Do you have chapped lips? What might be the cause? Find more as we explore on the causes of severe chapped lips in adults and kids including vitamin deficiency, dehydration and lip licking among others. You will also learn how to get rid of chapped lips using various home remedies and treatments.
Severe Chapped Lips Causes
Chapped lips is common especially during the winter when the weather is dry and windy. It is also possible to develop this lip problem at any time of the year due to poor lip care practices. Chapped lips is characterized by dryness, cracking, flaking, tenderness, itchiness and soreness of the lips. Here are possible causes that can result to chronic chapped lips:
- Allergic reactions
An allergic reaction that causes chapped lips is triggered by an allergen found in lip care products, oral care products, foods or medications. Using lip care products like lip stick that contains propyl gallate or phenyl salicylate are likely to cause an allergic reaction. Other lip care products that contains fragrance, harsh chemicals or flavor can also cause chapped lips.
Toothpaste that contains guaiazulene can also trigger an allergic reaction to your lips and other oral cavities. When shopping for lip care or oral care products, check for their ingredient content and the expiry date to avoid chapped lips.
Any medication that you take may also have some side effects to your body including dry lips. Different medications like Accutane which is used for acne, wrinkles and other skin problems or propranolol used for treating blood pressure can result to severe chapped lips. Consult your doctor or dermatologist if there is any other alternative drug you can use in order to avoid this lip problem.
An allergic reaction is characterized with other symptoms like hives on the lips, itching, skin rash, nasal congestion, swollen lymph nodes, scratchy throat or watery eyes among others. Severe allergic reaction can lead to a condition known as anaphylaxis that requires an emergency medical treatment.
- Vitamin deficiency
Different vitamins plays a very important roles in your body. For instance, B-complex vitamins helps to support healthy skin including the lips. Although most of the foods we eat contains plenty of this vitamins, most of them are destroyed when you overcook the foods or due to excessive alcohol consumption.
Digestive track disorders can also lead to poor absorption of vitamins and minerals into your body leading to chapped lips that won’t go away easily. Ensure that you eat plenty of foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals to prevent deficiencies. Alternatively, you can take vitamin supplements to boost its level in your body.
Chapped or dry lips is among the first symptoms to tell you that your body is having insufficient water. Engaging in sporting activities like motor boating exposes your lips or skin to dry wind and ultra violet rays from the sun that water loss from your body leading to dry lips.
It is important to take at least eight glasses of water or more a day to prevent dehydration. Apply a moisturizing lip balm containing a sun protection factor of 15 to protect your lips from dryness and damage from the sun.
- Excessive licking of lips
Having a habit of licking your lips excessively when they are dry causes them to become more dehydrated. Saliva does not dehydrate, that is why it cannot quench your thirsty. When you lick your lips, the saliva evaporates with some of the moisture on your lips. A continued cycle of licking will therefore cause severe chapped lips due to dehydration.
- Medical conditions
There are various medical conditions that causes your lips to become more sensitive to the sun. Therefore, spending some time outdoors may cause your lips to become dry or chapped easily. It is important to wear a lip balm containing a sun protection factor 15 when having such conditions to avoid damage of your lips.
Other medical conditions like psoriasis, thyroid disease, Down’s syndrome or diabetes can also cause your lips to become chapped. Dry lips may be symptomatic to some of these condition. It is advisable to visit your doctor for diagnosis and treatment of these conditions.
- Excessive sun exposure
Spending most of your time outdoors without wearing a sunscreen can result to chapped lips. This condition is mostly experienced in kids or children since they spend most of their time outdoors playing with their friends. Before going outdoors ensure to apply a lip balm containing SPF 15 to keep your lips moisturized and protected from the sun.
- Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol
Tobacco smoke contains that causes your lips to become dry or chapped. Smoking also increases the chances of getting lip infections that are characterized with dryness among other symptoms. Excessive consumption of alcohol also causes dehydration of your body including lips.
- Dry and windy weather conditions
When living in a dry and windy weather conditions, you are likely to have severe chapped lips and corners of the mouth. The dry wind carries away moisture on your lips making them to become dry. It is important to apply a lip balm regularly and wear a scarf to cover your lips.
- Food and environmental irritants
Eating spicy, acidic and salty foods when having cracked lips can worsen your condition. Some of the foods that causes irritation includes citrus fruits and tomato source among others. Other environmental pollutants and chemicals can also cause chapped lips.
