The tissue that comprises your lips doesn’t have any oil or sweat glands like the rest of your body does, so the lips can quite easily become chapped. Did you know that simply habitually licking your lips can cause chapping? We may think that the moisture from our saliva will help hydrate our lips, but in actuality it dehydrates them due to moisture evaporation. Licking your lips just makes things worse.
If you are on medication you may experience chapped lips. Medications alter the body’s natural functions and may induce dry skin on the body as well as the lips. For instance, dry, chapped lips are a common occurrence while taking Accutane, an anti-acne drug. Also, if you are on chemotherapy, you have probably discovered that your lips are continually chapped due to the harsh chemicals that are infiltrating your body.
In addition, dry air (like in the desert or Colorado) or the cold air of winter can cause chapping. You may find yourself wetting your lips with your tongue to overcome the dry feeling, and as I’ve already said, licking your lips actually creates dry, chapped lips. Last of all, lipsticks in general have a lot of drying ingredients in them and if you wear lipstick, no doubt you have had chapped lips at one time or another.
Using a lip balm is going to be your best and safest bet to stave off chapped lips. I prefer non-petroleum lip balms, which can usually be found at health food stores. Buy several, and then put them everywhere! Typically they are about $3 apiece. So I buy five or six, and spread them out in my home, office, in my jeans, and regularly used jackets, so I don’t have to worry about being without. They last for an eternity since I have so many in use at one time, and my lips are never chapped because I am consistently attending to them.
One last recommendation: don’t bite your lips! Trying to bite off the chapped skin that is sometimes hanging off your lips just causes more problems. It creates tiny tears in the lip tissue, which can bleed and take a long time to heal. Instead of tearing that delicate skin, just slather your lips with a non-petroleum lip balm and stay away from lipstick for at least a few days and let your lips heal. I know it’s hard to leave the lipstick off, but treat your lips as though they are injured, and give them loving care—and lip balm!
Chapped lips no longer need to be a problem. Sometimes you can’t avoid the causes, but you can always contribute to the healing of chapped, dry lips—primarily by using lip balms as often as possible. No matter what you use on your lips, do use something, and you can kiss chapped lips good-bye.
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