I hate having dry lips. Our lips are an important feature of the face and therefore affect how others perceive us, this in turn alters our self esteem and well being. Having beautiful, plump lips can be a major confidence boost… and help us attract members of the opposite sex. When the lips are neglected they can become dry and chapped. This can be painful and not to mention embarrassing! Just imagine meeting that perfect someone for the first time, leaning in for a kiss… and disaster strikes – your lip splits! I know that most people would rather avoid situations like this and to ease the suffering of dry painful lips. So this website is dedicated to the causes and remedies of dry chapped and sore lips. All the information I present here has personally researched by myself or picked up when trying to combat my own lip issues! If you suffer from dryness of the lips I really hope that I can help you. I’ve also included some handy pages on other information I’ve picked up over the years, such as how to make a cheap effective sugar scrub and the difference between certain lip balm types.
To begin with let us discuss exactly what the problem is. This may seem a bit overly rigorous and formal to some but there is an important difference between if your lips are dry or chapped and other lip conditions. These differences, and being able to spot them, is helpful when learning how to tackle your lips issues. Dry lips is the condition of having less hydrated and moisturised lips than usual, the skin will feel tighter and faint lines may be visible. Now this is a different condition to having chapping of the lips. An individual will experience chapped lips when their lips have open sores, are red and also dried out but not split or cracked. I personally think that when lips are chapped that they hurt more as the lips are more sensitive, especially to salty or acidic foods. Quite often having condition is a precursor to chapped lips and so knowing how to prevent and combat your lips from drying out can save you from the horror of chapping! Worse still is the medical condition of cheilitis, this is where you have really sore lips that are also red and inflamed. I will talk more about this in another post.
So as you can see there are different types of lip problems with differing levels of severity. Now that we know what types of conditions can arise we also need to know what causes them. Knowing the causes will help us figure out what we can do about it.
Dry and Cracked Lips Causes
The key factor in causing dry lips is the environment we live in. They can easily dry out when they are exposed to extreme environmental conditions. This includes:
- strong sun with high UV (ultraviolet light) levels,
- cold weather,
- strong winds,
- air with a low humidity.
Moisture is lost through the lips much easier than other parts of the body. This is due to the skin, more specifically the collagen layer, being much thinner here. Evaporation of moisture from the lips causes further drying. A common mistake in suffers of almost any lip conditions especially if they are dry because people tend to want to lick them to try and re-moisturise. This is a major mistake as it will just cause extra evaporation, especially in sever weather conditions, and just dry the lips out further. Once you have this has occured, if you let the situation progress with no intervention then the lips can become cracked, which is more unsightly and painful.
If you haven’t exposed your lips to the weather conditions listed above and are still suffering from dry lips then you may be experiencing this condition due to medical factors. If you are low in certain vitamins such as A and C this is known to be associated with lips becoming drier due to poor skin health. I’ve dedicated a whole page to this with all the vitamins of importance listed you can find this here.
A common medical condition known to leave the sufferer prone to dry lips is anaemia. Anaemia may be due to a lack of iron or vitamin B12. When this happens the red blood cells are smaller and less numerous than in an healthy individual. Because of this oxygen isn’t transported efficiently and the suffer can become extremely fatigued. So if you are overly tired and have an experience drying of the lips a lot it is probably a good idea to speak to your GP about getting a blood test done to check your iron and B12 levels.
Furthermore it is known that certain prescription medications come with a side effect of drying the lips out. So check to see what medications you are on and if you think they may be causing your lips to dry out to a point that it is interfering with your daily life I would certainly recommended speaking to the medical professional that wrote your prescription.
This may sound a bit surprising but how you breath may also play a factor in making your lips drier. Recent studies (ref: http://voicecenter.med.nyu.edu/health-tips-patients/speech-swallowing-and-breathing/how-you-breathe) have shown that it is more natural to breath through the nose. This moisturises the air before it reaches the lungs. If you are prone to constantly breathing through your mouth then you can dry your throat out and I would bet money on your lips drying out too. Obviously this is my own personal opinion extrapolated from the above study but not an improbable consequence of breathing through your mouth too much.
A final point I wish to make that could be a cause dry lips or chapped lips is the perfectly normal process of ageing. Older skin is thinner and more vulnerable to the elements, this will make you more prone to dry or chapped lips. If you are already suffering from any of the above causes then having older skin could exasperate the situation.
Of course you don’t have to live with the irritation of painful dry lips, now that we have explored the main causes we can figure out how to combat them!