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Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC Blog

Healing Dry, Chapped Lips

[fa icon="calendar"] Mar 10, 2021 10:39:11 AM / by Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

There is nothing worse than that awful feeling of dry, chapped lips, especially when you have nothing nearby to help relieve that feeling. Chapped lips are most often associated with the wintertime, and it’s dry, cold weather, but you can suffer from chapped lips during any time of the year if you do not take proper care of them.

While many of us are familiar with this uncomfortable feeling, you may not be aware of what causes chapped lips or the dermatologist-recommended steps you can take to heal them. Continue reading to learn more.

 

WHAT ARE CHAPPED LIPS? 

Also known as cheilitis, chapped lips occur when your lips are dry or cracked. Your lips may be chapped if they burn, sting or feel uncomfortable in general. Some symptoms of chapped lips to be aware of include: 

  • Dryness
  • Cracks, peeling or flaking
  • Bleeding
  • Redness
  • Burning, stinging or tingling

 

WHAT CAUSES CHAPPED LIPS? 

There are several reasons which may cause chapped lips or make them more likely to occur. These reasons are as follows: 

  • Dry weather
  • Dry air indoors
  • Lack of oil glands in your lips
  • Not moisturizing your lips
  • Wearing irritating lipsticks or balms
  • Harsh or drying products like menthol, camphor, or salicylic acid
  • Sun damage
  • Frequent licking, touching or picking your lips
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Holding metal with your lips

 

HOW CAN CHAPPED LIPS BE TREATED AND PREVENTED? 

Your lips lack oil glands and cannot produce moisture. Furthermore, the skin on your lips is much thinner than on other parts of the body. So when your lips are exposed to outdoor elements like the dry cold or harsh sun, they are more prone to dryness, flakiness and peeling. However, with the proper protection methods, you can heal chapped lips and successfully prevent them. Here are some tips from the American Academy of Dermatology to help you have healthy lips year-round. 

 

Use a Non-Irritating Lip Product 

You should use a non-irritating lip product to keep your lips moisturized and protected throughout the year. If you apply a lip product and feel stinging, burning or tingling, you should immediately stop using it, as the product is only irritating your skin more. 

The AAD recommends avoiding lip products that contain any of the following ingredients: 

  • Camphor
  • Eucalyptus
  • Flavoring: Cinnamon, citrus, mint, and peppermint flavors 
  • Fragrance
  • Lanolin
  • Menthol
  • Octinoxate or oxybenzone
  • Phenol (or phenyl)
  • Propyl gallate
  • Salicylic acid

Instead, look for lip products that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. Additionally, they should contain one or more of the following ingredients that will help soothe and moisturize your lips: 

  • Castor seed oil
  • Ceramides
  • Dimethicone
  • Hemp seed oil
  • Mineral oil
  • Petrolatum
  • Shea butter
  • Sun-protective ingredients, such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide
  • White petroleum jelly

 

Apply Lip Products Regularly 

Whichever non-irritating lip product you choose, the AAD suggests applying it several times each day and before bed to keep lips moist throughout the day and night. You may need to use a thicker ointment or layer of white petroleum jelly if your lips are severely cracked. 

You should always apply a lip balm or treatment with SPF 30 or higher before going outside, even in the wintertime. This will protect your lips from the harsh and damaging rays of the sun. The sun can quickly burn chapped lips and thus, make them prone to cold sores. While outdoors, remember to apply your lip balm or treatment every two hours. 

At the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC, we offer a medical-grade Lip Treatment. Our Lip Treatment helps restore hydration and youthful volume to the lips. It contains a proprietary complex of stimulating ingredients that draw beautiful, natural colors. Additionally, it has broad-spectrum SPF 30 to help protect your lips from dangerous UVA/UVB rays and free radical damage. After using our Lip Treatment, your lips will appear more plump and rosy and have the lasting benefits of lip hydration and overall health. 

 

Remember to Stay Hydrated

Dehydration occurs when your body does not have as much water as it needs. Dehydration leads to chapped lips too. The most effective way to avoid dehydration is to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. WebMD suggests drinking six to eight glasses of fluids per day. Keep in mind that the recommended intake of water varies and is dependent on many factors. Additionally, you should consume a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables to keep hydrated and healthy. If you would like to learn more about how your diet can support your skin, check out our blog, Foods That Will Make Your Skin Glow.

 

Stop Licking, Biting and Picking at Your Lip

Licking chapped lips to moisten them is tempting, but the AAD states that will only worsen the problem. As your saliva evaporates, your lips will just become dryer. Furthermore, you should not bite or pick at your lips. These actions may cause them to bleed, irritate them further and make them hurt worse.

 

Avoid Holding Metal Items in Your Lips  

Absentmindedly holding a paper clip in your mouth is not a good idea if you have sensitive lips. It can cause irritation. Therefore, the AAD recommends avoiding holding items made from metal in your mouth. 

 

Use a Humidifier 

Using a humidifier indoors can help provide moisture to your lips and skin. They can also be helpful if you breathe through your mouth at night. WebMD suggests having a humidifier both at home and at work, if possible.

 

SEE YOUR DERMATOLOGIST | THE DERMATOLOGY CENTER FOR SKIN HEALTH, PLLC 

Chapped lips should heal in two or three weeks, but you should consult with your dermatologist if the problem persists. Chapped lips that do not heal can be a sign of an allergic reaction, yeast infection or something more serious, like actinic cheilitis. Actinic cheilitis is a precancerous condition that causes your lips to turn scaly and dry. 

At the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC, our dermatologists can diagnose the underlying cause of your chapped lips and discuss recommended treatment options with you. If you would like to make an appointment, give us a call at (304) 598-3888 or online here. We’re currently accepting new patients and encourage you to make your appointment soon. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

References: 

Cheilitis 

7 dermatologists' tips for healing dry, chapped lips

Chapped Lips

Dehydration Prevention Tips - How To Avoid Becoming Dehydrated

Topics: Preventive

Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Written by Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Our priority is to deliver complete, compassionate care to our patients while educating and assisting them as they make care decisions regarding the health and beauty of their skin.