Call it chapped lips, cracked lips, dry lips or even call it like all the dermatologists say “Cheilitis” when you have a chronic and severe lip dryness but do not worry it is a common problem within the winter or summer time, we know how much it is a painful and annoying state.
The problem is all about dryness! the problem may seem to be easy to be resolved.
However, it demands an adequate knowledge about its causes in order to avoid it and win your constant battle with your chapped lips and start to enjoy having sexy, attractive and youthful lips instead.
In addition, you have also to have a background about the following point which is, dealing with dry skin is much better and easier than dealing with dry lips!
The reason behind this fact is that your skin has a unique thick, protective layer in addition to the presence of natural oils and lipids that aids in the skin protection against many environmental factors ;
Such as temperature differences, sun’s harmful radiation and many other factors that may have an adverse effect on your skin.
However your lips have no oil glands that produce the natural oils, in addition, it is composed of a thin layer that is susceptible to dryness, therefore, chapped, a cracked look is your own look.
we all know how it feels when you have a chapped lip!
The common symptoms and signs can be observed clearly such as bleeding, dryness, cracks, sores, and flaking.
What are the causes of chapped lips?
- Lack of hydration
Simply, your body composed of 60% water from the total body weight!
Dry lips considered as a sign that reveals the fact of “you did not drink plenty of water”.
Therefore, your whole body organs not only your lips got affected and continuously you will suffer from different problems.
So, it is important to drink from eight to twelve glasses of water daily and you have to increase this quantity if you are athletic, alcoholic, diabetic.
Dehydration not only affects your lips but also may cause high blood pressure, muscles cramps, joint diseases, depression, kidney and gall stones …etc.
- Lip licking
A chapped lip is common during winter in addition to the itchiness of mouth’s corner, lip licking contribute in the previously mentioned signs as follow;
The air of the winter is very dry so we used to feel that our lips dry as a normal result we keep licking our lips and sometimes we lick around our mouth as well!
Lip licking increases the humidity on the lips and mouth’s corner, after few seconds this moisture evaporates, in addition, your tongue transfers saliva from your mouth to your lips, which eats away and destroys the thin layer of skin covering the lips.
As a result, the situation gets much worse and the feel of pain, itchiness, and severe dryness increases and sometimes it is associated with bleeding.
- Cosmetic products
If you are allergic to certain cosmetic products such as beeswax, shea butter, or castor oil; you may suffer from chapped and cracked lips.
Therefore, you have to take care not to use cosmetic products that contain those ingredients.
Moreover, using lipstick may worsen the situation!
You need to just use lip balm instead “Wear it while you sleep and also apply before stepping outside,” advises Joanna Vargas, a celebrity facialist in NYC.
- Medications and Medical conditions
Certain medications may cause chapped lips as a side effect such as Accutane for acne or wrinkles, propranolol for blood pressure, or chemotherapy for cancer patients.
On the other hand, you have to know that some medical conditions can cause chapped lips such as
- Thyroid and diabetes disease may cause lip dryness
- Autoimmune diseases that may cause lip sensitivity to sun therefore; cracked lips
- Sjogren’s Syndrome. A kind of autoimmune disease which can damage the tear ducts and similar glands is also a common cause of seriously cracked
- Down’s Syndrome patients
- Kawasaki Disease; blood disorder disease that may cause chronic dry lips
- Sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV that cause chapped, cracked lips
- Sun damage or weather changes
Not surprisingly, the sun’s harmful radiation may cause chapped lips because all of us forget to apply sunscreen on our lips.
On the other hand, as we all know that “wind exposure” in the winter can cause chapped lips.
Therefore, it is important to protect your lips before the exposure to either conditions.
- Be aware of vitamins usage
Unfortunately, vitamins types are not of the same effect on your lips! For example;
Case1: chapped lips may result due to vitamins deficiency such as the vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) deficiency.
On the contrary, Case2: chapped lips may also result due the excessive consumption of Vitamin A that usually affect your skin and lips causing cracks!
If your consumption for vitamin A exceeds 25,000 IU per day, you’re consuming too much of this vitamin.
- You are using the wrong toothpaste
Numerous types of toothpaste can cause cracking, dryness, irritation of the lips, this is due to the presence of certain chemical called “Sodium lauryl sulfate”.
As one of its ingredients that cause all the previous mentioned signs.
- You are a mouth breather
Mouth breathers are usually suffered from the chapped mouth because the air usually pass over their lips leaving it very dry.
Mouth breathing caused by many reasons such as nasal congestion or may be due to chronic allergy. You can handle it through using lip balm whenever you feel mouth dryness or you can use a humidifier.
- Irritating Foods
Citrus, salty food, cinnamon, mints and spicy food usually cause dryness for your lips.
Therefore; you have to take care while eating such food and as much as possible try to avoid the lip area especially if your lips are already cracked.
