Chapped, or cracked, lips is the term commonly used to describe dry lips. Chapped lips can be caused by several factors, that include the weather, excessive licking of the lips as well as certain medications.
Chapped lips are a common condition that can happen to anyone, especially during winter months. However, some people may develop a more severe form of chapped lips called cheilitis, caused by an infection.
Lips don’t contain oil glands like other parts of the skin. This means lips are more susceptible to drying out and becoming chapped (cracked). Lack of moisture can make the problem worse, whether it’s weather-induced or related to a lack of self-care.
Little humidity in the air during the winter months is known to cause chapped lips. Frequent sun exposure in the summer can also worsen your condition. Another common cause of chapped lips is habitual licking. Saliva from the tongue can further strip the lips of moisture, causing more dryness.
Use lip balm
A good balm can buffer your delicate lip skin from the elements. Choose one high in emollients. Check the ingredient list for petrolatum, which locks in moisture, and dimethicone, which seals off cracks and splits in drying lips. Don’t limit yourself to products with the word balm in them. Lip ointments are just as good a choice.
Whatever type of product you choose, apply it before you put on lipstick or lip gloss, not after. To keep your lips protected, reapply frequently. You need about six to eight coats during the day, so apply first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and every couple of hours during the day. To make this easier, stash a tube in your purse, one in the car, a third your desk, and another near the bed.
Protect your lips outside
You cover your hands and feet when the temperature drops – do the same for your lips. Wear a scarf or a ski mask that covers your mouth when you go out in the cold. And remember to choose a lip balm with broad spectrum UV protection year-round.
You know it has tonnes of benefits for your body. One of those is to fight the dehydration that leads to chapped lips.
Use a humidifier
These devices provide the moisture your lips and skin crave. It’s great to have one at work as well as at home, especially in the winter. Turn it on at night to replenish your skin while you sleep.
Don’t lick your lips
While it might seem like a good idea at the time, running your tongue over your lips is the worst thing you can do for them. As your saliva dries, it takes more moisture from your skin. Reach for your lip balm instead.
Don’t peel or bite flaky skin
The skin on your lips is thin and delicate. Picking at it can cause it to bleed and hurt, slow the healing process, and cause more irritation. Also, don’t exfoliate it. It can cause further damage to chapped lips.
Listen to your lips
Some treatments can do more harm than good. Ingredients like eucalyptus, menthol, and camphor can dry or irritate your lips. Stay away from them, especially if you have dry skin. If you’re allergic to plant-based oils and moisturisers like beeswax, shea butter, castor seed, and soybean oil, switch to a petroleum jelly-based product.
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