For some folks, the thought of winter conjures up nightmares for various reasons. It is not just about the dry skin and the need to layer a couple of clothes during the cold winter season but also the discomfort, bleeding, and peeling associated with chapped lips. This is because the harsh winter weather affects the most exposed areas of the body, of which the lips are a significant part.
We’ve compiled professional advice on how to treat and avoid chapped lips this winter. If you know what to do and have the right items on hand, you won’t have to worry about your lips cracking this winter.
What are chapped lips?
Chapped lips, also known as cheilitis, are characterised by lip skin cracking, flaking, and peeling. Even though most people are prone to chapped lips in the winter, experts claim that it is a condition that individuals could face at any time of year.
Since the lips lack oil glands like other body parts, they are predisposed to dryness and chapping when exposed to external stressors such as cold weather, make-up, wind, and sun damage.
Causes of chapped lips
Chapped lips can be caused by different reasons ranging from mild to severe. Below are some of the most prevalent reasons why people get chapped lips.
Different types of environmental factors result in chapped lips. The dry, chapped lips may result from these ecological variables such as cold, dry or windy weather, saliva, spicy food and frequent lip licking.
As simple as dry, chapped lips seem to look, it can be a result of some health-related issues. One of these health issues is nutritional deficiency.
Iron deficiency anaemia, Zinc deficiency, and B vitamins are some weaknesses that can lead to chapped lips.
Those with disorders that affect nutrient absorption are more susceptible to these deficiencies. Some of these disorders include; Chronic gastritis, Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease.
Having persistently dry lips may result from the nutrient above or mineral deficit.
Irritation from a substance or an allergy is another factor that can contribute to having chapped lips. Allergic contact cheilitis is an allergic reaction to substances like lipstick pigments, perfumes, or food flavourings. In addition to having chapped lips, anyone with AC may experience swollen and inflamed symptoms in areas around the lips.
Patch testing is something your dermatologist can do for you if you suspect that you have anything like this but are having trouble pinpointing exactly what the offending agent is. That way, you can stay away from it.
A lack of moisture in your lips might result from poor habits. These habits include licking one’s lips and plucking at them excessively. These two can irritate the skin on the lips and fuse it to be chapped and scaly.
When the lips are exposed to the sun, it is susceptible to chapped lips. Some experts believe that chapped lips,” which can be localised or extend across the entire lower lip all year long, are a typical complaint among individuals who have sustained significant sun damage over the years. That is why it is advisable to wear lip balms containing SPF to measure against having chapped, scaly lips.
People frequently use lip balms, lipsticks, and other beauty aids on their lips for many reasons, including cosmetic and medicinal ones, which can lead to discomfort. Some people do unintentionally apply acne medication on their lips. These beauty aids are intended to exfoliate the skin and help reduce breakouts. However, if they make it onto your lips, you should expect them to become dry and cracked over time.
Symptoms of chapped lips
Some of the signs of chapped lips are:
- Skin deterioration.
- Dissolving skin.
- A slight amount of discomfort on the lips.
- Chapped or cracked lips.
- Damage to the soft tissues of the mouth and lips.
- Lip Redness
How to treat chapped lips during winter
Chapped lips can be treated in a variety of ways. But most experts agree that the following approaches will help in producing valuable outcomes:
Moisturising the lips with a lip balm that won’t irritate your lips at least three times a day, especially before going to bed, will help decrease chapped lips.
It is recommended to use a thick ointment, such as white petroleum jelly, to treat severely dry and cracked lips. Unlike waxes and oils, ointment maintains waterproofing properties for extended periods when exposed to water.
- Wear an SPF
Just as you can wear sunscreen to prevent sun or wind damage, there is also a way to protect your lips during winter. Protecting your lips from the sun is essential all year round, including in the colder months.
Apply a lip balm with an SPF of at least 30 before venturing outside. Dry, chapped lips are more susceptible to sunburn, which can lead to the outbreak of cold sores. A lip balm with SPF will keep you safe.
Home remedies for dry, chapped lips
Chapped lips are easy to treat with everyday household items. Several common cures may be done at home, including:
- Coconut oil, petroleum jelly, honey, aloe vera, and sugar exfoliation are all effective home remedies for chapped lips.
- After using lip balm, using petroleum jelly can help seal in moisture and prevent lips from drying out.
- Applying honey to dry, cracked lips might help prevent further irritation and heal existing sores.
How to avoid chapped lips during winter
If you had trouble with chapped lips last winter, you’re probably looking for ways to prevent them this winter. Experts propose the following measures to avoid chapped lips:
- Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is essential because dry lips are one of the signs of dehydration. When you drink enough water all day long, you will have fewer concerns about chapped lips. You can also take juice or decaffeinated coffee if you are not so much of a water drinker.
- Refrain from licking, biting, or picking at your lips
It’s tempting to lick dry lips to relieve the discomfort, but doing so might make the condition worse. Your lips will dry out as the saliva evaporates.
- Never put your lips on a metal object
You may experience more irritation of your already delicate lips if you use metal objects such as paper clips, jewellery, and so on on the lips.
- Install a humidifier in your home
If you tend to sleep with your mouth open, a humidifier in your bedroom may be very useful.
- Avoid irritants
You should avoid using any products, food, or fragrances that can irritate your skin.
- Keep your mouth closed
It often seems easier to breathe through your mouth during winter. However, this is not good enough, as it dries out the lips, causing chapped and flaky lips.
- Cover up
There are winter jackets and coats that cover up a large part of the face for protection against harsh wind and ice. You should get these clothes and wear them for maximum protection.
Frequently asked questions about chapped lips
Healing poorly chapped skin organically is possible with a variety of tried-and-true methods. Significant examples include:
Lip exfoliation will help you look and feel better.
Stay hydrated by drinking water.
It would help if you stayed away from extremely cold or hot conditions.
Spread some soothing lip balm on your lips daily and before bed. It is recommended to use a thick ointment, such as white petroleum jelly, during winter. Unlike waxes and oils, ointment maintains its waterproofing properties for longer when exposed to water.
Most dermatologists recommend that you keep your lips moist. However, if they suspect an allergy or a medical condition caused the chapped lips, they will prescribe medications to help tackle the chapped lips and their root cause.
There may be other reasons for your chapped lips than the dry air. Dry, painful lips might signify yeast infection, allergy, or something more severe. In addition, one or both lips might become dry and scaly from actinic cheilitis, a precancerous disease.
Lip dryness is a typical sign of vitamin deficiency, especially in B vitamins, including folate (B9), riboflavin (B2), B6, and B12.