Today is National Lip Appreciation Day, which makes it the perfect time to talk about cheilitis simplex, more commonly known as chapped lips.
Chapped lips are typically caused by environmental exposures that lead to irritation such as weather, sun damage, illness, spicy foods, medications and even your own saliva.
The most common symptoms of chapped lips are lip dryness, redness, cracking and itching.
Treatment depends on the cause, but can usually be self-treated.
Here are a few tips to help combat those dry, sore lips:
- Drink plenty of water. Chapped lips are dry lips, so you want to stay hydrated.
- Stop licking, biting and picking at your lips. When lips feel dry, it may seem natural to wet them by licking them, but this can worsen the problem. As saliva evaporates, your lips become even more dry. Picking or biting your lips also irritates them, which can prevent healing.
- Use lip balms, throughout the day. Try to avoid scented and flavored products, as these products can also dry out the lips. Instead, look for lip balms that contain soothing and moisturizing ingredients such as petroleum, lanolin, aloe, and beeswax.
- Use sunblock. Sunblock protects against the sun’s UV rays. Since your lips are constantly being exposed, it is important to protect them (and moisturize them too). Be sure to select a lip balm with a minimum of SPF15,
- If you find spicy foods are irritating your lips, avoid eating those foods.
- Talk to your doctor if medications are causing dry mouth and/or lips.
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