Chapped, Dry Lips? Dermatologist Tips for Prevention and Treatment
Self-Care Is Usually All that Is Needed
Are you a frequent lip licker? Do you breathe through your mouth rather than your nose? Do you go outside without lip balm or lipstick with sunscreen? Well, stop it!
Licking your lips may temporarily seem to be the answer to dry lips, but in reality, you are only making the situation worse. Your lips have no oil glands to protect themselves from the onslaught of continual wetness.
Breathing through your nose not only aids your body in better filtering incoming air and warming cold air before it hits your lungs, it also prevents your lips from drying out. Mouth breathing tends to dry lips from the continual exposure to air movement.
Lip balm, dermatologists recommend, should be applied daily. Use a lip balm or lipstick with an SPF factor of at least 15. An added prevention and treatment strategy to keep your lips supple and moist is to dab some petroleum jelly on them before retiring to bed.
You should not ignore the value of balanced nutrition and adequate hydration. Iron deficiency and some B vitamin deficiencies can lead to chapped lips that require more than lip balm application for healing. Drink plenty of fluids--lip health is one more reason to follow this oft prescribed advice.
Although chapped, dry lips can occur any season of the year, there are some considerations in cold weather months that add to the likelihood of the condition without proper prevention strategies. The dry heat from cold month heating systems can rob your lips and skin of needed moisture. Add moisture to the air by using a humidifier or simmering a pot of water on the stove at frequent intervals. People with radiator heat can place metal pie pans with water on top of the radiators for added moisture in their homes.
Don't negate the effects of the sun on your lips in the winter. Continue to use a lip balm with sunscreen protection. Protect your lips from the winter elements of wind and cold by keeping your mouth covered.
How to Make Homemade Lip Balm
This hub provides step-by-step directions and photos for making your own lip gloss and lip balm -- and a special recipe for chapped lips. (Hub author: Wordscribe43)
When Chapped Lips Is Something More
The medical term for inflamed lips is cheilitis. There are a number of different types of cheilitis, from simple chapped lips to conditions that require care from a dermatologist or other health care professional. If your chapped, dry lips don't respond to self-care, it is time to consult a health care provider.
Be alert to symptoms such as cracking of the lips, especially at the corners of the mouth (angular cheilitis), swelling of the lips and mouth area, redness around the mouth, sores or lumps under the skin of the lips.
Sometimes cheilitis is caused by an allergy, an infection or rarely, a chronic condition elsewhere in your body. The symptoms aren't going to go away until you've been evaluated by a medical professional who can prescribe the appropriate treatment.
- Chapped lips: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
- Cheilitis. DermNet NZ
Cheilitis. Authoritative facts about the skin from the New Zealand Dermatological Society.
- Chapped lips: What's the best remedy? - MayoClinic.com
Learn how to prevent and treat chapped lips.
- American Academy of Dermatology: Lip and Mouth Care
The American Academy of Dermatology is committed to advancing the science of medicine and surgery related to promoting a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails.
Dermatologist Talks Chapped Lips
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