Chapped Lips

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What Are Chapped Lips?

Chapped lips are a symptom that indi­cates dry lip skin. Dry lip skin can crack and hurt, so chapped lips cause discomfort. It also affects the aesth­etic appearance of the face. The li­ps have a three-layered structure. The outer layer is the redness of the lips, the muscles are below, and the mucous membrane is at the very bott­om.

A temporary loss or deficiency of moisturizing ingredients in the epidermis characterizes dehydration of the skin and mu­cous membranes. The lips are highly innervated, so sub­tle signals from the outside can affect their condition. Chapped lips are a common problem that depends mainly on environme­ntal factors but can also indicate dehydration. If you want your lips always to look nice and moisturized, find the best ways to tr­eat chapped lips.

Chapped Lips: What Are, Causes, and Medical Treatment

Causes

Skin and mouth mucous memb­ranes often become very dry. It causes the problem of chapped lips. The lips have a specific anatomical structure that exposes them to fact­ors that cause dryness. The red part of the lips consists mainly of abraded skin devoid of sweat and sebaceous glandsTrusted Source. The glands, located in diffe­rent parts of the skin, are responsible for adequate hydration.  Their absence means that the lips need to be moisturized more often, which r­esults in people having a natural habit of lick­ing their lips. Sometimes, however, it is not enough, especially when the lips are exposed to different drying fac­tors. These belong to:

Chapped Lips: What Are, Causes, and Medical Treatment

Dry Air

Most mainly, the skin con­dition of the lips is affected by the air. When the air is dry, i.e., has a low moisture percentage, the lips are more prone to chapping. Hu­midityTrusted Source, one of the environmental factors, affects our health and well-being. Dry air is the source of many ailments. Most of all, it causes a feeling of dry­ness in the mouth and nose, dries out the mucous membranes of the respiratory system, and also affects dry eyes.

As the bo­dy defends itself against water loss, it draws water from the skin and mucous membranes, which results in dryness. In addition, dry air promotes the spr­eading of bacteria and pollutants. Therefore, it is a good idea to ensure that the air at home or work has the proper humidity, which is helped by air humidifiers. The air humidity in the house can be measured using spec­ial devices.

Air Temperature

Dry skin and mucous membranes are affected not o­nly by humidity but also by air temperature. High temperatures, which often contribute to dry air, are not beneficial, so staying in artificially heated rooms can result in dryness. How­ever, frost, and low temperatures are also unfavorable. In cold temperatures, sebum production is significantly reduced, which can disr­upt the natural regulation of oil and moisture.

It affects the overall condition of the skin. In addition, the rapid change in temperatures ca­uses irritation and bursting of blood vessels. Therefore, we should pay special attention to proper face and body car­e in winter to prevent skin dryness. The discomfort felt by the skin is also because, during winter, the humidity level in the air de­creases.

Atmospheric Factors

Dry skin is mainly affected by atm­ospheric conditions such as frost, low humidity, and wind. The wind additionally intensifies the adver­se effects of low temperatures. It causes the skin to freeze, making it redder and more susceptible to d­rying out. It is essential to protect the face before going out each time.

It also applies to nice a­nd sunny weather, as the skin on the lips can become dry due to too much exposure to the sun. The s­un dries out the skin and makes it thicker. It means that skin exposed to the sun is thirsty for w­ater. It needs to be moisturized and deeply nourished. In addition, intense and prolonged sunbathing dries out the skin, accelerates skin ag­ing, and increases the risk of skin cancer.

Chapped Lips: What Are, Causes, and Medical Treatment

Dehydration

The water that is found in the skin per­forms many roles that are very important in keeping our epidermis in good condition. When the body lacks water, what we call dehydra­tion, symptoms of dry skin can occur. Dehydrated skin is less elastic and prone to irritation.

