Chapped Lips? Here's Your Guide!

. 4 min read

They say, “A smile, is the key to a person’s heart”. This winter let’s make sure we don’t lose the key due to dry, chapped lips. In the blog post we discuss everything you’ve ever wanted to know about chapped lips.

Before going into the details of chapped lips and its symptoms or remedies, you should first try to learn why your lips need a bit of extra care compared to the other parts of the face.

When you look into a mirror, you, certainly, have noticed that your lips look red compared to the rest of your face. Ever wonder, why? This is because your lips do not have sweat glands and lack a stratum corneum - a strong outer layer of the skin. So, exposure to dry, moisture less weather can give your lips a tough time to maintain its softness. Winter is the time when your lips give up and tend to crack, burn or even bleed.

Symptoms:
If you suffer from chapped lips, you may experience one or more of these common symptoms in and around your mouth:

  1. Cracking
  2. Sores
  3. Flaking
  4. Dryness
  5. Bleeding
  6. Swelling
  7. Burning

Causes:
Getting chapped lips during winter is pretty common. However, knowing the leading causes behind the damage would give you better hold on the issue.

  1. Licking your lips:
    Dermatologists agree that the biggest culprit behind chapped lips is continuosly licking your lips. Saliva contains enzymes that are designed to help digest food, not to moisturize our lips. When the air is particularly dry, the moisture we create by licking quickly evaporates, prompting us to repeat the motion again and again.

  2. Mouth breathing:
    Be careful about this one! Mouth breathing (may not be a problem for everyone) aids in drying your lips much faster than drying through lip-licking. When you breathe in or out primarily with your mouth, the passage of air takes away the moisture from your lips.

  3. Citrus/Cinnamates:
    Citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, grapefruits or even tomato sauce can irritate your lips and lead to dryness. Cinnamate based products like gum, candy, and toothpaste also have the similar effect.

  4. Long-wear lipsticks:
    Lipsticks containing alcohol (like phenyl salicylate/salol) for faster settling on the lips can be a problem if worn for a long time.

  5. Too much of Vitamin A:
    Excessive consumption of Vit A (more than 25000 IU) can lead to chapped lips.

  6. Alcohol:
    Alcohol dries out your skin - including your lips.

  7. Side Effects of medication:
    Few medicines tend to have short-term side effects causing unwanted chapped lips. Propranolol taken for blood pressure, accutane for acne or wrinkles, or prochlorperazine for vertigo are few of them.

  8. Allergies and Medical conditions:
    You may not have much control over these factors, but unfortunately, allergies to nickel or cobalt, autoimmune diseases, Thyroid disease, Psoriasis, Perleche, or angular cheilitis, and down’s syndrome can lead to your lips becoming dry and chapped.

Remedies and Preventions:
Chapped lips can be painful, but do not freak out. There is no rocket science in keeping your lips soft and healthy even in the harsh conditions. Easy remedies are available for you to try out!

  1. No licking:
    Absolutely avoid licking your lips. Licking your lips to moisturize them is a natural human tendency, but stay away from this habit as much as possible.

  2. No biting:
    Peeling or biting your flaky lips is a big NO! Avoid picking your lip-scales - let the soft skin of your lips heal on its own. Picking scales often slows down the natural healing process and leads to bleeding causing more pain.

  3. Lip balm:
    Apply lip balm compulsively during winter; choose a balm with hydrating ingredients, such as petrolatum, shea butter, hyaluronic acid and dimethicone. These agents seal off the cracks and prevent your lips to go dry. “You have to reapply it regularly after eat and drinking,” says Dr. Heidi Waldorf, the director of laser and cosmetic dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital. Go for bland lipbalms that get the job done. Non coloured and non flavoured ones are the most nourishing. Leave the colours and fragrant ones for occasions!

  4. Get a humidifier:
    Humidifier help not only your skin but also your nose, throat and lips stay moist.

  5. Avoid spicy food and alcohol:
    Limit or avoid consumption of spicy food and salty treats to save your lips from dryness. Same warning goes for alcohol as well. If you do consume these, then make sure you wash the lips and it’s edges off with water to get rid of the foood particles.

  6. Toothpaste:
    Choice of toothpaste can be important for chapped lips. Artificial chemicals like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate present in toothpaste can be irritating enough to cause dryness and chapping of your mouth. The dehydrating alcohols present in toothpaste also cause chapping.

  7. No mouth breathing:
    Use your nose and only nose for breathing. If you have problems like Apnea take necessary measures or consult a doctor to breath through your nose.

  8. Lip conditioning:
    Use moisturizing lipsticks instead of matte ones. Try to get lipsticks that come with conditioners like shea butter, macadamia oil, Vitamin E.
    Although using matte lip colors are not recommended in dry weather, use a lip conditioner first in case of unavoidable circumstances.

  9. Protect your lips
    Showcasing your lips with a beautiful smile is something you should definitely be proud of. But, covering them with a scarf or ski mask when going out in extremely dry weather is an intelligent choice.

  10. Hydration:
    Keep yourself hydrated. Drinking water helps your skin fight against dehydration. Although drinking water alone can never save you from chapped lips, it is a helpful remedy for a lot of skin issues.

Chapped lips are annoying and, not to mention, often painful. But, it is also one of the easiest beauty problems to solve. If properly taken care of, your lips can stay soft and healthy all year around.

For any persisting problem, you must consult a dermatologist!

With Remedico, you can now get advice from a certified dermatologist from your phone, in just 5 minutes. Consult our doctors today!😄