Dry, Chapped Lips Aren’t Just a Winter Problem

Dry, Chapped Lips Aren't Just a Winter Problem | Dr. Ali Ghahary

Dry, chapped lips aren’t just a problem in the winter; they can be problematic during the summer months and warmer weather, too. Just as cold weather can contribute to your lip problems, so can the sunshine and lack of moisture.

There are many reasons why you might develop dry, chapped lips in the summer; the most common being dehydration. Despite being well aware of the fact that we should be drinking at least 8 cups of water each day, it’s not unusually to be much lower in water intake than you should be. It’s also a lot easier to get dehydrated when exposed to hotter temperatures. Because of this, Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends having a bottle of water on you at all times. Drinking water will not only keep you hydrated (along with its many other health benefits), but it will also help hydrate the skin (including your lips.) Additionally, when the weather is cooler, we are much more prone to using things like lotions and petroleum jelly to keep the skin moisturized. However, regardless of the season, you should be using these products on a regular basis and not just quit them when the weather changes. By keeping the skin moisturized at all times, you reduce the risk and reverse the effects of dry skin. Certain foods can also cause dehydration and skin dryness. To keep the skin cells soft, plump and flexible, you should consume foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids; such as salmon, sardines, walnuts, flaxseeds, and soybeans. Speaking of diet, if you lack certain foods then you may also be lacking or deficient in certain vitamins. If you have low levels of B vitamins, iron, or zinc, then this may also be contributing to your dry, chapped lips and skin, and you should adjust your diet to include more red meat and poultry, fruits and vegetables.

If you’re someone who licks their lips frequently in effort to keep them moist, you are actually doing more harm than good, as the saliva on your lips eventually evaporates and leaves them feeling dry all over again. Certain cosmetic products, such as long-lasting lipsticks or lipsticks and glosses that are matte, as well as plumping glosses, can also cause the lips to become dry or chapped, and may even cause irritation. Sometimes we even lick our lips without realizing we’re doing it. Therefore, you can actually benefit from regular use of a rich lip ointment. These can be found near the cosmetic aisle of almost any drug store, and are usually pocket size, meaning you can carry them around wherever you go and use them whenever you need to.

The medications you’re taking can also be a factor. For example, certain medications taken for high blood pressure and nausea can cause not only lip dryness, but skin dryness too. If you are on any of these medications and notice an increase in dryness, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. They will be able to give you more detailed information on the side effects of your medications and definitively tell you whether or not your skin dryness is a result of the medications that you are taking. Even if you do suspect your lip and skin dryness is caused by your medications, it’s important that you continue taking them until you have spoken with your physician. Quitting some medications cold turkey can cause severe side effects, and you may actually need to be weaned off of them slowly.

If your skin problems persist, Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends asking your family physician to refer you to a dermatologist. A dermatologist is someone who specializes in skin, and he or she will be able to guide you in the right direction in terms of treatment or other alternatives.