We’ve all suffered from dry lips, chappy lips at some point in our lives, and it’s super annoying! Come winter, your lips go from smooth and supple to unsightly, and don’t we all hate it? Of course, we have the climate to blame, but there’s a lot more we can do than just waiting for spring.
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In some cases, women have chapped lips, even when the weather is warm. The skin of the lips is much thinner and more delicate than that of other parts of the body. Lips are also exposed to the elements, including the sun and cold, dry air, which makes them prone to dryness, cracking, flaking, and peeling.
Lips do not have sebaceous glands and therefore cannot produce their own moisture, but natural moisturizers can help.
That’s because several irritants are to blame for chapped lips. And if you are someone who keeps licking your lips in a bid to moisturize them, then please stop right away. This can make your case of dry lips worse.
What are dry lips and chappy lips?
Chapped lips also known as cheilitis simplex or common cheilitis are characterized by cracking of the lips. The lower lip usually becomes inflamed.
There may also be burning or the formation of large, painful cracks when the lips are stretched.
Chronic cheilitis simplex can lead to crusting and bleeding.
Dry lips causes
No matter what the season, you can get cracked lips any time. It is a common problem in people of all age groups, regardless of gender.
Our lips lose their moisture due to harsh weather conditions, smoking, vitamin deficiency, allergic reactions, excessive licking of lips, and a lot of times dehydration.
There are some common reasons that are responsible for dry and chappy lips. So let’s discuss those causes:
- Hot water:- The skin of the lips is much thinner than elsewhere and also does not have sebaceous glands. This makes them vulnerable to becoming dry and sore. Washing your face with boiling water can strip the lips of their natural oils, making them drier.
- Licking the lips:- Some people and children have a habit of licking and chewing their lips. This can be unfavorable. Because licking and chewing the lips is the main reason to dry and chappy lips. Constantly licking your lips is another cause of chapped and dry lips. This is because the saliva that covers the lips contains enzymes to help digest the food we eat. When you frequently lick your lips, the enzymes break down the skin on the lips, causing them to become chapped.
When you frequently lick your lips, it becomes a harsh cycle where the action dries them out, and you lick them to control the feeling of dryness, which makes it worse. This can lead to a condition called licker’s dermatitis, where symptoms include extreme dryness and redness of the lips.
- Low intake of water:-
If you don’t drink enough water or live in a place where the weather is cold and dry, it can crack your lips. Spending long hours in the sun during the warmer months can also dry out your lips. Even when you don’t use lip balms to keep your lips hydrated regularly, they can become chapped and dry.
- Health conditions:-
Health issues like low stomach acid, poor nutrition, and an unhealthy gut can lead to chapped lips. If you are dehydrated, the body will absorb water from the remaining body to hydrate its cells. This can cause constipation and dry skin and lips.
Chapped lips can also be associated with a variety of underlying medical conditions, including thyroid disease, vitamin deficiencies, and inflammatory bowel disease. Low thyroid function may cause dryness of the mouth and lips, and B complex vitamin deficiencies or low zinc or iron levels have been reported to cause chapped lips, he adds. Crohn’s disease can affect the entire gastrointestinal tract from the lips down to the anus, and if you have severely cracked lips that are not healing as well as belly pain, this may be a rare cause.
- Side effects of drugs:-
Some medications like antihistamines prescribed for allergies and isotretinoin prescribed for acne have side effects that dry out the lips. The chemotherapy medications and lithium used, to treat bipolar disorder can also cause dry, chapped lips.
Humidity and warm weather can lead to dry and chappy lips because dry weather and humidity cause dehydration in the body and dehydration leads to dryness in the lips. Cold weather or cold wind that runs along the lips and removes moisture.
- Inflamed lips are known as cheilitis. This can be due to a skin condition, or an infection such as herpes or cold sores.
- Medications that impact the salivary glands, the mouth’s surrounding muscles, or sensations throughout the lip area
- Tongue injuries, teeth that rub against the lips, or other dental issues.
- Poor oral health. This can be brought on by general neglect, eating disorders, or bad oral hygiene habits.
