The lips does not contain oil glands, like the rest of your skin, which prone them to cracking and drying out. You may think of cracked lips as something that only happens during hot seasons. But the truth is, unless you take special care, your lips can get dry, sore and scaly any time of year.
While both lips may be affected, the lower lip is the most common site for cracked lips. There may also be burning, fissuring, peeling of the skin of the lips and pain when the lips are stretched.
Causes of cracked lips
Cracked lips is often due to an allergic reaction to lipstick, toothpaste, moisturizers, and any item applied to or around your lips could cause a split lip.
Most people don’t drink enough water. Besides that, you don’t eat enough fresh vegetables and fruit, which are high in liquid. You can also become dehydrated from vomiting, diarrheoa and excessive sweating.
Chapped lips is a form of lip inflammation often triggered by skin irritation. Cracked lips can occur at any time of the year. Lips are particularly prone to flaking, peeling, splitting, and dryness since they don’t have the same protection from the elements as other skin.
Injury to the lips
A cracked lips can also occur after a traumatic injury. This includes a blow to the mouth, falls, biting your lip, or getting a paper cut.
Disease or illness
Citrus and other acidic foods, salty foods, spicy foods and very rough or dry foods can also irritate and cracked the lips.
Sunscreen is normally used to protect our bodies from the sun’s harmful Ultraviolet rays. It’s important to protect your lips as well. Exposing unprotected lips to the sun can lead to inflammation. Prolong exposure of the lips causes it to become stiff and dry, resulting in cracking or splitting.
Vitamin and mineral deficiency
Water-soluble vitamins especially Vitamin B plays a role in metabolism and help your body fight diseases. Examples includes: thiamine, niacin, biotin, folic acid, and riboflavin. Vitamin B also contributes to healthy skin, and low levels can cause a variety of skin problems such as acne, split lips, dryness, and rashes. Low levels of zinc and iron can also lead to split lips, especially at the corners of the mouth.
Lip licking, biting or rubbing
Constant licking of the lips causes dryness and irritation, and eventually cracked lips. The lips have a greater tendency to dry out in cold, dry weather. Digestive enzymes present in saliva may also irritate the lips leading to evaporation of saliva on the lips. Some children also have a habit of sucking and chewing on the lower lip
Home remedies for cracked lips
Drink plenty of fluids
Having 8-10 glasses of water per day is ideal. When your body is dehydrated, it often shows first in your lips. The more water, the better! Limiting alcohol is key because it promotes excessive urination.
For an ultra-moisturizing lip treatment, rub a little oil on your lips. It soothes and moisturize your lips while also protecting them from further damage. Use natural moisturizers such as: olive oil, coconut oil cocoa or Shea butter.
Don’t lick your lips
While it might seem like a good idea at the time, rubbing your tongue over your lips will just make your situation worse. As your saliva dries, it takes more moisture from your skin. If you feel the urge to lick or pick at your lips, immediately apply a lip balm instead.
Use lip balm
A good balm can buffer your delicate lips from the drying out. Look for a lip balm that contains beeswax, Shea butter, coconut butter, almond oil, or other natural moisturizers. Don’t use a lip balm with an extra-long list of ingredients you can’t pronounce.
Avoid using lipstick to moisturize your lips
Lipstick can be drying whiles you need a protective ointment on your lips. In some cases, you can develop an allergy to lipstick. If this happens, the lipstick can make your lips very irritated or even cause a rash.
Use a humidifier
Heating indoor spaces causes the air to dry out. Try installing a humidifier in your home or office. This moistens up air in a room and ultimately moistens up your lips to prevent cracked lips.
Eat a healthy diet
Increase the amount of needed vitamins in your diet by eating better or taking supplements like vitamin pills. Refrain from eating caffeinated and salty foods, which increase the urge to lick your lips.
If you are going out on a day in the sun, use a lip balm with sunscreen. It will help keep your lips from getting burned. It will also prevent the dryness and peeling of the lips that can occur afterwards.
Avoid excessive use of commercial skin products
Many cracked lips are the result of negative reactions to ingredients in cosmetics and skin care products. Overusing some products can aggravate the very condition they are meant to alleviate.
No matter how tempting, don’t pick at dry, flaking lips. Choose a gentle exfoliating lip scrub to remove dead skin. The simplest lip scrub recipe is a spoonful of sugar and enough olive oil or coconut oil to make it soft and spreadable. You can use other oils such as almond oil or jojoba oil, or add a little cinnamon or vanilla to make it smell extra yummy. Rub the scrub gently over the lip area and rinse with clean water.