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At some point or the other, we’ve all been victims of dry lips. For some, dry lips is a regular thing which can be balanced out with some lip balm and moisturizer; whereas some people experience excruciating pain and irritation due to the dry and cracked lips.
This brings us to the big question: What are the reasons for dry and cracked lips?
Lips are a beautiful part of our body but unfortunately, they have certain disadvantages in comparison to our other body parts. These disadvantages make our lips vulnerable to dryness:
The presence of natural oils in the hair and skin help balance out dryness and flakiness. Unfortunately, our lips do not have any natural oils, therefore, they are more vulnerable to dryness.
The skin protecting our lips is much thinner in comparison to the other parts of our body. Therefore, our skin is highly vulnerable to problems caused by external factors like pollution, change in weather, etc.
Our lips do not have any pores which mean that are no sweat and oil glands in order to retain the moisture in the lips and keep them hydrated.
In addition to these natural flaws, some daily habits also contribute to dry lips:
Frequent licking of the lips: People who are into the habit of licking their lips are highly prone to dry lips. This is because saliva strips away the moisture from our lips and makes them dry and vulnerable to cracks.
Breathing through the mouth: Breathing through the mouth dries up the moisture on our lips which in turn makes them dry and scaly. It is recommended that one inculcates the habit of breathing through the nose and in case that’s not possible, it is imperative to always use a moisturizing lip balm in order to retain the moisture on the lips.
Dehydration: Dry lips are considered as a warning sign of dehydration. Dehydration causes certain imbalances in our body which makes the skin on our lips vulnerable to dryness. Drinking water and eating high water content vegetables and fruits like cucumbers and watermelons can help in bringing the lips back to normal.
Change in temperature and weather also contributes majorly to dry lips:
Exposure to cold: Exposure to cold due to weather and spending too much time in an air-conditioned room can also cause dryness of the lips:
Exposure to sun: Since the skin on our lips is extremely thin, it is more prone to damage caused by sunlight which in turn causes dryness.
In some cases, dry lips are also caused due to the sudden change in weather or temperature. For eg: if a person moves from a city like Mumbai to a cold city like Darjeeling, there is a high possibility that the person might fall prey to dry lips.
Some underlying health conditions can also lead to dry and cracked lips:
Vitamin deficiency: The deficiency of moisturizing vitamins like B1. B2 (riboflavin) and B6 can cause dry lips.
Cheilitis: This is a condition in which a person experiences dry and cracked skin on the surface of the lips and at the corners of the mouth, ulcers and white plagues on the surface of the skin. Cheilitis is associated with other severe various infections and health conditions like Crohn’s disease.
Here's an infographic on the causes of dry lips for your quick reference:
It is imperative to indulge in lip care regularly in order to keep them healthy and hydrated. However, if the signs of dry lips persist over a long period of time, it is strongly recommended that you consult a dermatologist at the earliest.
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