Monday, June 6, 2022

Preventing Chapped Lips

For many people, they fight chapped lips only during the winter but for others, including myself, they seem to fight chapped lips year round.   Chapped lips are dry, cracked skin on your lips.  They are caused by dry or cold weather, exposure to the sun, dehydration, or licking your lips too much.

This happens because the skin on your lips are thinner and more sensitive than the rest of the skin on your body.  Your lips do not have any oil glands so your lips are at risk of becoming chapped.  Chapped lips is a medical condition called cheilitis.  In addition, if the chapped lips are caused by licking them, this is referred to as lip lickers dermatitis. Furthermore, chapped lips can occur seasonally or all year round. Sometimes, one gets chapped lips due to certain medicines.

Chapped lips are diagnosed visually by seeing dry or cracked lips, peeling skin, itching skin, or sores around the mouth.  There are ways to prevent chapped lips by doing a few easy things.  First, protect your lips before you go out.  Apply a lip balm or cream that contains sun screen since you need to protect your skin from the sun. Your lips tend to be exposed to sun so wear a scarf that adds a layer of protection.  Don't forget to reapply the creme or balm regularly on your lips. 

Refrain from licking your lips.  Although the moisture seems to make it feel better, it evaporates quickly, leaving your lips dryer than before. If you find yourself licking your lips due to the flavored lip balm, switch to a plain unflavored version so you don't lick your lips.  

Make sure you are hydrated by drinking lots of liquid throughout the day and when you are home, run your humidifier so there is sufficient moisture in the air. In addition, try to avoid irritants and allergens like fragrances, or dyes and breathe through your nose.  When you breath through your mouth, you cause your lips to dry out.

To treat and keep from getting chapped lips, many of us reach for certain products such as lip balms designed to repair and prevent them.  First of all, it is recommended one reach for a healing ointment rather than a lip balm but for many, it is easier to find a lip balm or chap stick. When buying a healing ointment or balm, look for one that is  fragrance free, hypoallergenic, have oils such as caster seed oil, shea butter, ceramides, dimethacone, titanium oxide or other sunscreen.  Avoid balms that contain camphor or eucalyptus, menthol, flavoring such as peppermint, cinnamon, certain waxes, or salicylic acid.

Lip balms actually seal the cracks in your lips while hydrating at the same time.  Lip balm should be applied as needed throughout the day. Make sure to reapply it after you eat or drink and apply it just before bed to protect your lips overnight and allow the lips to hydrate.  If you are outdoors, make sure you reapply the balm at least once every two hours so the sun screen protects your lips.

If your lips begin bleeding, use a lip creme designed to heal chapped lips but if the lips do not improve after a week or two, see your doctor for additional help.  It is possible to use lip gloss if you don't have anything else but it is still recommended one use a healing ointment or lip balm over the gloss.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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