- Vitamin A toxicity
Taking overdose of vitamin A supplements causes toxicity that can lead to dry and cracked lips. Ensure that you are taking the correct dosage of this type of vitamins to avoid toxicity that can cause various skin problems.
Severe Chapped Lips won’t heal
Do you have chapped lips that won’t heal easily? Then you have to find out the underlying cause of your condition before treatment. Chapped lips will heal once the under lying cause is treatment. Apply the following tips if your condition doesn’t heal:
- Stop smoking or chewing tobacco and consumption of alcohol and focus on treating your damaged lips. The chemical in the tobacco smoke can worsen and prevent your condition from healing.
- Avoid licking your lips as it can worsen your condition.
- Consider your diet. Incorporate vitamins and minerals in your diet to prevent deficiencies.
- Protect your lips from the sun damage.
- Visit your doctor to determine if vitamin deficiency is the cause of your problem.
- Find out if your lip or oral care products and foods contains an allergen that triggers an allergic reaction.
- Consult your doctor to see if it’s the side effects of medications you are taking.
- Protect your lips from dehydration.
- Avoid breathing through your mouth to find out if it is the cause of your condition.
Once you will have identified the cause of your chapped lips, it will be easier to treat.
Severe Chapped Lips and Corners of Mouth
Cracked corners of the mouth is also known as angular cheilitis. It is a condition that affects both men and women, although it is not contagious but it causes your mouth to become dark, painful, red, sore and unattractive. In some cases, the splits can bleed when you open your mouth wide. This condition can last up to several month or years when left untreated.
It is important to find out the cause of your cracked mouth corners as it will help you to come out with an effective treatment. This condition is majorly caused by a fungal infection although it can result from other factors that includes the following:
- Bacterial infections.
- Chapped lips.
- Viral infections.
- Allergic reaction to lip care products, oral care products, certain foods and medication.
- Excessive dryness of the mouth due to dehydration.
- Ill-fitting dentures.
- Autoimmune disorders.
- Viral infections like cold sores.
- Vitamin and mineral deficiency.
- Damage from the sun
Chapped corners of the mouth can become painful especially when eating spicy, acidic, salty and hot foods. This condition can be treated using over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams, prescribed medicines or using home remedy treatments like natural oils.
Severe Chapped Lips Vitamin Deficiency
Vitamin plays very important roles in your body including cell growth, healthy skin and bones. Having health smooth and soft lips means that you have sufficient B-vitamin complex in your body. Deficiency of this vitamins can lead to dry, cracked, scaly, flaky or chapped lips.
Although most of the foods we eat contain these vitamins, most of them are destroyed due to overcooking, excessive consumption of alcohol and having digestive track disorders can also lead to poor absorption of vitamins and minerals in your body. Deficiency of the following vitamins may lead to the above lip problems:
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
This type of vitamins play a very big role in healthy skin. It helps in maintaining collagen that is needed for a smooth and soft skin. Its deficiency is characterized by chapped lips and skin wrinkles or premature aging of the skin. Consuming foods that are rich in vitamin B2 like beef liver, milk, lamb, natural yogurt, mushrooms, spinach, eggs, sun-dried tomatoes, almond and salmon can help restore your condition.
Vitamin B3 (niacin)
This is a type of soluble B-complex vitamin. This means that they are not stored into your body and therefore, you have to eat food rich in niacin daily. Its deficiency is characterized with severe chapped lips and inflamed skin. Foods rich in niacin includes vegetables, fruits, grain products, milk and milk products and meat.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
This vitamin is also essential for healthy development of skin. Deficiency symptoms includes chapped lips, anemia, skin rashes, upset stomach and nerve damage in infants. Food rich in this vitamins includes fish, beef liver, vegetables, fruit and poultry.
Deficiency of iron and zinc minerals can also lead to dry, cracked, scaly and flay lips. Incorporate the above vitamins and minerals in your diet to prevent deficiencies.
Severe Chapped Lips Kids or Child
Chapped lips among children can be a serious condition as compared to adults since they have sensitive lip skin that is still developing. Children can not only experience chapped lips but also the skin surrounding their lips may also be affected.
