Chapped Lips: Causes, Symptoms and Prevention of Dry Lips
Your lips look the most attractive when they’re soft, supple and healthy. Nobody likes to flash a smile when they have cracked lips that bleed. Dry or chapped lips may be common and harmless, but it is crucial to protect and hydrate them. There can be several causes and symptoms for dry lips but there are also many treatments that can prevent peeling lips. Here’s all that you need to know.
What are Chapped/Dry/Cracked Lips?
When the skin on your lips starts to dry out, it leads to chapped and cracked lips. Chapped lips can majorly occur during the cold months of the year due to the dry weather. But there are cases where people experience dry lips all year round due to environmental or other reasons. If your lips sting, burn or feel uncomfortable in general, it is because they’re chapped.
Common Causes of Dry Lips
Many things can cause chapped lips other than environmental exposures like sun damage or dry weather.
– Not drinking enough water
– Licking, touching or picking your lips too often
– Wearing lipsticks or lip balms that irritate the skin
– Not moisturising your lips daily
– Overuse of drying products like salicylic acid, menthol, camphor
– Holding metal with your lips
Health Conditions That Cause Dry Lips
There can be more causes of dry and cracked lips that aren’t too common. Sometimes, they can be related to the below-mentioned health conditions:
– Vitamin deficiencies
– Inflammatory bowel diseases
– Angular cheilitis (Swollen and inflamed corners of the mouth)
– Actinic cheilitis (Chronic chapped lips developed due to sun damage)
Symptoms of Dry Lips
Now that you are aware of the common and health-related chapped lips causes, let’s look at some dry lips symptoms you should watch out for:
If you experience some or all of these symptoms, it means you have chapped lips and you must indulge in lip care sooner than later.
How to Prevent Dry Lips?
Your lips are not only extremely sensitive, but they also don’t have their own oil glands, making your lips prone to dryness. This is the reason your lips fall prey to drying, chapping, peeling and cracking every now and then. It is quite common and can happen to anybody, regardless of the weather. But if you proactively put your time and energy into preventing dry lips, it will definitely lead to happy and healthy lips. So, if you’re someone who’s experienced any of the above-mentioned dry lips causes, here are some simple ways to prevent it:
1. Stop licking and touching your lips:
You might be licking your lips to reduce the feeling of dryness on your lips, but let us tell you that saliva does no good to hydrate your lips. In fact, it eventually worsens the situation of dry lips. Similarly, when you touch your lips too often, you’re drying out the skin on your lips, resulting in chapped lips.
2. Use a moisturising lip balm:
If your lips feel dry or itchy, use a lip balm that can moisturise the sensitive skin on your lips while providing it with nourishment. One such product is the Pure Sense Macadamia Nourishing Lip Balm. This lip balm is an exotic blend of ethically-sourced macadamia nut oil that assists cell regeneration of chapped lips. It also contains almond oil and castor oil, both of which keep your lips healthy and remove discolouration from your lips. Beeswax soothes and moisturises the skin on your lips and prevents it from chapping. Overall, this chemical-free and cruelty-free lip balm promises to give your lips a fresh and rosy look.
3. Avoid eating spicy foods:
If you have sensitive skin, spicy food can irritate your lips and cause dryness and chapped lips. Spicy foods that contain hot chillies, hot sauces, etc., can compromise the skin barrier and lead to chapped lips. Spicy foods usually have a burning sensation, which can become painful for cracked lips.
4. Keep yourself hydrated:
Drinking eight to ten glasses of water daily will not only do good for your body but also your skin. By keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day, you can fight dehydration that leads to chapped lips. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean drinking water. , you can also sip on some herbal teas, fresh juices, vegetable soups, etc., to keep yourself hydrated.
5. Don’t over-exfoliate:
Some people tend to go overboard when using exfoliating products on their skin. Over-exfoliating your lips can further damage chapped lips. Exfoliation is meant to remove dead skin cells from your skin. But when you overdo it, you also strip away all the moisture from your lips. Hence, limit exfoliating your lips to once a week and follow it up with a hydrating lip balm or a lip ointment that protects dry and peeling lips.
