How to Stop Chapped Lips
Chapped lips result from insufficient moisture in your lips or in the skin around your lips. This is a common condition, especially in cold or dry climates. The best treatment is prevention, but once you’ve developed chapped lips, you can usually remedy your dryness with simple, consistent care. Although it is rare, some people suffer from chronic chapped lips, a condition called chelitis. This may indicate a medical problem and should be investigated by a doctor or dermatologist.
Protect your lips from exposure to air. Use a wax-based lip balm frequently during dry, cold weather. Keep the lip balm with you at all times, and apply it often throughout the day. This can help your lips retain moisture and is a good protective intervention. If you already have chapped lips, then use a moisturizing lipstick or lip balm.
Avoid exposure to sun, wind and cold. In the winter, cover your lips with a scarf. In the summer, use a lip balm that contains a sunscreen.
If your chapped lips don’t respond within a day or so, try simple emollients such as medicated petroleum jelly or other medicated commercial lip therapy balms. Apply these emollients often. The more you apply them, the quicker your lips will heal.
Breathe through your nose rather than your mouth. When you breathe through your mouth, you essentially expose your lips to wind and moisture, exacerbating your dryness.
Keep yourself hydrated. Drink plenty of liquids, especially during winter months. Drink a glass of water every couple of hours. You can also help your skin and lips retain moisture by using a humidifier at home.
Avoid licking your lips, and become aware of any habits such as chewing or biting your lips. The evaporation of this moisture dries out your skin, plus the digestive enzymes contained in your saliva irritates sensitive, chapped skin. Some people, and especially children, unconsciously lick their lips after applying flavored lip balms, so use unflavored treatments.
If your chapped lips persist chronically despite persistent adherence to the above recommendations, consult with your doctor or dermatologist. A number of specific allergies and sensitivities can cause chelitis in some people, according to Derma Doctor.This includes sensitivities to: red dyes; cinnamate (the cinnamon flavor in candies and toothpaste); phenyl salicylate, a product used in many lip products; propyl gallate, a product contained in some lip sticks; and sodium lauryl sulfate, a product contained in some toothpastes. Some people are sensitive to nickel, so avoid putting metallic objects such as paper clips in your mouth.
Your doctor should do a complete physical as certain medical conditions can contribute to chronic chapped lips including anemia, the autoimmune condition Sjogren’s syndrome, abscesses or periodontal disease, psoriasis, lichen planus, candida infection, photosensitivity (i.e., sensitivity to light), and hypothyroidism. If you snore, have sleep apnea or enlarged adenoids or tonsils, you may tend to have an excessive flow of air through your mouth, which can dehydrate lips and cause chronic chapping.
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