenever your lips are dry as this only makes matters worse. Saliva contains digestive enzymes that make lips become sore.
- Do not smoke, drink beer or alcohol in a hot and humid environment as beer will only dehydrate you and may lead to dry and chapped lips.
The lips are one of the most sensitive parts of the body and being on the face makes them vulnerable to the elements. Taking care of your lips is important to ensure that they don’t lose moisture, become dry and chapped. Chapped lips are embarrassing plus they can also be irritating and painful.