- Too much scrubbing!
Lips scrubbing is an excellent way of getting rid of dead skin found on your lips, but be aware too much lip scrubbing may cause a negative effect instead!
Our recommendation is once a week is enough in order to avoid any kind of risks.
Could it be caused by a virus?
Yes, chapped lips may cause serious medical problems such as and the “Herpes Virus”; which is considered as a painful disease.
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)
Based on the World Health Organization (WHO) fact sheets it was stated that:
“HSV-1 is a highly contagious infection, which is common and endemic throughout the world. Most HSV-1 infections are acquired during childhood, and infection is lifelong.
The vast majority of HSV-1 infections are oral herpes (infections in or around the mouth, sometimes called orolabial, oral-labial or oral-facial herpes)”
Signs and symptoms:
“Oral herpes infection is mostly asymptomatic, and the majority of people with HSV-1 infection are unaware they are infected.
Symptoms of oral herpes include painful blisters or open sores called ulcers in or around the mouth. Sores on the lips are commonly referred to as “cold sores.”
Infected persons will often experience a tingling, itching or burning sensation around their mouth, before the appearance of sores. After initial infection, the blisters or ulcers can periodically recur. The frequency of recurrences varies from person to person.”
Other cases may be a sign of certain complication:
You have also to visit a dermatologist if your chapped lips doesn’t heal even after using lots of lip balm types or after using natural home remedies.
Because it may be a sign of certain fungal or bacterial infection or it may be a serious problem like cancer or pre-cancer condition that is called actinic cheilitis.
Well, you have to be aware of any kind of changes that appears on your body generally and you have to follow up by yourself first with the simple medications and home remedies that may help if your case to developed into a serious case that demands a visit to a doctor.
How to get rid of chapped lips at home
- Always use healing lip balm that contains natural ingredients such as almond oil, beeswax, shea butter and always keep your lips moisturized. On the contrary, you have to avoid using lip balms that contain camphor or petroleum jelly as one of its ingredients that make lips feel better momentarily but it actually dry out your lips even more.
- Use hydrocortisone ointments, vitamin E or glycerin based ointments are the best for chapped lips.
- Avoid overdo scrubbing, once a week is enough.
- Always use a humidifier in your home that help moisten up the air.
- You have to change your toothpaste type immediately if your lips starts to dry and crack.
- Stop wearing your favorite lipstick 24/7; it will worsen the situation if your lips are chapped.
- Don’t ever peel or bit your lips, and if you used to do this habit unthinkingly; you have to apply a thin layer of olive oil in order to substitute the removed layer of oil that is naturally found on your lips but in extremely small quantity.
- You have to apply sunscreen not only on your facial skin but also on your lips skin; you can use sunscreen with SPF 15 in order to avoid any kind of sunburns.
- Avoid smoking and chewing gums; it usually tear up your lips and cause bleeding especially if you have sever chapped lips, due to the presence of certain chemicals that worsen the situation.
- Water…water … make sure that you drink plenty of water or eat vegetables or fruits that contain high percentage of water.
- Consider your diet too…eat more food that contains the needed vitamins or through consumption of vitamin pills.
And because we know how much chapped lips is uncomfortable state here is Some home remedies that are very helpful… check out the following remedies… scroll more;
- Use Cucumber
Prepare cucumber slices and apply them on your chapped lips for ten minutes, this will help in the rehydration process
- Use Aloe Vera
The well-known natural substance, that is known for its powerful effect in healing and reducing the pain associated with chapped lips, therefore it is advised to apply Aloe Vera gel two times per day and you will feel its effect immediately
- Use natural oils
Apply jojoba , olive, coconut, rosehip, shea butter or almond inform of oil on your chapped lips as they help to decrease the pain and dryness found at this time
- Green tea bag
You can dip one green tea bag in hot water for a few minutes then take out this bag from the hot water and apply it on your chapped lips. It will help to heal the dry, dehydrated skin and decrease the burning sensation associated with chapped lips because green contains antioxidants and tannins.
- Cocoa butter
Apply a small amount of cocoa butter on your lips and leave it on overnight, the reason behind the power of either organic cocoa or shea butter is that they are composed of essential fatty acids that effectively nourish the dehydrated skin of your chapped lips.
- Rose Petals
Surprisingly, you can mix 5-7 rose petals with a considerable about of milk then mash those petals with the milk until you have a paste like form then apply it on your lips for 30 minutes.
But, how it help? You forget that the rose petals are source of vitamin E which is a nourishing substance for your skin, they are also important in order to bring back the natural color of your lips. On the other hand, no one can deny the efficacy of milk as it contains lactic acid that is considered as an excellent exfoliating agent for your chapped lips.
Last but not the least, everything take time to heal…so be patient and smile