Many people deal with chapped lips year-round, but winter weather can also take a toll on sensitive facial skin. Those with severE chapping may also suffer from cheilitis, a condition that causes excessive drying of the lips. However, there are many other more common reasons why people develop chapped lips. Fortunately, there are also ways to banish the condition—without chemical-filled chapstick.
While chapped lips can be difficult to deal with, it’s possible that your regular routine is only making things worse. In fact, there are many causes of chapped lips, with a few of them directly relating to our lifestyle habits. Here are ten common causes of chapped lips.
Water is healthy for your entire body, but a lack of hydration causes problems both inside and out. When your skin lacks sufficient water to keep it supple and hydrated, it shows in the form of dry and chapped lips. However, this cause is often overlooked as many people don’t consume enough water daily. You can also become more dehydrated during exercise.
Lack of Protection
While most people only apply sunscreen to their bodies when they visit the beach, sun protection is important all year round. It’s also important for the most delicate exposed skin on your body: your lips. Because sun exposure can damage skin, your lips are particularly susceptible, and not protecting them creates chapping.
Toothpaste that has sodium lauryl sulfate on the label may be contributing to your chapped lips. That’s because this ingredient is drying and can also cause skin irritation. If you notice chapped lips with other symptoms such as irritation at the edges of your mouth, your toothpaste could be the culprit.
Whether you have a cold or have sinus problems, breathing through your mouth exposes your lips to a lot more air than usual. And excess exposure creates dry conditions that only worsen without appropriate treatment.
Dry Cold or Heat
By now you’ve likely realized that the weather plays a part when it comes to dry and chapped skin. But it doesn’t matter whether the environment is cold or hot—it’s the condition of the air that’s important. Both cold and heat that are dry just pull the moisture from your lips, creating cracks and discomfort.
With the long list of ingredients in toothpaste, makeup, and supplements, it’s possible that you’re consuming something you are allergic to. It’s also possible for allergies to emerge after a prolonged period—your body can develop an allergy in response to exposure. One allergic symptom is dry or irritated skin, and in this case, it’s on your lips.
Licking Your Lips
If your lips feel mildly dry, you may lick them to temporarily restore moisture. But over time, the air will dry your lips again, creating the undesirable environmental conditions that make chapping even worse. Over time, this bad habit keeps perpetuating dry lips.
Overexposure to Citrus
Citrus fruits contain acid that can not only feel uncomfortable on your lips, but also make them more susceptible to sun damage. Mint and cinnamon flavors can have the same effect, too.
Excess Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a good thing for your body, but if you’re getting too much, you may also develop chapped lips. More than 25,000 IU is likely to cause symptoms.
There are medical conditions that have chapped lips as a symptom, such as yeast infections, and prescription medications may also have the same effect.
Solutions for Dry, Chapped Lips
While the underlying cause of your chapped lips may affect what course of action you need to take, there are a number of helps that can get your lips softer, faster.
If you’re already using products to try and curb chapped lips, you may want to read the labels carefully. Many ingredients, including dyes and additives, can worsen chapped lips. You may also be allergic to a common ingredient such as beeswax. Common signs of an allergy are not only dry, chapped lips, but also redness, rash in other areas of your face, and swelling.
Use Skin-Friendly Lip Balm
You know that protecting your lips is the first step in restoring supple and healthy lip skin. However, using chapstick isn’t the ideal “quick fix.” Many lip balm formulas contain common allergens, ingredients that dry skin out further, and even toxic ingredients that are unhealthy. Instead of drugstore chapstick, try a lip balm with soothing natural ingredients like avocado and other natural oils. This way, you achieve hydration without exposing yourself to chemicals, dyes, and additives.
Drink More Water
Naturally, if you develop chapped lips due to dehydration, drinking more water is the first step in fixing the condition. Most sources suggest drinking at least 1.9 litres of water, or at least two liters, per day for optimal health. It may take a few days to see an effect, but your lips and the rest of your skin should naturally become plumper and more moisturized.
Break Bad Habits
It’s a tough habit to break, but licking your lips serves no benefit and can cause more pain and discomfort than just leaving them alone. You should also refrain from picking at your lips, which can cause sores, bleeding, and even infection. Resist the urge to lick your lips and try putting on a natural lip balm both to deter yourself and protect the sensitive skin from further damage.