Why Your Lips are Chapped and How to Fix Them
What does it take to have a beautiful smile? Well, a beautiful smile begins with beautiful lips.
Many of us have attempted to mimic soft, supple, pink lips on lip balm commercials. For the geniuses out there, perhaps you discovered that Bonnie Bell Lip SmackerⓇ not only glides on but it also tastes pretty darn good.
The pink jumbo tube of bubble gum Lip Smacker has an especially strong pull for a four-year-old girl. A four-year-old girl who carries it around finds that licking it like a lollipop is super tasty—despite being warned repeatedly to stop licking it while going for a drive.
A four-year-old girl then becomes well-acquainted with buckets and lip-balm-induced nausea and vomiting. Never again does said child eat her lip balm.
Life lesson: just because your lip balm tastes good doesn’t mean it’s edible.
(Don’t judge. She was only four and she learned her lesson. Of course, she still loves all things Lip Smacker.)
Lip balm is typically the first thing we grab when we want to moisturize or heal our lips. We keep it in our purses, our cars and trucks, our backpacks, our pockets. We use it in summer to prevent sunburn, to heal sunburn. We use it in winter to prevent chapped lips, to heal chapped lips.
But does lip balm really fix chapped lips?
If you’re suffering from dry, chapped lips, keep these top tips in mind.
The most common cause of dry lips is dehydration. Your lips are delicate and may show signs of dehydration sooner than anything else. This is especially common during the winter when we spend more time indoors and drink less water.
You don’t always feel thirsty when you’re dehydrated, so don’t wait until you’re thirsty before you start drinking. Experts recommend that you drink around half a gallon of water per day. This increases if you exercise, spend a lot of time in the sun, or are breastfeeding—in any of these cases, you sweat more and retain less moisture in your system.
It comes as no surprise that our lips easily get into a repeating cycle of chapping and cracking during the cold weather months. So, we begin slathering on the lip balm.
Select Your Lip Balm Carefully
Guess what? As counter-intuitive as it may sound, lip balms may be making your dry lips worse. If they contain only humectants, including glycerin, they can actually pull moisture out of your lips.
That defeats the purpose of using it.
These ingredients can be found in most lip balms, and while they are problematic on their own, those effects can be offset when used in combination with protective ingredients like shea butter or beeswax. Protective ingredients create a barrier to prevent moisture loss.
If you must wear lip balm, be sure to look for something that contains very few chemical additives, and make sure it contains beeswax or shea butter, natural and protective substances.
Check Your Iron Levels
Although rare, chapped lips can be caused by an iron deficiency. Generally, this will be accompanied by other noticeable symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, and constant feelings of grogginess.
Women are more prone to this condition than men, especially if they have recently switched to a vegetarian or vegan diet. It’s easily remedied, so don’t freak out. There are many food sources that are high in iron, and you can also take iron supplements.
If you are low in iron, consistently include foods high in iron and/or take your iron supplement daily. This is not a quick fix. It is a lifestyle change.
You are a grown-up. You can do this. Your tongue has no power over you. You can keep your tongue inside your mouth and off of your lips.
It’s so tempting to lick your lips when they’re dry. It’s almost instinctual. Sure, it provides you with some temporary relief. But don’t do it!! It’s one of the worst things that you can do and often the culprit for causing persistent chapped lips.
Did you know that your lips are coated with a very thin protective barrier? So when you lick them you remove the barrier, leaving them exposed to the elements and at greater risk for drying out.
Your saliva is packed with strong, digestive enzymes designed to break down your food and neutralize acidity in your mouth. As soon as it hits your lips, it begins to have the same effect and breaks down the fragile protective layer.
Show of hands from everybody who has had crusty lips and thought you’d try to scrub that dry skin right off. How did that work for you?
Exfoliation won’t help if you have chapped lips right now and they are showing no sign of healing. But if you’ve had chapped lips for a long time and they are showing some signs of recovery, it could be time to exfoliate and remove the dead skin that has built up into an unattractive crust.
If not, you may slow the healing process and your lips will be left feeling dry and gritty. Check out the Snow Lip Care range to benefit from an instantly soothing, exfoliating, sugar-based scrub.
You can seriously damage your lips without realizing it. If this happens, they may stay dry and chapped for days, if not longer.
A little known fact is that one of the most common causes of lip damage is improper use of a teeth whitening system. That’s why, when you purchase a complete SNOW Teeth Whitening System, you will find lip protectors and moisturizers, along with the exfoliators.
This ensures that every aspect of your smile is taken care of. Just use the exfoliators and moisturizers as instructed, follow the teeth whitening process, and you’ll have silky-smooth lips and bright, white teeth in no time!
It doesn’t matter how white and gleaming your teeth are, if your lips are chapped and damaged, your smile will be too. Don’t spend all that time on your teeth only to forget about your lips! Stay hydrated, stop licking your lips, be careful when choosing a lip balm, properly use teeth whitening systems, and your lips will stay that healthy.