Around this time of year, the weather in many parts of the country starts to get a bit drier and less full of humidity. This dryness can affect how your hair and skin feels, but one part of the body often forgotten about is the lips.
Sure, you can carry an extra tube of lip balm in your purse or pocket this fall. Or you can prevent chapped lips before they form with healthy lifestyle habits and natural products that won’t irritate sensitive skin instead.
Here’s some information about what causes chapped lips and how to prevent and treat them the natural way.
Chapped Lips Causes
Like all skin conditions, chapped lips can be a minor annoyance or downright painful. Very chapped lips can even bleed and put you at risk of getting an infection through those tiny openings and abrasions.
Cracked lips are often caused by weather changes or if you excessively lick your lips. Exposure to wind, cold, and sun can make lips chapped, as well as dehydration if you aren’t getting enough water throughout the day. People who breathe through their mouths are more prone to lip chapping. You may notice more chapping if you aren’t getting enough healthy fats in your diets or not enough vitamin B, zinc, or iron through foods you eat. Meanwhile, acidic and spicy foods may irritate your lips and cause them to become chapped and dry.
Hormone changes may affect lip moisture, especially during menopause. Also, certain medications, such as nausea medications and high blood pressure pills, list chapped lips as a side effect.
Preventing Chapped Lips
To prevent your lips from becoming chapped, make a point to not lick your lips because this bad habit only makes your lips dryer. Use lip balms with sunscreen to give your lips the sun protection they need when going out in the sun. Lip balms with all-natural ingredients are best because lip skin is very sensitive and can become quickly irritated when in contact with fragrances and dyes.
When it’s cold and windy outside, cover your lips with a scarf for protection. All throughout the year, make sure to stay well-hydrated by drinking water to prevent chapped lips, and consider placing a humidifier in your bedroom for an extra dose of moisture in the house.
Natural Chapped Lips Treatments
Many people exfoliate the skin on their faces and bodies but never think about the concept of exfoliating the lips. A simple sugar scrub is gentle and can be used on the lips to exfoliate away dead skin cells here. This is a much better way to get rid of dead lip skin than picking it away, which can lead to bleeding and pain. You can make your own lip scrub at home using any kind of sugar you have in the cupboard and mixing it with a natural oil, such as jojoba or almond oil.
After exfoliating, use a natural moisturizer that contains ingredients like olive oil, coconut oil, or cocoa butter. Vitamin E and antioxidant-rich lip formulas are also great for nourishing chapped lips. Start drinking more water, using a humidifier in the house, and eating more foods that contain healthy fats to take these efforts one step further. Foods with healthy omega-3 fats include avocados, fish, nuts, and seeds.
There is a severe form of chapped lips called cheilitis that causes cracked lips to also have a lumpy texture, turn red, and have white plaque on the surface. While you may need to consult a dermatologist for these types of serious symptoms, almost all other instances of chapped lips can be treated at home with chemical-free ingredients that you probably already have lying around the house.