Chapped lips or cheilitis is a common problem that both in adults and babies. Read about what causes chapped dry lips and the best remedies to heal them. You will also see some chapped lips treatments and products to use.
Chapped lips do not look good on anyone. Neither are they a pleasant experience. Severely chapped smackers can even be extremely uncomfortable and painful. The dryness aside, one may also have cracks or splits, bleeding and pain. Even if you do not have severe symptoms, one may still feel sore on the lips.
The medical term for dry, cracked, inflamed lips is cheilitis. There are several kinds of cheilitis, some more serious than others. Furthermore, there are also several reasons why your lips could be chapped.
What Causes Chapped Lips
Chapped lips are dry lips or lips that have lost all moisture. There are several reasons your lips will dry out. Below are some common causes of lips chapping. Some may be obvious but read on, there is a couple you might not have thought about.
Exposure to various elements
Our lips are one of the most exposed parts of our bodies. They have thin skin and do not have any oil-producing glands or protective hair to guard against losing moisture. Thus, exposure to dry and or windy weather conditions strip whatever moisture was on our lips very fast. Heat, the sun, wind and dry air are not friendly to the skin, especially the lips and may lead to dryness if you are exposed for prolonged periods.
Like in all conditions that involve dryness of the skin, most of the causes can be traced back to the loss of moisture. Licking your lips may seem like it is helping solve dryness but it is actually having the opposite effect in the long run. As saliva dries, it takes away any moisture you had on your lips. Making a habit of biting and chewing on your lips will also leave your lips chapped.
Certain medications meant to help you with some other conditions in your body may leave you with sore cracked lips. A good example is acne medication containing isotretinoin which went by the name Accutane until l a few years ago but is now sold under a number of brand names. People who were on Accutane experience varying degrees of lip chapping as a side effect. While some may only notice some tightness and mild cracking, others may get severely chapped burning lips for as long as they are using acne medicine. Some medications prescribed for blood pressure could also get your lips chapped as a side effect.
Sometimes dry, peeling lips are a symptom of vitamin deficiency specifically riboflavin. Riboflavin is also known as vitamin B2. You could also have a chapped lip if your diet lacks essential fatty acids.
Smokers tend to get lip chapping more frequently as they tend to lose any moisture and oils on the lips to evaporation.
Some Medical Conditions
Thyroid related conditions for example may be accompanied by lips chapping. Another example of a medical condition that will leave you with a chapped lip is psoriasis. Sometimes extremely cracked lips could be a pre-stage for cancer
You may have already figured this out, but in case you haven’t, here goes; your lips could be chapping because you are dehydrated. Dry lips could actually signal that your body as a whole is not getting enough water.
Too Much Vitamin A
Ingesting too much of this vitamin is one of the causes of red flaky lips, especially if you are taking vitamin supplements.
If you can’t link the chapping on your lips to one of the above causes, you should consider that a reaction to one of the products you frequently use could be the cause. You could be sensitive to some of the products you sue on your mouth and lips, rather than the ingredients they contain. SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is one of the ingredients in your cosmetic products that many say can irritate the skin if it comes in contact with it. The chapping on your lips may be indicating this irritation. Fragrances, salicylic acid and alcohol in lip care products like lipsticks could also be drying out your lips and may cause them to peel.
Chapped lips Treatment, cure or how to get rid of chapped lips
Most people assume all you need to fix chapped lips is a chapstick. This is not entirely true. While finding a good chapstick or moisturizing lip balm is important for reasons we will explain a little further along, it is not the end-all for your lip chapping problems.
Oh well, why wait, we will say it right now. Some chapsticks and lip balms are bad for lips that are chapped and some people say they have experienced the products which are made to help make a bad situation worse. You should not trust anything that calls itself a chapstick or purports to moisturize your lips.
Some chapsticks contain ingredients that do not help with moisture at all, and it is a double tragedy. Some ingredients mentioned in the list of bad for complete healing include camphor and menthol, favorites in the chapstick industry.
Not all chapsticks and lip balms are bad; however, not all are that great either. The best chapstick for cracked lips will contain a heavy dose of emollients and will have ingredients that are as natural as is possible.
