Nov 14, 2019

Chapped Lips 101: How Do You Get Rid of Them and Prevent Them from Coming Back

First off, what causes dry, chapped lips?

Do you have a recurring problem with dry, flaky lips that causes pain and even bleeding? It looks like you're not the only one who's suffering from this dilemma. Chapped lips, which is known medically as cheilitis, is a very common issue among people regardless of where they live. Why? The skin on the lips is naturally prone to drying out because it is relatively thinner and more delicate than the other parts of the body. The lips are also exposed to various elements such as heat, cold, and dry air, which in turn, make the area excessively dry. Also, the kissers don't have the same concentration of oil glands as the regular skin so they can't produce their own moisture. If that's the case, how can we treat chapped lips? Before anything else, let's take a closer look at the causes of flaky lips.

Causes

Aside from the natural structure of the lips, which makes it prone to excessive dryness, there is a range of external factors that can cause the lips to become flaky. Knowing them will help you decide how to control these factors so you can prevent your chapped lips from getting worse.

Weather

As the weather gets colder and drier, the humidity levels and temperature tend to decline which causes the skin of the lips to dry out faster. That explains why people most likely experience chapped lips during the colder periods of the year, which in our case, happens during the -ber months and extends to early next year.

Licking The Lips

When your lips are dry, what do you immediately do? You might subconsciously lick your lips to add moisture. Sorry to burst your bubble, but licking your lips might only worsen the problem. While licking may offer temporary moisture to the lips, the saliva produced will evaporate and pull moisture from the surface of the lips, thus making it drier.

Drying Ingredients in Lip Products

Have you ever thought whether your lip products were among the culprits for your chapped lip problem? Because yes, they can be the ones to blame. If your lip product has humectants such as glycerin, camphor, menthol, and phenol, it can make dry lips worse. Certain pigments and fragrances can also contain allergens that make your lip dry and flaky.

Sun Damage

As much as dropping temperatures can cause dry lips, prolonged exposure to direct heat and ultraviolet rays from the sun can also contribute to the problem. You might have noticed that your lips started to become dry and chapped after a day spent under the sun.

Medications

If you are taking medications such as antihistamines and diuretics for a prolonged period of time or are undergoing chemotherapy, you will be prone to dehydration and of course, flaky lips.

Medications for acne, which contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, can also dry out the lips when they come in close contact with it and result in chapping.

Treatment

Now that you've already known the causes for your chapped lips, it's time to discuss what you can do to get rid of them. Here are treatment suggestions that would surely work for you:

Regularly Exfoliate The Lips

Chapped lips can be rough in texture and start peeling off. Once this happens, don't take off the skin because it can lead to bleeding and pain. Instead, use a gentle exfoliator like a sugar scrub on your lips and gently scrub using your fingers. Make sure that the product is made of natural ingredients to avoid irritating your lips further.

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Choose The Right Lip Products

After exfoliating the lips, follow up with a well-chosen lip balm or moisturizer. This would keep the lips from drying out further and regain the lost moisture. You should pick those products containing soothing and moisturizing ingredients such as beeswax, petroleum, lanolin, and ceramides and avoid those with menthol, camphor, phenol, or mint flavoring. While they can provide a cooling sensation, menthol can dry out the lips and make it more chapped.

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Try Natural Chapped Lip Remedies At Home

Though the treatments mentioned above are guaranteed safe for your lips, surely nothing beats the natural remedies which you can easily get at home. Here are some of them.

Aloe Vera

The gel that forms inside the aloe vera plant leaf is very effective in treating inflammations and in soothing dry and damaged skin thanks to the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants at its heart.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is purely extracted from the flesh of coconuts and can effectively fight inflammation while keeping the skin soft and smooth.

Honey

Honey has moisturizing properties which makes it a good treatment for dry and flaky lips. It also has antioxidants and antibacterial properties which help in preventing infections from sprouting from the cracked lips.

Cucumber

It comes with vitamins and minerals that gently moisturizes the lips and improve its health upon continuous usage.

Prevention

In addition to treating your chapped lips, you should also take certain measures to prevent the problem from coming back. Follow these simple tips to get rid of flaky lips for good.

Don't Lick Your Lips

As what was aforementioned, licking your lips doesn't help in moisturizing dry lips, but instead, makes them even drier than they were before. So the general rule of thumb is: Avoid licking, playing, and pulling the skin on your lips subconsciously. If you continue these harmful habits, chances are high that your lips will become dry and flaky again.

Use Sunscreen

A day spent under the sun could cause significant damage to your lips. However, to keep your lips protected, use a lip balm with sunscreen. The product will help keep your lips from getting burned as well as prevent dryness and peeling.

Drink Plenty of Water

One of the major culprits when it comes to flaky lips is dehydration. A lot of people don't drink much water throughout the day which results in dehydration as the body has lost more fluid than it was able to take in. The body reacts by pulling water from the skin to ensure that the cells stay hydrated that's why you'll notice your skin looking dried up, including your lips.

Quit Smoking

Smoking tobacco can irritate the delicate skin around the lips, which causes them to dry out and flake. Those who quit smoking have noticed that their problem with chapped lips subsided and that their skin on the lip area has started its natural healing process.

Treating and preventing chapped lips could mean making a few lifestyle adjustments. However, if you are willing to go the extra mile to get rid of this problem, you will surely succeed!