Lips are one of the most attractive facial features and having cracked or chapped lips can not only be painful but an outright eyesore. If you wonder why your lips are so dry, then read on to find out the reasons and solutions to fix this problem.
Lips have many functions to perform during the course of the day. However, when they become heavily chapped or cracked, then even the most nominal activity can become increasingly challenging. Everyday routine activities like speaking, smiling, eating or drinking can turn into painful experiences and can make you feel miserable.
Dry lips are easy to detect as they become red and cracked. The condition can be the result of lips becoming too dry because of harsh weather, a lack of hydration or even nutritional deficiencies. In fact, anything that strips the lips of moisture can cause your lips to dry out.
Why Are My Lips So Dry?
If you suffer from dry lips, you are not alone. In fact people of all ages can suffer from dry and chapped lips. This is because lips do not contain oil glands like other parts of the skin. This feature, or lack of it, makes them more vulnerable to drying out and becoming chapped.
Some of the most common causes of why your lips are so dry include the following:
Excessive Sunlight Exposure
Sunlight exposure can cause you to have dry lips. It is the result of diminished moisture in the skin on and around the lips. 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. 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.
Indoor Dry Air
Another reason why your lips are so dry is the lack of moisture in the air. Just as outdoor air can cause you to have dry lips, the same can happen with dry indoor air as well. When indoor heat is cranked up in the winter, the air inside your home can become excessively dry and cause your lips to become dry.
Nutritional Deficiencies or Excesses
However, climactic conditions are not the only cause of cracked lips in summer. Chronically 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.
Cracked or dry lips could also happen if you have an excess of certain nutrients. For example if you take in too much vitamin A, this may be another reason why your lips are so dry. An excess of vitamin A can cause peeling of the skin on the lips.
If you have very dry lips and can’t do enough to moisturize them, you may be suffering from dehydration. Chronically chapped lips that won’t go away no matter what you do, could be because you are dehydrated on the inside.
While it is easy enough to detect a lack of moisture on the outside of the skin, it is not so easy to do so on the inside. This is another possible reason why your lips are so dry. A number of people may constantly experience having very dry lips and not realize a lack of hydration to be the cause.
Just remember that you need a certain amount of water to keep your body hydrated. Anything short of that will start to show signs on the skin including your lips.
Sometimes the reason why your lips are so dry can be an infection. The condition called angular cheilitis is a form of bacterial infection that affects the lips. It happens where lesions tend to form at the corners of the mouth. The affected area can become very itchy and inflammation may result if the condition is not checked quickly enough.
Not only do the corners of the mouth become dry and crack open, but so does the lip area. Skin on the lips starts to peel and any attempt to moisturize them by licking only worsens the condition. At times blisters may also appear and become extremely bothersome.
Since the cause of cracked lips can either be an infection or sometimes a nutritional deficiency, it is important to get to the reason for the condition so that a proper course of treatment can be found. External factors like changing weather conditions or allergic reactions can also cause the painful condition to aggravate.
As this is a fairly common condition, many people prefer to use natural angular cheilitis treatments at home. But first, is important to detect the cause of the condition so you can choose the right home remedy to correct it.
Another possibility why your lips are so dry could also be an allergic reaction or topical irritation. An allergic reaction can occur when certain allergens linger on the lips. These substances can cause the lips to peel, crack and chap.
For instance, 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.
Plus, a common lip irritant can be toothpaste. While it is not very common, certain ingredients in toothpaste can bring about an allergic reaction. This is especially true of ingredients that are included to provide antiseptic, anti-inflammatory or plaque protection.
In addition, you may be allergic to certain foods causing a reaction.
Some Other Causes
Some other reasons for why your lips are so dry can include breathing through the mouth. People who do this may experience cracked lips more frequently. We have been designed to breathe through our noses and doing so with the mouth can cause you to have very dry lips. Also sleeping with your mouth open will not only cause you to drool on the pillow, it will also dry out your lips.