These lip balms, conditioners and chapsticks got some great and not so great reviews. It would be a great place to start in your search for a chapstick that will not do your dry lips more harm than good.
Below are more lip care tips and suggestions on what to use for lips that are chapping.
To heal lips that are chapped fast;
- Ensure you drink enough water
- Always protect your lips during harsh conditions like dry winter, heat, wind or sun using a scarf or ski mask that covers your mouth.
- Keep them moisturized at all times.
- Discontinue using any product you suspect is causing your lips to be dry and chapped.
- Eat citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit, they only make it worse
- Ditto Spicy and salty foods
- Spend long hours outdoors without protecting them
- Forget to buy a moisturizing balm with sunscreen to use as a barrier between your lips and the elements.
- Pick at the flakes, peel or try to exfoliate
You may need to see a doctor if the chapping is really bad. Also if it will not heal despite your best efforts. Sometimes the chronic cracking and chapping on the lips could be a fungal, a bacterial infection or a pre-cancer condition. For these, even the best balm will not offer relief and you may need prescription topical cream from a doctor.
Home remedies for chapped lips
Sometimes the best remedy is the one you can whip up from the comfort of your own home. Here are a couple of remedies that cure chapped lips.
Butter makes a delicious spread, but can also be used to remedy lip chapping. Apply a little on your chapped lips before you go to bed and leave overnight. You can make it a habit if you want to always wake up with perfectly conditioned kissable lips. Ghee will also work if used the same way.
This vegetable can work as a natural cure for dry, cracked lips. You will need to cut off a few slices from cucumber and rub them on your lips. Leave them for thirty minutes then remove. People who have tested cucumber say it leaves the lips wonderfully moisturized and really feeling fresh. We would not be overreaching if we called cucumber one of the best cures for splitting, sore lips.
Some people with very cracked lips have found relief in Vaseline. Many consider it as the best lip moisturizer, even if it does not say so on the jar. Just apply Vaseline on your lips overnight to soften them. You can also apply as often as you need during the day.
Vaseline can also be used alongside honey as an effective treatment for lip chapping. Apply the pure honey directly on your lips and finish off with the Vaseline. You can remove the mixture with the help of some warm water and a cotton swab fifteen minutes later. This remedy will help heal sore lips, soothe dryness and even prevent infection in case of cracks and peeling.
If your lips are too dry and cracked, you can first apply a little warm water with a cotton swab to soften them first so you can easily spread the Vaseline.
Natural oils like castor oil, almond oil and coconut oil applied regularly on the lips will not only prevent further chapping but is said to be one of the best-chapped lip treatment.
A combination of castor oil and honey is a great home remedy for lips that are severely cracked and bleeding. Apply twice a day or as often as you feel the need to and this mixture will give you back smooth lips in no time
Olive oil can also get rid of chapping and dryness on the lips. Use the oil you pick several times a day for perfectly moist lips in no time.
What to do if your newborn gets chapped Lips
Newborns can also get dry lips and if this goes on for a little bit, their delicate brand new lips will chap.
The condition may interfere with the child’s feeding and comfort not to mention that if unaddressed it could escalate to an infection.
The chapped lip causes we listed above except smoking and probably the reaction to cosmetic products could apply to a newborn too. Breathing through the mouth can also cause cracked lips in a baby.
Dry and cracked lips may also be a sign that your baby is dehydrated. You may want to watch out if your baby is showing other symptoms that could point at dehydration as it can be quite serious in babies.
Your baby having dry, splitting lips should not send you into a panic.
You can prevent them from occurring by covering your newborn’s face when you are going to spend some time outdoors. Cover the child’s face against the elements. You can also turn on your humidifier at night during dry winter months and also check to see that your baby is breathing the nose as opposed to the mouth.
When it comes to a product for relieving cracking lips, we understand why you will hesitate to use any product or home remedy. This site here says Lanolin cream which naturally occurs in sheep’s wool is the best thing to use for the chapped lips on a baby. It is perfectly safe and will aid with healing the chapping. Lanolin is also used by new mothers to heal and soothe cracked painful nipples.
To treat chapped lips on a baby naturally, you can also use breast milk to wet the lips. Spread and leave this milk on to soothe your baby’s lips and also prevent infections from taking up residence in the cracks.