6. Protect your lips from the sun:
Caring for your skin before you step out in the sun should be your number one priority. Wearing a scarf over your head or covering your arms with gloves isn’t enough. You should also protect your lips by using a lip balm with broad-spectrum UV protection all day long and all year round. Speaking of which, the Pure Sense Grapefruit UV Protection Lip Balm is the kind of product you should be investing your trust and money in. This refreshing blend of exotic goodness offers natural sun protection while healing chapped lips. Formulated with vitamin C-rich grapefruit and exotic oils, this lip balm is sure to moisturise your lips and provide them with essential vitamins. This product is free of sulphates, parabens and carcinogens, and cruelty-free and earth-friendly. You can apply this lip balm as often as you wish for luscious and supple lips.
7. Don’t peel or bite flaky skin on your lips:
For someone who deals with chapped lips daily, it might seem like a good idea to constantly peel or bite the flaky skin on your lips. But you are forgetting that the skin on your lips is too thin and delicate. It can practically cause bleeding, slow down the healing process and cause more irritation.
8. Avoid using harsh and drying treatments:
There are certain treatments that can do more harm than good for your skin. These treatments include ingredients like menthol, camphor and eucalyptus that can dry out or irritate the skin on your lips. Hence, it’s better to stay away from these harmful and drying ingredients. Instead, make use of natural ingredients like coconut oil, honey, olive oil, etc., to moisturise and nourish your dry lips.
9. Keep away from allergic ingredients:
If you’re someone who is allergic to plant-based oils and moisturisers like shea butter, castor seed, beeswax or soybean oil, switch to petroleum jelly-based lip care products to bring back your lips to full health.
10. Avoid using too much makeup:
Using makeup regularly is fine. But using too many products at once, especially on your lips, can cause dry lips. Limit the use of a lip pencil, lip colour or lip gloss and make sure to layer it with a hydrating lip balm to keep them moisturised. At the end of the day, don’t forget to clean your lips while cleaning the rest of your face.
When to Seek Medical Treatment
If your lips keep drying and chapping despite following the above-mentioned tips, it’s better to consult a dermatologist. Chances are that you have a lip infection or a more serious problem that needs to be taken care of medically.
– Health conditions like angular cheilitis and actinic cheilitis can cause severely chapped lips. If you have this condition, your lips may have a lumpy texture, develop ulcers, be dark pink or red in colour, have white plaques on the surface. Dental trauma and excessive saliva production can also turn chapped lips into cheilitis. A dermatologist can thus, determine whether your dry lips are chapped in general or if you need medical help for cheilitis.
– Dry lips can also be a major cause of malnutrition and dehydration that can cause symptoms like constipation, lightheadedness, headache, dry mouth, decreased urine production, etc. Some people who are extremely dehydrated or malnourished can also experience low blood pressure, rapid breathing, fever or rapid heartbeat. People with alcohol addiction are more prone to malnutrition due to vitamin deficiencies. Older adults are also at higher risk of malnutrition that can lead to chapped and cracked lips. If you suspect you’re malnourished or extremely dehydrated, immediately see a doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does petroleum jelly darken lips?
Petroleum jelly when exposed to the sun can cause darkening of the skin on your lips. But that doesn’t mean you need to stop using petroleum jelly entirely. Instead, you can make it a habit to use it before bedtime so that it can work on your chapped lips and keep them moisturised throughout the night. Also, overuse of anything is harmful to your skin. So limit the use of petroleum jelly to just once in the night.
Why are my lips dry even though I use a chapstick?
Repeated use of lip balms or chapsticks will not heal your dry lips completely. These lip care products only provide temporary comfort. In fact, some can even make scaly lips drier. This is because when the thin layer of moisture from the chapstick or a lip care product evaporates, it further dehydrates the skin on your lips. Try using some natural ingredients like honey, coconut oil, argan oil or olive oil to keep your lips moisturised at all times.
What deficiencies can cause dry lips?
If you’re wondering what causes dry lips other than the above-mentioned common causes, deficiencies can also be major contributors. Especially deficiencies in riboflavin (vitamin B2), folate (vitamin B9) and vitamins B6 and B12. In this case, you should start including foods in your diet that are rich in vitamin B2, B9, B6 and B12 or consult a doctor to prescribe you medical treatment for the same.
Dry lips or cracked lips are common and one should not worry about them unless they’re not treatable with any of the earlier mentioned solutions. It’s always better to indulge in some sort of skincare to avoid issues like chapped lips, peeling or broken lips that bleed. After all, a little effort goes a long way and when you take good care of your lips, your smiles start to look better than ever!
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