Chapped Lips

Updated: Jun 15, 2019

Chapped Lips Treatments (Skyn Stories by Dr Meenu Sethi)
Chapped Lips Treatments (Skyn Stories by Dr Meenu Sethi)

Chapped Lips can be painful, uncomfortable and embarrassing. They may cause difficulties in our daily activities including eating, drinking, talking, smiling and kissing etc. Some of the common symptoms are tender lips, flaking, cracking, redness and dryness. The biggest issue with chapped lips is that you cannot cover them with lipstick or any other trick. Chapped lips can affect anyone at any time of the year. Water loss on the lips is two to three times higher than other parts of your body. Lips have little to no sebaceous glands and zero sweat glands (essential to keep them soft and moist). In extremely cold weather, the lips look blue due to lack of oxygen and the blood vessels in the lips also shut down.

Some of the main causes of chapped lips are harsh weather, sun exposure, excessive licking of lips, smoking, dehydration, allergic reaction, certain medications (prochlorperazine for vertigo, propranolol for blood pressure and accutane for acne or wrinkles) and vitamin deficiency. The situation can also be hereditary in some cases. Here are some simple tricks and home remedies to cure chapped lips.

Scrubbing - Use a gentle lip scrub before applying a lip balm if you notice flaking or severe chapping along with a dry feeling. The scrubbing removes dead, dry and flaky skin, leaving you with a smooth skin for better lip balm penetration. Don’t rub too hard, just gently massage them.

Lip Balm - Apply a lip balm to your lips before you wash your face as a cleanser may dry out your lips. Both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can disrupt your pH balance and cause chapping. Look for lip balm having shea butter, it is good for nourishing and moisturizing. Reapply your lip balm frequently and apply it before you put on lipstick and not after.

Avoid Licking - We tend to repetitively lick our dry lips to restore moisture. Even though licking for a few seconds make you feel better, but it is actually making them worse. When your tongue transfers the saliva from your mouth to your lips, which actually eats away and damage the thin layer of skin covering the lips. This becomes a vicious cycle leading to painful and chapped lips. Apply a lip balm if you feel the urge to lick or pick at your lips. Biting and chewing your lips can also produce the similar outcomes.

Apply Sunblock - Do not forget to apply sunblock on your lips. Lips are prone to sunburn as they lack melanin, the pigment responsible for shielding skin from the sun. Look out for a lip balm with an SPF of 30.

Switch Toothpaste - It is time to change your toothpaste if you have an allergy to fluoride. Fluoride in toothpaste not only makes lips dry, but can also cause other irritations inside the mouth. The sodium lauryl sulfate often added to toothpaste also has a drying effect.

Right Ingredients - Apply a clear thick gloss or an emollient lip balm to your lips as part of your before-bedtime skin care routine. Go for petrolatum, which locks in moisture and seals off cracks in drying lips. Avoid any fragranced products that contain ingredients like citrus, peppermint, camphor and menthol.

Stay Hydrated - Lips do not contain oil glands like your skin does, which makes them prone to dryness. Drink 7-8 glasses of water every day to keep your body well hydrated and to attain healthy and smooth lips. Use a humidifier to moisten up the air in a room, which will keep your lips hydrated.

Diet - Avoid eating salty foods, they can increase the urge to lick your lips. Increase your consumption of vitamins A, B, C, B2 and E to moisturize your lips. Avoid taking aerated drinks or acidic juices if you have dry lips as these products soak up the natural oils of the skin. They can also cause burning and irritation to the already chapped lips.

Avoid Caffeine/Alcohol/Smoking- Anything that abstracts moisture from the skin can worsen your problem of chapped lips. Dehydration is one of the main causes of chapped lips. Smoking, alcohol, and caffeine can cause dehydrations, hence should be avoided.

Don’t Sleep with Mouth Open - If you keep your mouth open while you sleep, the air circulating in and out of your mouth all night can dry out your lips. People who snore or have nasal allergies frequently wake up with chapped lips. Try to change your position and see if that helps or consult your physician.

If the chapped lips problem persists, then visit your dermatologist for further treatment. Severe chapping can be a sign of more serious problems, including the herpes virus and pre-cancerous condition called acnetic cheilitis or cancer.

Book Appointment for Best Dermatologist in Gurgaon for Chapped Lips Treatments & All Skin Related Problems will be taken care by Skin Specialist Dr. Meenu Sethi.

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