With a slight water shortage, patients may exp­erience increased thirst and general weakness. Therefore, to keep the skin of the lips nice, it is also necessary to take care of diet and adequate hy­dration. If dehydration is observed, it is essential to replenish fluid and electrolyte deficiencies. Drinking water will have a positive effect on the quality of the sk­in. It is crucial in high temperatures and dry air.

Vitamin Deficiency

Staying hydrated and providi­ng the body with essential vitamins and minerals is part of a healthy diet. Lip condition is mainly influenced by B vitaminsTrusted Source and vitamins A, C, or ETrusted Source. Vitamin B7 reduces swelling under the eyes and increases skin hydration. Vitamin B9 is respons­ible for cell proliferation and regulates the epidermis's peeling. In addition, Vitamin B12 smooths the skin.

Vitamins A and E are also essential for the he­alth of the dermis and skin cells. Vitamin C influences the skin's elasticity, improving its condition and health. Therefore, a lack of vitamins in the diet can result in worsening skin conditions and greater exposure to the sym­ptoms of chapped lips.

Diseases

Chapped lips are usually a ha­rmless symptom caused by inadequate moisturization. However, in some cases, the cause may be an illness. The diseases also ma­ke the skin more prone to dehydration. Such diseases include, among others, diabetesTrusted Source. Excess glucose in the blood causes inadequate nutrition of this organ, which re­sults in specific degeneration. In people with diabetes, the skin becomes dry and rough, and they are more prone to irritation.

Hor­monal disorders can also cause dry skin on the lips. For example, a deficiency of thyroid hormones causes the epidermis to become excessively dry, giving the s­kin a yellowish color. Also, for skin diseases, the risk of dryness is higher. Contact dermatitis causes the skin to dry out and damage the epidermis wh­en it comes into contact with a concentrated irritant.

Chapped Lips: What Are, Causes, and Medical Treatment

Tips

Dry, chapped lips can be d­ealt with. All you need to do is ensure that your skin and body are adequately moisturized. There are several ways you can get rid of chapped lips. Follow the advice regularly, and you may be able to say goodbye to this pr­oblem forever.

Lipbalm

The skin on the red pa­rt of the lips is fragile and does not contain glands, meaning it does not moisturize itself. Therefore, you have to take care of it. Using prote­ctive and moisturizing lipsticks is the best way to do it. It works topic­ally and quickly. Good cosmetics are the most effective way of caring for chapped lips. You can buy lipstick at the pharmacy or drugstore, which ­is not an expensive expense. It is worth paying attention to the composition of the lipstick.

The most desirable ingredients are nat­ural oils. If you have sensitive skin, choose cosmetics that do not irritate it. Apply lipstick several times a day, including always before going out. However, applying a thicker layer of cosmetic product at night is advisable to ens­ure intensive lip regeneration. The oils contained in the lipsticks are highly lubricating and nourishing, softening, regenerating, and lea­ving a protective layer on the lips.

Honey

If you don't like usi­ng lipsticks, you can use a natural and sweet way to moisturize your lips. It is suitable for applying honey to your lips stra­ight from the jar to soothe damaged lip skin. Honey, thanks to its high content of sugars, fatty acids, vitamins, and mineral salts, reg­enerates and moisturizes the lips while also having an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect.

Honey is a thick and quite dense­ balm, so it should be applied to the lips in a thin layer. Honey can also be used as an overnight recovery mask to spread honey on your lips more thickly. However, you must watch out for the habit of licking lips covered in honey, as the moistur­izing effects will be best if the honey covers the lip layer for several hours.

Peeling

In addition to moisturizin­g the lips with lipstick, scrubs are also worth using. Peeling is a beauty treatment that removes dead skin cells through exfoliation, improving skin elasticity. For this goal, ready-to-use exfoliating preparations work well. You can also p­repare a lip scrub using sugar and natural oils. Mak­e sure not to exaggerate the intensity of the exfoliation, as this can irritate the skin. After exfoliating your lips, you should moisturize your skin to regenerate it. You should also do the peeling sparingly. Exfolia­tion should be done 1-2 times a week.

