Chapped Lips? No Problem!

During the drier months, it isn’t unusual to see your lips become more chapped. Unlike most parts of the body, the lips don’t produce any oil or other fluids. Instead, they are exposed to outside elements like the sun and harsh, cold winds. These can cause your lips to dry out and crack quickly. While these are the obvious reasons for chapped lips, there may be more to it than just exposure.  Arielle Kauvar, M.D., director of New York Laser & Skin Care has found that there are several other factors that can cause lips to be dried out. These include allergies to lip products, side effects of medication, hypothyroidism, and Sjogrens syndrome. Most of these causes can be reversed easily by switching products or changing medication if it becomes too much of an issue to keep your lips moisturized. It should be noted that if these changes do not make a difference, it is recommended to see a doctor.  If you’re looking for some non-medical advice on how to save your chapped lips, read on.

The first, and maybe most obvious tip is to stop licking your lips.  It is instinctive, and maybe stress related, to lick your lips for instant dry lip relief. However, doing this isn’t doing your lips any favors. Licking them will make them drier and return make you want to lick them more. This creates a never-ending cycle of drier and drier lips that you’ll want relief from. You’ll also want to avoid breathing through your mouth if you can help it. The steady stream of in and out air does nothing but keep your drier and drier. If you are serious about keeping your lips hydrated, avoid spicy and acidic foods. These can be irritants to the skin on your lips and cause further chapping.

A method you might not think about is the use of a humidifier. If used while you sleep, you are getting a long, continuous stream of moisture produced to replenish those dry lips. It is recommended to set your humidifier for 30-40% as this is optimal for both skin and lip rehydration. It’s a win-win all around. Another good, and simple, treatment to consider is changing your lip balm. In addition to applying it before you step out the door, there are benefits to knowing what you’re putting on your lips. Opt for balms that are thicker and made from ingredients such as wheat-germ oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, aloe vera, shea butter, sunflower oil, or cottonseed oil. These will replenish the moisture lost to your lips. Drinking more water will also provide much-needed hydration. If you’re experiencing chapped and flaky lips, don’t pick at them! Use an over the counter hydrocortisone cream. Use it until the flakiness stops and then switch to a beeswax lip balm to keep a protective layer over your lips.

There is a long-standing myth about chapstick and lip balm addiction. This is simply false. There is no ingredient in these products that can make you addicted to using them. Instead, concider that the addiction theory stems from the enjoyment of relieving dry lips.

About Erin Thompson