What are chapped lips?

What we all know as dry cracked lips can also be related to chapped lips or cheilitis. Your lips will probably start off with chapped lips but this will eventually evolve into cracking or inflammation of the lip (usually the lower lip) area. This is usually a common and easily treatable condition however this may become more serious and chronic. According to Devinder Thappa, a clinical pediatric dermatologist, if chronic, dry cracked lips will progress to crusting and even bleeding.

Causes of chapped lips

There are different causes of chapped lips. The good news is this condition is easily treatable however chapped lips can occur and can be caused by different factors so it is always important to be well informed as to why your lips are drying out. In certain situations, special treatments and creams are needed in order to heal dry lips.

1. Climatic Conditions

The weather can be a huge factor to consider when your lips start to dry out. Is it winter or summer where you are? Chances are the harsh winds of winter or the intense heat of the summer sun may be causing those cracked lips.

2. Dehydration

When the body is running low on water the body just cannot function properly. This can also cause your lips to dry out since dehydration sucks out any moisture (or color for that matter) from your lips.

3. Allergic Reactions

You should always be careful when choosing lip products such as lip glosses and lip sticks since the ingredients in certain lip products can cause allergic reactions which will then in turn make your lips dry and flaky. This is also called contact dermatitis. This occurs when irritants in your lip products adversely affect the health of your skin.

4. Sun damage

This was already mentioned in the first part but it is extremely important to stress that the sun can not only damage your skin but it can also damage your lips. The normal parts of our body have around double the amount of layers of skin as our lips, this means that the lips are extremely sensitive and can even be sunburnt. Always remember to bring lip balm with sun protection on it to ensure the health of your lips even in the summer time.

5. Severe weather conditions

Severe weather conditions such as cold climates and strong cold winds that are usually brought on by the winter season can also cause chapped lips. Constant moisturization will help ease dryness. Also, covering your lips using a stylish scarf will also protect your lips from the elements.

6. Excessive licking of the lips

Licking your lips may seem like a good idea at the moment, but it is exactly that, it's only quick fix. Saliva has active enzymes that aid digestion. These enzymes will quickly digest the skin protecting your lips which just end up making them drier than before.

7. Vitamin Deficiency

A deficiency of B vitamins can trigger dry lips. A good way to ensure that you are getting enough B vitamins in your system is by always opting for unprocessed foods since these are jam packed with this vitamin.

8. Breathing through the mouth

According to Doctor Oz, Snorers usually have this problem since the continuous breathing through your mouth all night will dehydrate your lips. If you are having this problem then it would be a good idea to put on so lip balm before sleeping to serve as somewhat of a protective barrier for your lips.

9. Exposure to wind

The lips are easily exposed to the elements since they do not have a protective component unlike the eyes (eyelashes). This means that your lips become easily affected by harsh winds that end up drying your puckers out.

Treatment for chapped lips

Treatment will always vary from the cause of your chapped lips. In more serious and chronic situations, special treatments and ointments have to be recommended by your dermatologist to alleviate any dryness on your lips.

According to Doctor Oz, you should look out for certain ingredients such as lanolin, beeswax, shea butter and Vitamin E since these components will not only moisturize but also locks in moisture to keep your lips healthy and luscious.

How to prevent chapped lips?

In order to avoid the appearance of unsightly chapped lips, the following tips should be of great help to you:

1. Always moisturize lips using lip balms containing beeswax and other natural lip moisturizers. 

2. Drink and rehydrate with plenty of water. 

3. Avoid constant lip licking and biting since this will only worsen dry lips.

4. Remember to have a lip balm with sun protection on it when going out in the summer time. 

5. Stock up on B vitamins in order to ensure that you do not have any vitamin deficiencies that will lead to dry lips.

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