- Burns, such as eating food that’s too hot, or sunburn. Burns can result in the lips swelling, scarring, and blistering, and it may take a long time for the pain to alleviate.
- Nasal congestion, which leads to chronic mouth-breathing. This can sometimes be a result of illness, such as when you have a common cold.
Symptoms of dry lips
Dry and chappy lips may accompany symptoms related to other body systems. These may include;-
Dry and chappy lips may accompany other symptoms affecting the mouth, including;-
- Canker sores
- Cold sores (herpes simplex virus infections)
- Dry mouth
- Hoarse voice
- Redness, warmth or swelling
Severe signs of dry and chappy lips;-
- Loss of consciousness for even a brief moment
- Fainting or change in the level of consciousness
- Reduced urine production
Diagnosis of dry lips
Several tests help physicians identify and diagnose dyspareunia. Your physician will start by creating a complete medical and sexual history. Possible questions your physician may ask you include:
- When and where do you experience pain?
- Do partners or positions cause pain?
- Are other activities causing pain?
- Does your partner want to help you?
- Are there other conditions that may be contributing to your pain?
A pelvic exam is also common in the diagnosis. During this procedure, your doctor will examine the outer and inner pelvic area for signs of:
- Inflammation or infection
- Anatomical problems
- Genital warts
- Abnormal masses
The internal exam will require a speculum, a device used to view the vagina during a Pap test. Your doctor may also use a cotton swab to apply gentle pressure to different areas of the vagina. This will help determine the location of the pain.
Initial exams may lead your doctor to order other tests, such as:
- Pelvic ultrasound
- Culture test to look for bacteria or a yeast infection
- Urine test
- Allergy test
- Tips for determining emotional causes
Home remedies for dry lips
Dryness and peeling skin on the lips are very uncomfortable. The best way to prevent this problem is by providing hydrating and nourishing your lips. Before we get into the simple home remedies and tips you can use for chapped lips, here’s something you should know. Water is an essential part of any beauty regimen. It helps to keep your body and skin hydrated. No matter how many remedies or lip balms you use, if you do not drink enough water, your chapped lips will keep coming back.
There are the following home remedies that can be effective in dry lips:
Coconut oil as dry lips remedy
Coconut oil, and castor oil, are natural moisturizers and lubricants.
Adding essential oils, such as tea tree oil or grapeseed oil, will speed up the healing process of dry lips. They also prevent infections, especially if the dryness has led to cracks in your lips.
They contain healthy fatty acids that hydrate and condition your lips to make them soft and supple. Coconut oil can be a natural remedy for dry lips
Ways to use Coconut oil:-
- Depending on which carrier oil and essential oil are available, make a blend by mixing 1-2 drops of the essential oil in the carrier oil.
- Apply this blend to your lips and leave it on.
Dose:- Twice or thrice during the day. It can also be applied before going to bed and left on overnight.
Honey and Vaseline for dry lips
Honey has antibacterial properties and is one of the most nature’s best healing agents. It is also a humectant.
Vaseline or petroleum jelly is widely used to soften and nourish the skin and prevent it from drying. It seals in the moisture in the skin.
By combining these two ingredients, we get a very effective home remedy for dry lips.
Ways to use honey and Vaseline:-
- Apply a layer of honey to your lips.
- Apply a layer of Vaseline on top of this.
- Leave these on for 10-15 minutes.
- Use a damp tissue or a damp cloth to wipe it off.
Dose:- Once every day for about a week for lasting results.
Cucumber remedy for lips
This cool vegetable can be your best friend during the summer, so utilize it to treat your dry and chapped lips. Cucumber is an excellent hydrating agent for the skin. It also has a nourishing and soothing effect on the skin. That’s what makes cucumber a perfect remedy for lips
Ways to use cucumber:-
- Rub the cucumber slice gently on your lips for a minute or two.
- Leave the cucumber juice on for 10 minutes, then wash your lips.
- You can also mash 1-2 cucumber slices and apply this as a mask on your lips.
Dose:- Once or twice every day.