We all suffered from dry, cracked lips from time to time, especially as the cold, windy weather kicks in. The reason why this happens is just as simple as the solution to the problem, you just need to change some lifestyle habits and choose the right lip care products and remedies.
The medical director of Dermpath Diagnostics in Dallas, dermatologist Clay J. Cockerell, MD says that “There are several different things that can cause chapped lips. Most of the time it’s just caused by dryness.” The main causes behind this uncomfortable condition are usually the outdoor elements, like the wind and the cold weather.
Even though this is the most common factor, sometimes there are some more serious causes for persistent chapped lips like:
- Sun damage to the lips that have become a precancerous condition
- Inflammatory skin disease
If even after using the appropriate lip care products the chapped lips problem persists, Dr. Cockerell urges everyone to consult a dermatologist and discover the root cause of the problem.
Breaking the Chapped Lips Habit
The following tips will help you in the treatment and prevention of chapped lips:
- Stay hydrated. Cracked lips can happen as a result of a lack of water in the organism, meaning that you should up your water intake to stay hydrated and prevent the problem before it happens.
- Use lip products with a sun protection factor (SPF). They will protect your lips from sun damage, which can lead to chapped lips.
- Don’t lip-lick. Dry lips can urge people to lick them to shake off the feeling of dryness. However, this habit can actually make matters worse and you enter an endless vicious circle. Fight the urge to lick your lips and apply some lip balm instead.
- Don’t exfoliate. Exfoliation can make dry lips even more uncomfortable which is why it’s not recommended. The skin on the lips will regenerate on its own in time.
Choosing the Right Chapped Lip Product
It’s best to use a basic lip balm, petrolatum or paraffin based, which can keep moisture in your lips, protect them from the elements, and give them time to heal. This is the primary ingredient in “medicated” lip products as well. Cockerell says “My recommendation is to put on Vaseline Intensive Lip Therapy or ChapStick frequently throughout the day,” who adds that you should also choose one with sunscreen protection. “Your skin will return to normal over a period of time.”
If you frequently suffer from chapped lips you shouldn’t go through your medicine cabinet on the first signs of the condition. Try the following advice to prevent and relieve the situation
- Antibiotic ointment. “You probably don’t need this unless you have an infection,” says Cockerell. She adds that if you suspect your lips are infected it’s best that you consult a doctor to find the best course of treatment instead of trying self-medications.
- Zinc oxide. He says “That’s mainly a sunscreen. It won’t treat chapped lips, but will help prevent sun damage”.
- Hydrocortisone. Cockerell warns that this steroid cream “can cause a problem with thinning of the skin around the mouth and the development of an acne-like condition,”. “Don’t overdo the hydrocortisone or the steroids.”
- “Natural” products. All of these products like beeswax, Shea butter, lanolin, mentholatum and coconut oil are recommended for lip care but you should be wary when using it because they can lead to allergies and make your dry, cracked lips even worse.