Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dry Chapped Lips: How To Prevent And Treat Them

Unlike body skin, the skin on our lips does not naturally create its own moisture layer, leaving it susceptible to dryness and chapping.

Thus, almost everyone has experienced dry, chapped lips at one time or another. This condition often comes after overexposure to extremes of weather – too much sun, wind, or cold and the dry air-conditioned environment in the office and at home.

Other possible causes of dry cracked lips are :

  • Periodontal disease or abscesses
  • Hypersensitivity to a new lipstick, in which case throw it into the garbage and never buy any product of the same brand again.
  • Nickel found in items such as paper clipsJuice from citrus fruits
  • Red dyes and cinnamates (cinnamon flavor) found in candy, lozenges, gum, mouthwash and toothpaste
  • Snoring caused by enlarged tonsils, adenoids or sleep apnea resulting in co
    ntinuous breath flowing over your lips
  • Thyroid hormone imbalance
  • Chronic licking or chewing of your lips
  • Medications, eg isotreinoin used in the treatment of acne, the anti-hypertensive propanolol and certain antidepressants may cause chapping.

What can you do to protect your lips and prevent the painful problem before it happens?

  • ‘Obsessively’ apply a good lip balm to keep your lips moisturized.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
  • If the air in your home is very dry, invest in a humidifier to keep some moisture in the air.
  • Invest on a humidifier to moisturize the air in your home and/or office.
  • Breathe through your nose and cover your lips with a ski mask or scarf when you go out in cold weather.
  • Licking dry lips actually dries them out even more. Furthermore, the enzyme amylase in your saliva can also damage the already compromised lip tissue.
  • Avoid picking on the flakes of dry skin, this may cause your lips to bleed.

However, if your lips do not respond to any of the above treatments or if they are becoming severely chapped and uncomfortable, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Photo Credit: The HealthAge.Com

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