dry lips

Do You Have Dry, Cracked Lips?

Do You Have Dry Cracked Lips?

Lips ideally should be moist and kissable but for lots of people, they are dry and cracked!

At this time of year, a lot of people are suffering from dry cracked lips. That’s because it is winter, and the weather is cold and the heat is on. Humidity is way down. During winter, dry cold air causes the skin to dry out and can cause real problems on fragile skin, like the Lips. Your lips can dry out many times faster than the rest of your face. Low humidity increases evaporation from the lips and causes dryness and cracking, this is why using a humidifier during the winter can be a real help.

What causes cracked lips?

There are many reasons for dry, cracked lips, such as:

1. Being dehydrated.

Most people believe that hydration is all about drinking liters of water however this water needs minerals in it! It is always best to add a few grains of sea salt to every liter. The sea salt contains electrolytes that tell your body to retain the water, hence actually hydrating you.

2 Licking your lips.

Licking your lips removes the natural oil barrier secreted by your lips.

As your saliva evaporates, it dries out your lips even faster. The digestive enzymes, Amylase, and Maltase, found in saliva will begin to break down the skin just as it breaks down food. Excess saliva on the lips will take its toll on this thin layer of skin and do more damage than good. Every time you lick your lips you make them worse. I’ll bet just thinking about your dry lips makes you want to lick them. Don’t do it.

Remember Enzymes in your saliva will break down your lip covering!

3. Snoring.

Enlarged tonsils, adenoids or Sleep Apnea may be to blame for dry lips.

4 Allergic reactions to nickel.

This allergic reaction may surface on the lips. Remember; don’t put metallic items like paper clips in your mouth and never lick envelopes as the chemicals in the glue may damage your lips!

5. Lipsticks.

Ingredients in lipsticks like propyl gallate may be causing a contact allergy. Be careful of kissing other people with lipstick on!

6. Lip balms.

Most of the popular lip balms contain sunscreen ingredients. That may be fine in the summer when you are at the beach but it makes almost no sense in the winter unless you are planning on skiing in bright sunlight. Do you ever read the ingredient list on your lip balm? Most people can’t pronounce these chemicals and wouldn’t know why they are there. Here are sunscreen ingredients that may cause some people problems with their lips:

Oxybenzone.

Avobenzone.

Benzophenone-3.

Octocrylene.

Parsol SLX.

Octisalate.

Another problem for many lip balms is that they contain menthol or another mint flavoring. This can provide a cooling sensation, but mint is very drying and can leave the lips more chapped than before.

Common other drying ingredients in lip balms include camphor, lanolin and phenol.

When you reach for the lip balm, try to avoid those with potentially irritating ingredients. Try natural products like castor oil.

7 Toothpaste.

Toothpaste may be to blame if it contains Sodium lauryl Sulfate.

8 Paraben, Alchohol, and Fragrances.

These are obvious things that are known to be irritants.

Avoid scented or flavoured lip products and products containing alcohol as these ingredients can also dry out the lips.

9. Petroleum jelly.

This comes from oil and you don’t want any of this being absorbed into the body.

What drugs contribute to dry lips?

Chapped lips and other lip conditions can be caused by dehydration or illness, but medicine can also be a culprit.

Roaccutane is a popular drug that might just clear up your acne, but it comes with several side effects, some of which are rather serious. One of the less dangerous, but still common, side effects is chapped lips.

Retin-A or Salicylic Acid, for example, could cause the same dry, chapped lips. If you start taking a new medication and notice that your lips are getting dry and chapped, you should let your doctor know or talk to your pharmacist.

Often, a little lip balm will fix the problem. However, if it doesn’t clear up and the condition worsens, your physician might be able to find an alternate medicine for you to take.

How do you heal cracked lips?

1. Castor oil is a great addition to anyone’s lip regime.

2. Ceramide is another ingredient that can help reduce the damage to the lips. Ceramide is the fat that helps lock in moisture and so allows proper hydration.

3. Cocoa Butter is another natural lip carer.

4. Olive oil is great for dry chapped lips and more importantly make sure its extra virgin olive oil as this is the least processed.

5. To make the most out of your lip balm, choose products with SPF, which protects your skin from sun damage during the summer or on a skiing holiday, or on fishing trips. The sun can not only dry your lips but cause UV damage

Lips are a tactile sensory organ and can be an erogenous zone when used in kissing and other acts of intimacy.

Healthy lips mean:

No chemicals,

No licking,

No UV damage,

Proper hydration and practice nose breathing

You will be surprised by the results and be able to blow more kisses from your luscious lips!

Lips paint the picture of your health, wear them well.

Edward O’Reilly

Lifestyle Pharmacist 

087 205 1039

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