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Reasons for Severe Constant Chapped Lips

Reasons for Severe Constant Chapped Lips Reasons for Severe Constant Chapped Lips

Chapped lips can be unsightly as well as painful. The layers of skin on your lips is thinner than other facial and body skin. Because lips lack sebaceous glands, which provide moisture to skin, lips may be especially prone to drying. Increasing your awareness of factors contributing to severely chapped lips can help you prevent a major problem.

Dry Air

In the winter cold, dry weather is one of the most common causes of chapped lips. The lack of moisture in the air has a direct impact on the moisture available for the lips. On the flip side, the hot, dry air of summer can have the same effect, evaporating available moisture. Dermatologist Dr. Lawrence E. Gibson of the Mayo Clinic suggests using a humidifier to moisten the air in your home when necessary. Protecting your lips from the elements also helps.

Oral Habits

Licking your lips can be a vicious cycle. The drier your lips feel, the more you may want to lick them, which only causes further drying and chapping. Gibson notes that saliva is especially quick to evaporate, creating further lip dryness. Rather than licking your lips, put a non-flavored lip balm on them. Other oral habits that can cause chapped lips include breathing through the mouth instead of the nose, smoking, biting fingernails, thumb-sucking and bottle drinking among babies. Use gentle soaps and movements when cleaning around the mouth.

Vitamin Deficiencies

Several vitamins have been linked to a condition called cheilosis, or scaling of the lips. According to Dr. Riva Touger-Decker, assistant professor and program director of Clinical Nutrition at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey, vitamin deficiencies are often first noted in the mouth. Important vitamins that have been linked to this condition include vitamins B6, niacin, riboflavin and iron. Eating a healthy diet containing a variety of fruits and vegetables can provide the essential vitamins that may help this condition.

Medications and Overall Health

Though rare, some diseases have been linked to skin and lip dryness. Such diseases include diabetes and Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disease where white blood cells attack moisture-producing glands. In addition, the Journal of the American Dental Association notes that some medications may cause drying of the lips by reducing the amount of saliva produced. More than 400 medications have been found to cause dry mouth. Talk to your doctor if chapped lips are a chronic problem for you.

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