Common in cold weather, chapped lips are usually harmless, but feel awful and painful. Truly, they are annoying and leave chapped lip sufferers with a burning question: What is causing lips to chap? Although winter may be to blame in certain cases, it’s not always the culprit. More often than not, there are a few different problems that cause lips to appear dry, flakey, or chapped.
The skin on the lips requires extra care because it is highly sensitive. Not only does it require extra care, but also the right kind of care. The wrong kind of care may irritate the skin even more and cause more chapping. In fact, it may surprise you to learn about the following causes of chapped lips. You may do these habits unconsciously, or don’t even realize that lifestyle habits and certain foods are at the root of the problem.
One of the hallmark symptoms of dehydration is chapped lips. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says skin begins to dry when the body lacks water, and this includes skin on the lips. Other common signs of dehydration include dark yellow urine, headaches, constipation, thirst, and sluggishness. Make sure to drink water if you notice any of those symptoms alongside chapped lips.
Licking Your Lips
It’s a weird phrase, we know, but it’s a common reason why people experience chapped lips. Saliva from the tongue strips moisture from the skin on your lips, causing them to dry out. Dermatologists claim that saliva contains enzymes that are designed to digest food, not moisturize the lips. Try to be as conscious as possible about licking your lips to avoid chapping. If you are licking your lips, locate some lip balm or natural oils to help lock moisture into the skin. You may find that beeswax-based lip balms are best because beeswax has emollient properties that protect the skin barrier function.
More often than not, environmental exposures lead to irritation that cause lips to chap. Licking lips, dry or cold weather, sun damage, and eating spicy foods can all cause chapped lips. Dry winter air can deplete the moisture from your lips, which leaves them parched. Some people apply oils or lip balms to help replenish the moisture, but failure to do so can increase dryness. The more dry your lips are, the more prone they are to cracking and peeling. If you live in an area where weather is typically dry, make sure to have lip balms or oils at the ready!
Allergies To Certain Products
Be it your new lipstick or toothpaste, it’s possible for certain products to irritate your lips. Many people have an allergic reaction to propyl gallate in lipstick. If you started using a new lipstick and experience chapped lips, propyl gallate may be to blame. When it comes to toothpaste, guaiazulene or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) may cause your lips to chap. These ingredients can easily case skin irritation, so check your toothpaste ingredients if you experience chapped lips after integrating a new brand into your oral care routine.
Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Drinking alcohol doesn’t directly make your lips chapped, but drinking alcohol in excess contributes to dehydration. As mentioned earlier in this article, dehydration saps your lips of moisture. If you notice that your lips are dry and flakey after a night of drinking wine by the fireplace, consider replenishing the body with fluids as quickly as you can.
Eating Too Many Citrus Fruits
Although vitamin C is beneficial for the skin, eating too many citrus fruits can cause dryness around the mouth. It’s common for grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines to cause cracking or chapping. And if your lips are cracked, the citric acid will only irritate the dryness. Cut back on citrus fruits and drinks to see if your lips improve. You may benefit from rubbing aloe vera on the lips to accelerate the repair of cuts or chapping.