Avoiding Chapped Lips

Thursday, February 13th, 2014, 9:34 pm

Avoiding chapped lips during the winter may sound impossible but there are a few things that can help. Dry, chapped lips are also no fun when you need to have dental work!

Lips get chapped because they are constantly exposed to the elements. We can bundle up against the chilly air, but lips are exposed to sun, wind and dry air. Because our lips have only thin layers of skin they are much more likely to dry out than the rest of the face. According to Dr. Jessica Wu, a dermatologist, we lose up to 10 times more moisture through our lips than we do elsewhere on our bodies!

The first trick to keeping lips from chapping is to stop licking them! When our lips feel dry, we tend to lick them which only makes them more dehydrated. Saliva also contains acids which irritate the dried skin even more.

Another common response to dry, flaky lips is to peel or pick at the flakes. This only irritates the lips and makes the healing process slower. Leave those little flaky bits alone and let your body heal.

Even though your lips are chapped you still need to keep up with your oral care routine. Brushing and flossing every day will help keep your smile healthy.

Avoiding Chapped Lips

Avoiding chapped lips means protecting your lips with a shield of lip balm. Lip balms protect the delicate skin of your lips from the elements and dry indoor air. There are various types of lip balms: the waxy stick kind or the ointment/emollient type. The ointment type of lip balm will give your lips extra hydration while sealing in moisture. Petrolatum is a common ingredient in these lip balms. Castor seed oil, shea butter and other oils can also nourish cracked lips. Think twice about a “flavored” lip balm because you may unconsciously lick away the protection.

Some people tend to get cracks in the skin at the edge of the mouth. Technically this is called angular cheilitis and may be caused by several things, including a poor diet, dehydration, or mouth breathing during sleep. If you experience this condition frequently you should increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Using lip balm before you go to sleep at night can help if you tend to breath through your mouth.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next visit. We’ll make sure you have a healthy smile to go along with those un-chapped lips!

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Category: oral health

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