Smitha came running to her mother saying “Mom! My lips are burning and I can’t bear this pain anymore”. It is not only Smitha but many of us complain dryness, redness and swollen condition, burning, skin peel off condition of lips once in a while. Then we wonder why and what causes such irritable condition. A chapped or cracked lip is a condition where, a person experiences dryness, swelling, burning, redness of lips.
What causes chapped lips?
Chapped lips develop due to the disappearance of wetness from the lips making them cracked or chapped. Often we encounter such condition during winter season when the weather is dry. The dry air makes the moisture to evaporate from the lips leaving them dry which causes the irritable condition. Generally lips carry a layer of oily film over them preventing the disappearance of wetness. Sometimes, habitual licking of lips cause the protective oily layer to fade away leaving lips dry and burn and appear chapped.
How to treat chapped lips
Protect, avoid and hydrate. Yes, these three simple tasks are keys to avoid chapped lips condition. Let us learn more about them.
The first and foremost step you that should do is protect your lips from the harsh dry winds. Apply a protective layer of petroleum jelly or beeswax throughout the day. Such moistening allows the chapped lips to heal faster. There is a measure called “Sun Protection Factor” or in short SPF used to select the suitable product to protect you from Sun exposure related issues. A SPF of over 30 would be fine for chapped lips. It would also protect your lips from Sun’s UV rays. Among the very useful tips, covering your lower face with scarf when roaming around outside will give good protection to lips from dust on the moistened lips with a protective film.
The second step you should take is to avoid all those conditions that would lead to lips cracking such as licking of lips continuously. While it might gives immediate relief, but the saliva layer evaporates quickly leaving the lips dry and worsening the condition. Avoid all those creams, gels, jellies and lotion that cause irritation and chapping. While your intent may be different but when rubbing these materials on the face you may invariably end up touching your lips. You should pay close attention while applying if you cannot avoid using them. Avoid citrus group of fruits when you have cracked lips. Acidic content of the citrus fruits aggravates the chapped condition. Check your tooth paste whether its synthetic ingredients are causing cracking in the absence all other conditions and change your tooth paste if needed to a more natural ingredient mix paste.
The last step is to hydrating your lips. Add plenty water and liquids to your daily dose of intake. While water is the best option, you may try drinking fresh juices and green teas to heal your chapped lips inside out. A minimum of about 4 liters of water intake can do good to prevent cracking of lips. In an extreme condition you add humidifier to your indoor environment to increase of humidity of the rooms where you spend large amount of time. When using humidifiers, always keep the water fresh and filters clean to avoid other problems.
Some recommended readymade products to treat chapped lips
Lips Nourishing Balms are available in several flavours. You may try Shea Butter lip balm. In acute condition, you can choose medicated lip balms. There are some lip balms with added moisture and good hydrating characteristics. Commercial beeswax based lip balms are also available. One may use a combination of night use variety with day care lip balms for effectively combating the problem.
Home remedies for chapped lips
There are many home remedies for taking care of chapped lips starting from simple ones for temporary relief to long lasting combinations. You may look at the following and choose the one that best suits you based on the availability.
1. Honey is known for its moisturizing properties. You may apply honey mixed with sugar over sleep and rub off the dry skin in the morning and then apply a light coat of honey over lips for continued protection if you are staying indoors.
2. Among the vegetable oils, coconut oil is a good companion in treating chapped lips. Simply apply the oil like a thin film repeatedly several times.
3. Aloe Vera pulp is one of the wonderful agents for healing several skin ailments including chapped lips. Either fresh Aloe Vera or Aloe Vera based gel may be applied daily for a long lasting cure.
4. You may try applying crushed rose petals mixed with few droplets of glycerin before retiring to bed every day for few days. In the first place the lost moisture would get restored. In addition, the rose petals will help in retaining the pinkish tinge of the lips.
5. You may cover your lips with thinly cut cucumber and hold for a while. You would be rid of chapped lips condition soon.
6. If you can bear the smell of Castor oil, apply a thin film over the lips to make your lips gain original smoothness and pink colour.
7. You may even try applying mustard oil in your naval area. It has shown excellent results in curing chapped condition of lips.
8. A combination of glycerin, castor oil and lemon juice applied on the lips overnight has shown good results in getting rid of cracked lips.
9. Milk cream has shown good effect on healing cracked lips and maintaining them soft.
10. Vaseline mixed with honey also showed good effect on healing cracked lips. Apply the paste and leave it for 10-15 minutes and remove with a cotton swab moistened with warm water.
Last but not the least, some medical conditions such as vitamin deficiencies, fungal infections, thyroid condition and some autoimmune disorders can show up in the form of chapped lips. If your chapped lips condition is persisting for a long time, you should consult your family physician immediately to rule out any serious health issue.