Both children and adults can experience chapped lips for the same reason such as sun damage, vitamins deficiency, cold weather, wind exposure, dehydration, frequent lip licking, iron deficiency, allergic reactions, and exposure to environmental irritants and from conditions like Kawasaki disease and diabetes among others. However, children are likely to have chapped lips due to the following conditions:
Lip licker’s dermatitis. This condition is characterized by red, scaly, flaky and dry patches at the lips and the skin bordering the lips. Severe condition can cause lip cracking, bleeding and irritation. This type of dermatitis is caused when children lick their lips. The saliva causes skin irritation and the child may continue licking in order to relive the irritation and hence worsening the condition.
Dehydration is another common cause of severe chapped lips among toddlers, kids or children. Dehydration is characterized by dry and cracked lips among children. This conditions happens when your child doesn’t take enough fluids or due to vomiting and diarrhea.
Apart from dry and cracked lips, dehydration can cause fever, less frequent urination, fatigue, sunken eyes and dry skin. Your child may also experience dehydration of lips when living dry, windy and cold weather. Licking of lips also encourages evaporation of moisture and hence resulting to chapped lips.
Kawasaki disease is also an infection that commonly affects children under the age of 14. This disease is characterized with dry, cracked and red lips that bleeds easily. This disease affects the walls of blood vessels throughout the body.
It is also characterized with other symptoms like swollen lymph nodes, red eyes, red spots on tongue, swollen hands and feet and skin rash. The exact cause of this condition is unknown although some theories links it to bacteria, virus and other environmental factors. This condition normally resolves on its own although you can take your child to a health care provider for diagnosis and treatment.
How to Get Rid of Severe Chapped Lips, treatment
Depending on the cause of your chapped lips, there are various tips you can use to get rid of these lip condition. They includes the following:
- Stay away from foods and products that triggers allergic reaction
Avoid using lip care products like lip stick, gloss or balm that contains harsh chemicals that triggers an allergic reaction. When your body is prone to allergic reactions, it is important to stay away from food triggers like peanuts, eggs, milk, soy, tree nuts and shellfish among others. You can also consult your doctor about the side effects of any medicines before using.
- Keep your lips moisturized all the time
Dehydration is the major cause of chapped lips, it is therefore advisable to keep your lips moisturized by applying petroleum jelly or a lip balm. It prevents evaporation of moisture from your lips as well as keeping them soft and smooth.
- Drink plenty of water
As you read earlier, dehydration is the main cause of severe chapped lips. Taking plenty of fluids helps to combat this problem. It is recommended to take at least 8 glasses of water a day. However, the amount of water to take depends on the activity you are doing and the environment among other factors.
Apart from keeping your lips soft, water also helps to flush out toxins from your body. To keep your lips hydrated, avoid extreme temperatures and apply a moisturizing lip balm.
- Use humidifier at night
Using heaters indoors during the winter causes the air to dry out. Installing a humidifier in your room can help to moisturize the air and hence keeping your lips moist.
- Protect your lips from the sun
When going outdoors in dry, windy and cold weather, wear a lip balm containing SPF 15. It helps to keep your lips moisturized as well as protecting them from ultra violet rays from the sun. You can also cover your lips with a scarf to keep them protected.
- Avoid breathing through the mouth
Breath through the nose, breathing through the mouth can make your lips to become dry by causing evaporation of the moisture.
- Avoid picking your lips
Do not pick the flaky skin on your lips, it may worsen your condition. Instead you should clean them with a cotton ball soaked in warm water and apply a moisturizing oil or a lip balm.
- Avoid licking your lips
Excessive licking of lips causes dehydration. The saliva evaporates with moisture leaving your lips dry. Excessive licking will therefore cause severe chapped lips. Instead of licking them, drink some water and apply a moisturizing oil or lip balm.
- Eat a balanced diet
Eating a balanced diet can help to prevent vitamins and mineral deficiencies that is among the causes of chapped lips. Your diet should contain plenty of vegetables and fruits to boost the vitamin level in your body. Other foods to include in your diets are poultry, meat, eggs, milk, milk products and fish.
- Avoid smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol
Tobacco smoke contains toxic chemicals that can cause irritation of your lips. It may also cause various lip infection that can result to chapped lips. On the other hand, excessive consumption of alcohol causes dehydration of your body including the lips.
Severe Chapped Lips Home Remedy
Cracked, dry or flaky lips is a problem that is commonly experienced during dry, windy and cold weather. However, it can also occur at any time due to various underlying body conditions. This lip problem can be painful and unattractive and you may want to get rid of it fast.