For others, having spicy food could lead to having dry lips. In addition, citric and other acidic foods as well as salty foods can impact the health of your lips.
For people who have very dry lips, smoking, nail biting and other oral habits should be kept in check. Among these, smokers often suffer from lips that look dark and dried. This is because smoking leaves a black hue on the lips. Smoking has a dehydrating effect in the body which eventually starts to show on your lips.
In most instances the condition is treatable by using some simple tips and suggestions.
How to Treat Dry Lips
Lips are one of the most sensitive areas of the skin. They can easily become damaged so need more protection. To keep lips looking healthy, 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 or Vaseline. Some of the most common and effective ways to heal cracked lips can be seen below:
It is important to keep sufficiently hydrated for many reasons. If your body is dehydrated, one of the first spots where this becomes apparent is your lips. Lips tend to crack easily sometimes causing them to bleed. Drinking between 8-10 glasses daily can conveniently prevent the threat of dehydration. Just make sure to wipe the lips gently afterwards as moisture deposits can enhance bacterial growth.
Also remember not to lick your lips.
Use Moisturizing Ointments
Since insufficient moisture is a major cause of why your lips are so dry, you need to treat this problem correctly. To sooth cracked lips, most people will opt for using some kind of lip balm or ointment to keep the affected area adequately moisturized. It is best to avoid perfumed or flavored products and use petroleum jelly, beeswax or a vitamin E ointment instead.
These products help to keep the damaged skin soft and prevent the cracks from deepening. When shopping for a lip product, keep the reason of your dry lips in mind. For example, if the cause is sun exposure then choose something with SPF for additional protection. Or, if you suffer from chronically dry lips, then opt for something with nourishing ingredients.
Modify Your Diet
Diet can affect the state of your skin and may become the reason why your lips are so dry. In such cases it is important to increase your vitamin intake and make an effort to eat healthier. Replenishing the diet with proper vitamins can help improve the condition. Cracked lips can also be a symptom of an iron deficiency. Consult with your doctor and if so, then increase your intake of iron rich foods or suitable supplements.
Avoid Licking Your Lips
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. In fact, it is one of the most common reasons why your lips become so dry.
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. This does more harm than good to the healing process. The act of licking lips also deposits additional bacteria onto the affected area and aggravates the condition.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
And last but by no means least, it is important to practice good oral hygiene. Always take care to keep the affected area clean of any adhering food particles.
Natural Remedies to Treat Dry Lips
Home remedies are a cheap and effective way to treat dry lips. Some things you can try at home to seek relief include the following ideas:
Since cucumber is nothing but a lot of water, it is an excellent way to moisturize dry lips. It is also known for its cooling properties.
Rubbing a slice gently on the lip area for about 10 minutes will be helpful in providing relief. Or, you could use cucumber juice and dap it with a cotton bud onto dry lips for maximum relief.
Cucumber also has vitamin C content which can help boost collagen production. Collagen is needed for the skin’s resilience and suppleness.
Honey Lip Scrub
Honey has features that help lock in moisture to your skin. You can prepare a homemade honey scrub for moisture protection if you have dry lips.
Start off by combining a little honey with sugar and gently run onto the lips. While honey moisturizes, sugar offers gentle exfoliation features to dry lips.
If you have dry lips, try treating them with coconut oil. All you need to do is slather on some coconut oil as you would a lip balm. Leave it on as this oils really penetrates deep into the skin. Repeat several applications during the day, especially in harsh weather conditions.
Coconut is a natural moisturizer that will prevent dry lips from becoming chapped or cracked. Plus, it works as a softening agent as well.
Aloe Vera Gel
This natural gel from the aloe plant has numerous skin healing benefits. It is used extensively to treat dry and chapped skin, sun burnt skin, and even superficial cuts and abrasions.
Fresh aloe vera gel may be applied directly to the lips which will help healing. The gel is also beneficial in soothing the pain of dry lips. Just be careful not to get any on your tongue as the gel has an unpleasant taste.