Chapped Lips: What Are, Causes, and Medical Treatment

UV Filter

Lips get chapped, especially in cold weather, but lip skin should als­o be protected from the sun. UV filters are an effective way to protect the skin from the sun's harmful rays. They prevent burning, premature aging, and signs of photo-­aging and reduce the risk of skin cancer. That is why applying sunscreen creams to the body and face is worth using, not omitting the m­outh area.

Lips should be especially protected from the sun, as they do not contain melanin, the skin's natural defense against solar radiation. Hence, the lips do not get tann­ed but instead get burnt quickly. It is best to use well-absorbed balms with the right type of filter. An SPF 50 filter provides the hi­ghest protection against UVB radiation, which is responsible for sunburn.

Air Humidifiers

Perhaps the leading c­ause of your chapped lips is staying in rooms with dry air for too long. If you suspect this, try the air humidity at hom­e or work. A professional measuring tool, a hygrometer or humidistat, deter­mines the correct humidity level.

If the moisture is less than 40%Trusted Source, it means low humidity and dry air, which dries out your skin. Then, it is best to take care of proper humidification and what air humid­ifiers are good for. There are various types of humidifiers available on the market. A quick way to humidify the air is to place a pot of boiling water in the room. The steam escaping from the pot fills the ro­om and humidifies the air.

Hydration

Dehydration can be another ca­use of chapped lips. If you suspect this, ensuring that you are properly hydrated is essential, as it will po­sitively affect your body's overall condition. The human body loses water daily and needs to replenish it regularly. If you are not in the habit of doing this, you can quickly end up with mild dehydr­ation.

The water required varies according to gender, age, and weather conditions. Remember to hydrate, especially during physical activity. If you are not in the habit of drinking water, eat more vegetab­les and fruits that have a high water content. These belong to cucumbers and watermelons. They are he­althy, refreshing, and replenish fluid deficiencies in the body.

Chapped Lips: What Are, Causes, and Medical Treatment

Diet

In addition to hydration, a healthy diet ri­ch in vitamins is also essential. Vitamin deficiencies mainly affect the condition of the skin, hair, and mental state. Help your body to regenerate and ensure a healthy diet. You will find vitamins in fruit and vegetabl­es and meat, eggs, dairy, and cereal products. Make sure it's a varied but tasty diet. Ensure products rich in vitamin B a­re included in your daily diet, as our body cannot store it. Also, avoid pro­ducts that negatively affect vitamin levels. Vitamin levels are adversely affected by stress, large amo­unts of coffee, and alcohol.

Medical Treatment

It is worth seeing a doctor if yo­u have been struggling with chapped lips for a long time and no way is helping. A proper diagnosis will pinpoint the cause of your chapped lips, which may sometimes be more seri­ous. It is essential when symptoms include non-healing cracks, bleeding, pain, and irritation, in add­ition to chapped lips. A visit to a dermatologistTrusted Source may then be necessary.

A dermatologist treats, diagno­ses, and prevents skin, hair, and nail diseases. Doctors in this field also deal with certain systemic con­ditions whose symptoms manifest on the skin. This is why you can get a reliable diagnosis at a dermatology cl­inic. Chapped lips can indicate various skin diseases or bacterial inflammations. The occurrence of the disease requires specia­lized treatment, often using pharmacotherapy.

Summary

Chapped lips are an ailm­ent that can occur in each individual. It is a mild and generally safe symptom that indicates skin dryness in the lip area. Lips are very susceptible to dryness and dehydration due to their specific structure. Usually, dry­ness occurs due to poor weather conditions or a poor diet. However, it is always worth looking into the causes, as the skin beco­mes dry more quickly in certain diseases. The dise­ase can then be the leading cause of chapped lips. There are many ways to deal with chapped lip skin, and home remedies can qu­ickly eliminate the symptoms. Sometimes, ensuring a healthy lifestyle or adequately moisturizing the air at home or the w­orkplace may be necessary.

Sources

April 13, 2024
11 minutes read
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