To protect your lips from the harsh weather and environmental factors you should apply a lip balm and some dry lips treatment. Smearing a thin film over them will protect from harsh winds and similar conditions, using a product such as a plain petroleum lip balm will be invaluable in strong winds that can strip any moisture from your lips. If it is very sunny with high UV values then you can also use a product that has a decent sun protection factor (SPF). These range up to factor 50 for paler skin tones.
If your lips are not protected then you may end up with very dry lips and may eventually crack leading to a chance of infection from dirt and bacteria. The lip balm acts as a protective barrier against the sun, wind, cold or dry air and will trap in moisture and protect any cracks against the chance of infection. It is interesting to note that lip balms do not provide any re-moisturise of the lips, many people naively think they do – I did! So if your lips are dry then the balm acts as a protective barrier that helps them return to normal. It is useful to use balms as a protective measure to stop any dryness in the first place.
If your lips are so dry that they are becoming chapped then a menthol balm may be useful because menthol is a mild anaesthetic so along side providing a protective barrier they can also help ease the pain of those annoying cracks!
A few useful lip balm facts are:
- Lip balms that come in small pots or tubs should be avoided, especially if you have cracked lips, as dipping your fingers into the balm when applying could introduce germs and bacteria to the open sores.
- Be careful of lip balms that have added colours and flavours in them. These may look or taste nice but if you may be allergic to the ingredients which will cause dry and chapped lips. If you want to use a balm that isn’t plain petroleum or beeswax this is fine, but just keep an eye out for any allergic reactions that will make your lips worse.
If you have dry lips you need to rehydrate the skin, drinking plenty of water should achieve this. Regular application of a balm will help the lips to heal and they should soon be back to normal, but it does take time. If you have a healthy diet you will be back to normal within a few days!
If you have rehydrated, have a healthy diet and protected your lips with a balm and still don’t see any signs of improvement then your lips are drying out due to non-environmental factors. Try a well rounded vitamin supplements if you could be low in any vitamins that help maintain healthy skin. If you feel tired and could be suffering from anaemia then visit your local GP for a blood test, they should be able to prescribe iron supplements or give you a B12 injection to boost your red blood cell count.
General tips for dry lips
A quick summary of the most important tips for dry lips are:
- Use a balm if you think your dry lips are due to environmental factors.
- Drink plenty of water and ensure you have a healthy diet to allow your lips to re-hydrate.
- Do not pick or bite the flaking dried skin. This will create open sores and will slow the healing time.
- Avoid licking your lips. It is so tempting but doing this will only dry your lips out more as the saliva evaporates.
- If your lips are cracked and have open sores then do not use lip balm in little tubs as these harbour bacteria.
- If you think you have a vitamin deficiency that is causing your skin to dry out then try a decent supplement. If your think that your dry lips are due to a medical condition or prescription medication you are using then speak to your GP.
- If all of the above fails in improving your lips then they may be the result of an allergic reaction. Check your lips-stick and toothpaste for the above mentioned chemicals and monitor what foods you are eating.
I think it is important to now devote a page on my site to the more severe condition known as cheilitis. This is far worse than the common condition of cracked lips and special care must be taken if you think you are suffering from it.