Dry, chapped lips are unpleasant to look at and unhealthy in nature. Characterized by dry, flaky looking lips, cracks and red splits can also appear on the lower lip at times. Dry lips may also be accompanied with bleeding, if pressed. In some cases, dry lips become swollen and painful.
Dry lips can also cause Angular Cheilitis, a condition characterized by flaky red sores on both sides of the mouth. The condition occurs due to deficiency of key nutrients in the body, and makes it painful to open and close the mouth. In rare cases, the condition can further worsen and form ulcers.
While dry lips may have different causes, the condition is mainly triggered due to lack of care and attention for the lips.
Causes of Dry Lips
Dry lips are an indicator of water deficiency in the body. The lips may become dry due to insufficient consumption of water. As the state worsens, painful cracks appear on the lips and cause bleeding.
Dry lips are commonly experienced in winter season. Cold winds and low temperatures result in loss of moisture and natural oils necessary to keep lips moist.
Well-balanced diet contributes to moist lips. A diet low on fatty acids can cause dry lips. Dairy products are a good source of fat needed to produce natural oils and keep lips moist.
Frequent exfoliation is another cause of dry lips. The layer of natural oils surfacing the lips gets removed, causing the lips to appear dry and chapped. During face exfoliation, avoiding the lips region will prevent the lips from drying.
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How to Get Rid of Dry Lips
There are a number of natural home remedies that are known to be effective in treating dry lips. These simple remedies will help you quickly get rid of dry, chapped lips.
- Increase Water Intake: The commonest reason for dry lips is deficiency of water, and increasing the intake of water will fix the problem. For people who find it difficult to drink plenty of water, other fluids such as juices are just as helpful. Generally, eight to nine glasses of water a day will prevent lips from drying.
- Apply Caster Oil: Organic and nutritious in nature, castor oil lubricates the lips. The added nutrients are absorbed by the lip tissues, making the lips soft and well-moistened. If you frequently encounter dried lips, keeping a small bottle of castor oil in your bag or pocket will help. Apply the oil using a clean finger. Rub the lip gently to avoid further skin splitting.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is also effective in treating dry lips. Applying cold coconut oil in the morning and at night will treat the condition.
- Olive Oil: If coconut oil is unavailable, another option is to use olive oil. The oil can either be mixed in water and consumed as a drink to heal the condition internally, or applied directly onto the dried lips.
- Honey: Honey has numerous health benefits. Applying a coat of honey onto the dry lips will make them moist and render them a soft and smooth look.
- Cucumber: Cucumber can either be added to a mix of other fruits and vegetables and consumed as salad or rubbed gently on the sore lips. The latter option may be used to provide immediate relief from the pain involved with the condition.
- Aloe Vera: A popular healing agent, aloe vera contains natural ingredients that treat dry lips. The natural herb heals the painful symptoms of dry lips and strengthens the protective layer of oil that covers the lips. If you encounter dry lips, apply aloe vera paste to moisturize the skin and treat the condition.
Things to Avoid
In addition to these home remedies, there are some things you can avoid to prevent the lips from drying:
- Don’t lick dry lips to moisten them, even if you feel like doing so. Human saliva contains sodium, which absorbs moisture. You will end up aggravating the condition, instead of curing it.
- Avoid using chap-sticks to treat dry lips as the balm contains traces of petroleum and alcohol, which are not healthy for the lips.
- Avoid using lipsticks that don’t have moisturizers if you suffer from dry lips.
Ageing and Dry Lips
A skin care routine known to deliver excellent results in treating youthful skin may prove ineffective against aging skin. As people age, the skin becomes thinner and drier. As such, it is absolutely essential to make necessary changes in skin care to control the effect of dry air on human skin.
Always wash your face with mildly warm water. Cold water is known to crack the lips and make lips dry. Avoid using a soap to clean the face. A cleanser will keep your face more moistened and prevent it from drying. Apply a moisturizer right after washing the face. Moisturizer traps the water content absorbed by your face, and prevents the skin around the lips from drying. If signs of drying skin are still visible, apply the moisturizer two to three times during the day.
Check the ingredients of the products you apply on your face and lips. Alpha-hydroxy acid and retinoids are included in some products, and are known to cause dry, itchy skin. Applying an alternative formula which has more moisturizing properties will provide relief.
If you are using an anti-aging lip balm, use a product with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. This will reduce the any visible signs of aging. It also protects the lips from skin cancer.
Seeing a Dermatologist
If these tips do not offer any kind of relief to your dry lips, then you should consider seeing a dermatologist. If your lips are excessively dry, they may require prescription cream for effective treatment. You could also be suffering from an underlying medical condition, such as eczema, which causes dry skin. After a thorough examination, the dermatologist will explain how to treat the dry lips.
This is a Guest Article by Nisha from mha.org.uk . If you are also interested to write for HealthResource4u, Please check our guest posting guidelines.