Dry, cracked lips are a pain both literally and figuratively.  The cold weather seems to really make dry lips a difficult thing to deal with! They can interfere with speaking and smiling by cracking open and bleeding. Cracked, dry lips can even restrict you from eating some of the foods you love, like your favorite salty snack.

Besides the painful part, there’s the way they look.  Dry, peely. . .and they even look painful

Knowing how to prevent and manage dry lips will help them stay healthy and kissable year-round.

Causes of Dry, Chapped Lips

First, let’s touch on what causes dry lips – then we’ll go into a bit more detail and discuss how to prevent issues. If you can avoid some of these things, then you won’t struggle as much. So here are some causes of dry lips:

  • Exposure to UV rays
  • Cold, windy weather
  • Too much caffeine
  • Smoking
  • Certain allergies
  • A hormonal imbalance
  • Excessive licking of the lips with your tongue
  • Mouth breathing
  • Dehydration

UV rays and cold, windy weather

Cold, windy weather is hard on our skin and lips. Covering your mouth with protective clothing like a scarf, while being in harsh weather will help prevent dry lips.

Also, indoor heat can dry out your lips, skin and nasal passages. The use of a humidifier will keep moisture in the air.

In addition to cold weather, you should take some precautions during the summer. The sun has powerful UV rays that can wreak havoc on your lips. Using a lip balm with sunscreen will help prevent sunburnt lips, dryness, and eventually peeling.

Your Diet

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish have been shown to keep the skin hydrated and restore its natural oils – so consuming more fish can help. If you prefer, there are fish oil pills available over the counter.

Staying Hydrated

Our bodies need a lot of water to function properly.  When we’re dehydrated it can show in different ways.  To avoid of lips being chapped, you should drink plenty of fluids – especially water.

Caffeine causes the body to dehydrate so drink your coffee, tea and soft drinks in moderation.

Licking Your Lips

Some people have a bad habit of licking their lips.  Or maybe in an emergency effort to moisturize your lips, you’re tempted to lick them.  Well, don’t. The saliva evaporates quickly, leaving the drier than they were before.

Managing Allergies

 Dry lips can be caused by contact allergies.  If you’ve been just recently experiencing this issue, and just started using a new lip or facial product, you could be allergic to it.  Also, being allergic to certain foods can cause dry lips. If you think you’re allergic to something and you can’t pinpoint what it is, you may need to go see an allergist to be tested.

If you’re congested from a sinus attack brought on by allergies, your lips can become chapped quickly. You should take the necessary precautions to ensure your lips stay hydrated.

Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing can be a temporary issue caused by nasal congestion. However, in some cases, it could be a constant problem that should be evaluated by an ear, nose, and throat specialist.

You could have a deviated septum which means that you’re not able to breathe an equal amount out of each nostril, leaving you to compensate by breathing through your mouth.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking not only dries your lips out, but it also dries out your mouth – which is another entirely different problem that comes with serious side effects. Your dentist can help with this.

Remedies for Dry Lips

Besides avoiding some of the common causes of dry lips, there are some things you can do to prevent them, or manage them if they do occur.

Exfoliating

Removing dead skin cells will allow your lips to bring out new, healthy layers. The good news here is that there’s no need for expensive beauty products. This can easily be done with a handful of ingredients that you likely already have in your home.

Cane sugar, honey, and coconut oil make a great exfoliant. For severely chapped and bleeding lips you can throw in a few drops of lavender oil for its antiseptic properties.

Be sure to scrub gently to avoid bleeding and prevent further damage. Exfoliating can be done a few times a week followed up by a good moisturizer.

Moisturizing

Moisturizing will help prevent dry, chapped, painful lips. During the day you should use a moisturizing chapstick. Beeswax, petroleum jelly, coconut oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, and glycerin are all great ingredients to use in a lip serum. Apply it multiple times a day and heavier at night.

We’re Here to Help

The expert staff of The Center for Restorative & Cosmetic Dentistry in Newport Beach, CA is here to help you with your dental needs. If you have some concerns about your dental health, then give us a call today.  We look forward to meeting you.

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