Although there are various commercial products you can use to treat chapped lips, they may be expensive or may have some side effects after treatment. Instead of going for such products, you can save your coins and use the following effective home remedies for chapped lips:
- Exfoliate your lips
This treatment helps to get rid of dead skin cells and other impurities while exposing a fresh skin that will start to heal. This treatment is used prior to applying any ointment to initiate the healing process. However, it is important to be gentle while exfoliating. Aggressive exfoliation can cause bleeding or can make your lips to become hypersensitive. There are various methods you can use to exfoliate, they include:
- A mixture of sugar and honey. Mix two tablespoon of sugar with one tablespoon of honey and stir well to make a paste. Apply the paste on your lips and allow it to sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing gently using your fingers. Rinse it off with warm water. Repeat this treatment twice a week to obtain the best results.
- Using a soft bristle toothbrush. After brushing your teeth, you can spend some time too in exfoliating your lips using the same brush. Just ensure it is clean by rinsing it thoroughly with warm water before use.
- Use aloe Vera gel
Aloe Vera has healing and anti-inflammatory properties that helps to treat severe chapped lips as well as relieving pain caused by cracked lips. Although it can create unpleasant taste but it is an effective treatment. To use this remedy, you simply extract a gel from an aloe Vera leaf and apply it directly to your lips. Apply twice daily for better results.
- Apply natural oils
To keep your lips moisturized, there are various natural oils that you can use. They help to repair your lips as well as preventing them from further damage. They includes coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, cocoa butter, jojoba oil and rosehip oil. Apply a thin layer in the evening before going to bed and in the morning before going outdoors.
- Use cucumber
Cucumber helps to soothe and heal cracked and painful lips. To use this treatment, cut a cumber into slices and rub one piece onto your lips. Ensure that the juice penetrates into the cracks for 15 minutes and then you rinse with cool water. Repeat this treatment 2 to 3 times daily until your lips improves.
- Rose petals for severe chapped lips
Are you suffering from chapped lips and yet you have a rose flower in your garden? You can easily find the solution to your lip problem within your flower garden by using the rose petals. This treatment helps to keep your lips moisturized as well as enhancing their color.
To use this treatment, you simply obtain a handful of rose petals and wash them thoroughly. Mix the petals with milk cream or glycerin and mash to form a paste. Apply the paste to your lips 2-3 times a day, you can also use it overnight for best results.
- Milk cream
Milk cream contains a high fat content that makes it the best product for chapped lips. It keeps your lips moisturized as well as initiating the healing process of cracked lips. Obtain a fresh milk cream and apply on your lips. Allow it to sit on your lips for 15 minutes and then rinse it off using a cotton ball soaked in warm water. Repeat this treatment daily until you obtain the positive results.
- Lemon juice
Lemon juice is an effective treatment on how to get soft lips fast. It also helps to lighten your lips as well as nourishing the sensitive skin. To make this treatment more effective, you simply mix 1 tablespoon of milk cream with 3 drops of fresh lemon juice. Apply the mixture daily on your lips before going to bet and rinse it off in the morning before applying your normal lip moisturizer.
- Green tea bag for severe chapped lips
This home remedy treatment was used from traditionally in treating dry lips. Wet green tea bag helps to keep your lips moisturized as well as initiating the healing process of any damages. Simply wet a green tea bag and press it against your damaged lips for 5 minutes. Apply it 2-3 times daily until your lips becomes soft and smooth.
- Apply glycerin
Glycerin is an effective home remedy treatment for dry and chapped lips. It can also be used together with other remedies for best results. Mix the glycerin with either milk cream, honey or rose petal and mash or mix thoroughly before applying of the affected lips. Repeat the treatment 2-3 times daily for best results.
- Apply honey
Honey has both antibacterial and healing properties that helps to treat chapped lips. It is also an effective moisturizer when applied on dry lips. You simply apply raw organic honey directly on to your chapped lips. Alternatively, you can mix with glycerin and apply on your lips.
- Possible conditions for chronic chapped lips: http://www.livestrong.com/article/322474-possible-conditions-for-chronic-chapped-lips/
- How to get rid of chapped lips: http://www.vaseline.us/skin-health-care/how-to-get-rid-of-chapped-lips.html
- Why are my lips chapped? http://www.webmd.com/beauty/lips-smile/end-chapped-lips