What Causes Chapped Lips?

Medically known as cheilitis, chapped lips are a condition that makes lips look and feel dry and irritated. Chapped lips are caused by rapidly changing environmental and weather conditions, dehydration, vitamin deficiencies, and allergies. Chapped lips can affect men and women of all ages.

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The different types of chapping

Chapped lips are differentiated by the reason or cause for the condition. For example, angular cheilitis is a fungal infection that causes chapped lips. Eczematous cheilitis describes eczema-related chapped lips, and actinic cheilitis is the term for sun-damaged chapped lips. Chapped lips may also be a symptom of infection or an underlying medical condition.

Can chapped lips lead to any other conditions?

Severely chapped lips can be very painful. Peeling and irritation can create minor cuts along the surface. This can make eating spicy or hot foods uncomfortable. The wounds can also get infected from exposure to bacteria. In some cases, chapped lips may create sores on or around the lips.

Is there a treatment for chapped lips?

Protection and moisture are two of the best ways to treat chapped lips. A medicated lip balm is made from ingredients that will heal the lips and eliminate dryness while protecting the lips from the elements. Look for lip balms with moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and coconut butter. These balms should also contain petroleum jelly, petrolatum, or glycerin. These ingredients form barriers between the lips and the environment, protecting them from damage and retaining moisture.

What other ingredients should I look for in a medicated lip balm?

A medicated lip balm with SPF is ideal for protection against chapped lips. Titanium and zinc oxide are two types of sun protectants that shield against harmful sun rays. Lip balms with SPF 15 or higher can help prevent sunburn. Camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol are healing ingredients that deliver a tingly sensation when applied to the lips. Lip balm with antioxidants, collagen, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides also protects against aging.

Should I talk to my doctor about my chapped lips?

Patients suffering from chronically chapped lips should seek immediate medical attention, as this may exacerbate infection or be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Patients can also speak to the physician about medicated lip balms. For more information about chapped lips, reach out to a medical professional.


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