Lips are one of the most attractive facial features and having cracked or chapped lips can not only be painful but an outright eyesore. Easy to detect, the lips become dry, red and cracked. The condition can be the result of lips becoming too dry such as baring to the elements and can chap in both winter and summer. In winter extreme cold and wind easily causes lips to crack whereas the causes of cracked lips in the summer can be attributed to exposure to the sun.
What Causes Cracked Lips?
Sunlight exposure can dry the lips and as can cold winds. The causes of cracked lips is the result of diminished moisture in the skin on and around the mouth. It is a common condition that can be treated fairly easily but if left unchecked can become so painful that talking or chewing could become very laborious and painful. In extreme cases, swelling or peeling of the skin could lead to bleeding. Remember that the lips are at an obvious disadvantage as there are no oil glands present in them and are more prone to becoming dry and cracked.
However, climatic conditions are not the only causes of cracked lips in summer. Chronic chapped lips can also result from various nutritional deficiencies and dehydration. There could be a possible deficiency of vitamin B complex and iron. In such a scenario, increase your intake of foods that are good sources of these nutrients or else opt for appropriate supplements.
For most people with dry lips the first instinct is to lick them. While this may seem to be the easiest method of preventing the condition, it is by far the least effective. Experts advise against licking lips at all costs. The saliva not only evaporates instantly but also digests the thin film of membranes protecting the lips, leaving them more exposed and drier than before. Avoid using flavored chap sticks as the temptation to lick the lips is greater especially in children. Also, the perfume can be irritating to some people and worsen the problem.
Cracked lips could also be an allergic reaction or topical irritation. Certain cosmetics have fragrances or dyes that can have a reaction and cause damage to lips. It is also advisable to look into any bacterial or fungal infections. Indeed, angular cheilitis causes cracked lips at any time of year and this is attributable to bacterial or fungal infections which settle around the damp, warm areas at the edges of the mouth.
Sometimes, the causes of cracked lips might be down to medication. Lips may crack or peel as a result of certain prescription or over the counter treatments. If you have recently started any new medication, that could be a possible source of irritation. This makes doctor intervention necessary, so consult with your health care professional.
For those people who breathe through the mouth, this can be one of the common causes of cracked lips and this can be a more frequent occurrence. For others having spicy food could lead to having cracked lips. Smoking, nail biting and other oral habits should be kept in check. In most instances the condition is treatable by using some simple tips and suggestions. Since the skin loses its moisture retention capacity, you want to make sure that that your lips are properly hydrated.
Use a humidifier in your home and workplace. Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. There are various lip balms, gels and greasy products available to help keep lips moisturized. One of the most effective and readily available is petroleum jelly.
Although the causes of cracked lips can be varied, getting to the bottom of the problem to prevent recurrences is the key. Although painful and unsightly, the lips heal very quickly and can be often transformed overnight by the proper remedy.