Many people out there would have heard of the term chapped or chapping of the lips and assume it is the same as having dry, sore or cracked lips however this is not necessarily true so here I will try and define chapping of the lips and give the differences compared to other lip related conditions.
Chapping happens when they are exposed to extreme weather conditions primarily from cold windy conditions which in turn make the lips dry out and they can consequently crack. Now straight away we now have dry lips and cracked lips all because of the chapped lips right? Not so, drying of the lips can be caused by many different reasons, enough to make whole website about right?! Dried lips can be from malnutrition, dry air, exposure to sun, low vitamin and mineral levels and so on and can by typically described as dry flakey skin on the lips. Cracking of the lips can be caused from the lips drying out so much that they eventually split or crack but it would take a lot for lips to get to this stage, only happening in really extreme weather conditions where other things like survival take preference. Cracking of the lips then for the most part caused by the dermatological medical problem called Chelitis and you can read a whole article about that here! A similar term worth mentioning is a split lip, this results from an altercation with someone or something where your lip/s are impacted with strong force and that force splits the skin on the lip.
Having lips that are chapped can lead to having sores and inflammation of the skin cells of the lips and this can be caused by too my excessive licking, rubbing or in some cases kissing and this presents itself as redness and the surrounding skin is also irritated. The first thing people will see when searching for information on lip conditions is cold sores which is a virus and a completely different condition. The interesting thing is a commonality between chapped lips and cold sores is lanolin, a chemical which aids repair of lips, an ingredient in many of the commercially available lips balms, and works well at being a remedy for cold sores.
So what the heck is chapping then? Well as I see it, it is dry lips that have small sores, as per the top lip in the picture to the right. You see these chapped sores if you like could be caused by the owner nibbling away the dry skin on her lips or they could had got stuck together whilst she slept and when she opened her lips tore some skin off. In some cases these sores could have been caused by the peeling of the skin itself without any assistance from the owner.
It is worth mentioning that Wikipedia’s entry also refers to it as a generalized phrase for a number of different lip ailments and and each condition has it’s own set of criteria for why they occur. As with dry or dried lips it can be presented as a pre courser for other medical conditions and maybe in this case, chapped should also be used in a similar fashion.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree with me or do you feel I have missed something? I would love to hear!