- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
3 Reasons Why Your Lips May Be Dry and Cracked
Lips that are dry and cracked often look unsightly, but did you know that they may also be a sign that you're not in the best of health? In this sense, the problem can sometimes act as a wake-up call that something isn't quite right. Here are three reasons that may be behind dry and cracked lips.
Reason # 1 - The weather has changed
Hot and cold weather can both dry out your lips, especially if you aren't applying moisturizing lip balm (or similar) to redress the moisture that is being lost. As the lips do not produce natural oils to keep them lubricated, a change in the weather can mean that they become dry in colder temperatures and dehydrated when the weather is hotter. Like the skin on your body, the lips can be damaged by exposure to the sun and wind and this can make them dry, chapped and cracked.
Reason # 2 - You aren't getting the right vitamins
A diet that is lacking in vitamins A, B (especially vitamin B2), C and E can result in dry and cracked lips. What foods can you find these vitamins in? Good sources of vitamin A include carrots, tomatoes and leafy, green vegetables; vitamin B2 can be found in liver, milk, eggs and vegetables; other sources of vitamin B include fruits, fish and wholegrain cereals; vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, and vitamin E is contained in fruits, vegetables and wholegrain cereals.
Reason # 3 - You have a medical condition that requires treatment
Dry and cracked lips can be a sign of diabetes, especially if you're also experiencing a strong thirst and a frequent need to urinate. Other medical conditions that can be indicated by dry lips include Kawasaki disease (a blood disorder), Sjogren's Syndrome (an autoimmune disorder), macrocytosis (a blood conditions that affects the red blood cells) and some sexually transmitted infections.
How to Treat Dry and Cracked Lips
If you suspect that your lips have become dry and cracked due to an underlying medical condition, seek advice from your physician as soon as possible. Otherwise, the problem can often be treated by drinking more water to hydrate your lips and upping your intake of vitamins A, B, C and E. You may also want to apply some petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) or a lip balm that has no flavor to lock in moisture. If your lips are particularly chapped, a medicated lip balm may be a better treatment option as it can tackle the dryness head-on while also offering more hydration.