You know that feeling when you smile, you feel a tightness in your lips. You glance at the mirror and your lips look pale and dry.
What causes our lips to be dry and why do we have dry lips?
If you are one of those who have this problem, read on more about the reasons why we have dry lips and how you can restore them to moisturized lips quickly and safely.
What does Dry Lips Look Like?
Dry lips can look flaky, dry and uncomfortable, giving you a “stretchy” feeling when you smile. It can even be painful.
Chapped lips, also known as cheilitis, are mostly caused by cold dry and windy weathers or even dehydration.
They can look cracked, inflammed and have quite visible split lines along the upper and lower lips, Other symptoms include flaky skins, sores, swelling and at times bleeding.
Why Do We Get Dry Lips
The reason why our lips are not self-moisturizing is because they do not contain oil glands. Once they lose moisture as a result of neglect, whether due to weather and hygiene habits, they can start to show the symptoms above.
Some people think that by licking their lips, they will be able to moisturize their lips. That is totally opposite. Saliva from the tongue causes the lips to dehydrate even further, because water evaporates from the saliva, removing the moisture from the lips. Saliva contains digestive enzymes that can irritate the delicate skin of the lips.
Smoking is also linked to dry lips as the area around the lips can be exposed to dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes, causing irritation and dryness.
Who Get Dry Lips Often
Most people get dry lips, I do occasionally when I visit countries during winter. Children are more prone to lip dryness. My sons, I see dry lips on them most of the time. They tend to lick their lips often, or they spend long hours outdoors and forget to drink water.
Ways to Prevent Dry Lips
So now that we know what causes dry lips, it is very easy to restore the with a few simple steps.
Don’t lick. If you have the habit of licking, thinking that it can moisturize your lips, you need to stop as licking only dries your lips even more.
Use neutral tasting lip balms. When looking for a lip balm, skip the flavoured ones. They can taste so delicious that you find yourself licking when you are not supposed to. Apply as instructed to your lips several times a day. Even during winter days, you still need to protect your lips. Cold chilly wind draws moisture from your lips even more, and they could crack and be very painful. The sun will also cause your lips to lose their moisture, making them dry.
Use sunscreen. Also use lip balm with SPF15 and above to protect your lips from the sun even when you are indoors. If you are going outdoors, it is strongly recommended to use SPF 30 and above. By having protection, you can seal the moisture in your lips, preventing further loss.
Hydrate. Drink lots of water during the day. Experts recommend 8 cups of water, so keep drinking every now and then. This not only ensure that your body gets the water it needs,
Using a humidifier at home. Keep a humidifier at home, especially the bedroom. This increases the moisture in the air so that it will not make your lips dehydrated. This is especially useful when you sleep at night.
Avoid cold weather or protect yourself adequately wearing scarfs and masks
When is Dry Lips a Sign of More Serious Illness?
If you consistently get dry lips and no amount of lip balm seems to help, perhaps you can further discuss with your doctor. Excess lip dryness has been associated with infections and other diseases such as dental trauma and Crohn’s disease. Others can include allergic reactions and yeast infections. With cracked lips, bacteria can enter through them and cause infections. People who wear braces and dentures can also develop dryness in their lips.
Over the Counter Products that you may use for Dry Lips
1. Use a good lip balm. You need to choose one where the ingredients do not further dry the skin, these include menthol and camphor and fragranced ones. Instead choose those that contain moisturizing ingredients such as
Castor seed oil
2. Lip scrubs. Ever heard of face scrubs? Lip scrubs work the same way too by exfoliating the dead skin cells on the lips. You can do this once a week or as per instructions on the lip scrubs. Dead skin cells prevent moisture from reaching into them, slowing down healing.
How About Trying Home Remedies
There are several items at home, that you can apply safely to your lips to moisturize them, and they could be delicious too.
1. Aloe vera. The juice inside aloe vera is known for their soothing properties. Just apply a thin layer on your lips and let it be absorbed.
2. Coconut oil. Besides using coconut oil in Oil Pulling, it works well as lip moisturizer to make your lips soft.
3. Honey. Packed with powerful nutrients and antibacterial properties, honey can soothe and moisturize lips instantly. It is also safe to apply few times throughout the day.
4. Cucumber. Known to have high water content, cucumber has been used on facial products and it also contains rich vitamins to make the skin smooth.
5. Green Tea. Lover of green tea? Just by soaking a green bag and applying to your lips, can reduce the dryness in your lips.
Taking care of your lips should be part of your normal oral health routine, and it is very easy to prevent your lips from getting dry if we know what causes them.
Have you ever experienced dry lips? And what are the most effective ways you have used to overcome them? Comment them in the box below, and I will be happy to hear from you.