At Valley View Dermatology, our team of skin specialists in Wilsonville know that when you look good you feel good. Frequently, when patients think of healthy skin, they often focus on their hands and face. However, that ignores an important area that can greatly determine how healthy you look and feel – your lips.
When your lips become chapped, they start to feel cracked and dry. If allowed to further deteriorate, chapped lips can appear flaky and unappealing while also causing a stinging or burning sensation.
While most people only think about chapped lips during the winter months, your lips can become dry, sore, and scaly during any time of the year. This becomes especially true if you have a habit of licking your lips or use a product like a lip liner or lipstick that causes your lips to dry out.
What Happens When Lips Become Chapped?
Like every part of your skin, the lips require moisture or else they can become dry and irritated. When this happens, your lips may start to experience:
- Dryness. A lack of moisture can cause this delicate area of your mouth to dry out.
- Cracks or flaking. Once dried out, the skin on your lips will start to peel, crack, and flake.
- Bleeding. As with any crack in the skin, bleeding is possible.
- Redness. Irritation of the lips can cause redness as new skin starts to form.
- Burning sensation. Cracks in your lips can cause a burning sensation when you eat and drink.
What Causes Lips to Chap?
A variety of factors can cause your lips to dry out, and as we mentioned previously, it doesn’t only happen during the winter months.
These factors can include:
- Dry air indoors. Just as running your heater during the winter can cause your skin to dry out, dry air can also cause your lips to chap.
- Not moisturizing. Dry air necessitates the use of a moisturizer to keep your skin from cracking. You also need to moisturize your lips with a lip balm or ChapStick to keep them from drying out as well.
- Wearing products the irritate your lips. Whether due to skin sensitivity or from using a harsh product, what you apply to your lips can determine whether they stay soft and smooth or begin to chap.
- Excessive licking. Dry air can lead to your lips becoming chapped, but excessive licking can also cause your skin to dry out.
- Just as our skin specialists in Wilsonville recommend patients stay hydrated to enjoy soft skin, a lack of water can also cause your lips to become dry and patchy.
How to Treat Chapped Lips?
Since your lips don’t have oil glands and are nearly always exposed to the elements, you need to take special care to keep them from chapping. Fortunately, our skin specialists in Wilsonville have a few tips on how to keep your lips looking and feeling their best.
- Apply lip balm. A quality lip balm can help to protect your lips from dry air and the elements. When choosing which product to select, we recommend you check the ingredients list for dimethicone, which works to seal splits and cracks, and petrolatum, which helps to keep your lips moist.
- Use it often. Whatever product you choose to use, it’s important that you use it often, even before your lips start to feel dried out. Additionally, you need to apply your lip balm before applying lipstick or lip gloss, not after. To keep your lips from drying out, you’ll need to apply a balm throughout the day.
- Stay hydrated. Our skin specialists in Wilsonville can’t stress it enough – the more water you drink the healthier your skin becomes.
- Use a humidifier inside. Using a humidifier, especially in the bedroom, will help to reduce dryness so your skin and lips stay looking their best.
- Don’t lick your lips. Habits, even innocent ones, can make all the difference. Don’t lick your lips and you won’t have to deal with them drying out nearly as much.