Chapped lips represent a problem that a lot of people are fighting against, affecting men and women in an equal manner. Maintaining your lips moisturized is especially difficult during the winter season, when the temperatures are low and the atmosphere dry. For many people, the chapped lips represent nothing more than a cosmetic problem. However, according to dermatologists, suffering from chapped lips might pinpoint towards more serious problems. Are chapped lips a sign of something scary? Keep on reading and find out.
As you have seen above, cold weather is one of the main causes of chapped lips. The good news is that we have a lot of weapons available, including lipstick, balms and glosses. They are all meant to keep our lips protected, ensuring their necessary moisture. However, in the winter, you might notice that your lips become chapped, no matter how many such products you are using. The skin might also become dry around the lips, making you worry that you might be suffering from other skin conditions.
Chapped lips should not be confused with cold sores or infections, but they may point towards sun damage (including in the winter). Whether you suffer from itchy lips or not, you have to understand that such changes might indicate a prolonged or chronic exposure to the sun. It is not necessary for other changes to be present, such as soreness, redness or puffiness. In fact, the lips can be moderately chapped, without any cracks present and still represent a sign of sun damage.
In the situation that you have noticed your lips to be chapped, one of the most important thing is to avoid picking the dry skin. This will cause your lips to look peeled, red and inflamed, which is an unsightly aspect indeed. Moreover, you need to apply lip balm and increase your water intake, in order to avoid the further dehydration of the lips. If the lips are chapped only because of the weather, the condition will soon improve and they will return to their normal, healthy-looking aspect.
In the past few years, with the ozone layer becoming thinner and thinner, the risk of sun damage has increased. Many more cases of skin cancer have been reported, with lesions in the lip area becoming frequent as well. Even though not all the cases of itchy lips are associated with skin cancer, it is important to understand that this change might actually represent a precancerous lesion. There are certain people who present an increased risk for such changes, such as those who work in the open outdoors for a prolonged period of time (occupational hazard), those who are older in age and also those who have fair skin.
For the rest of the people, the application of lip balm might be one of the best methods of protection against such precancerous lesions. However, it can happen that our lip balm wears off faster than we expected, especially in comparison to the rest of the makeup. This is because we have to eat and drink, so it makes sense why any lip product would wear off quite fast. Plus, many of us forget to apply sunscreen around the mouth, which leaves these tissues without any protection whatsoever.
Before you panic, there is still plenty of time to take action. You can prevent any further damage by using lip products that have sun protection included in them. This is valid not only for lipsticks but also for glosses and balms. You have to get accustomed to using such products on a daily basis and especially during the summer, when the sun exposure is higher. This does not mean you should completely forget about the application of lip balm or lipstick during the winter; the sun is active then as well and it can damage the skin, even when it is cloudy outside (UV rays penetrate the clouds).
Apart from the actual lip products, it is recommended that you also apply sunscreen lotion at the level of the entire face. Pay increased attention to the area around the lips, as this particular zone is often forgotten. And if you really want to exfoliate your skin, forget about those aggressive chemical peels. There are plenty of natural scrubs that you can prepare by yourself at home; the best are those that contain sugar, as they can guarantee a mild exfoliation, without being too aggressive.
If you have chapped lips and your condition does not seem to improve, it is high time you sought the advice of a medical professional. Contact your dermatologist and request a professional consultation. Together, you will be able to decide whether your lips require more care or you are suffering from an underlying health problems that need special treatment. And never forget to apply hydrating lip balm, no matter the season or the weather outside.