This week’s question is about dry lips.
Dry cracked lips can be very frustrating and painful. Here is a list of helpful treatments to hydrate your lips.
1) Avoid licking your lips. The saliva from your tongue will make your lips feel temporarily better by adding moisture but it quickly evaporates leaving your lips even more dry. Salvia is packed with digestive enzymes, which is great in regards to starting food digestion, bad in regards to irritating dry lips. So try your best to avoid licking your lips.
2) Keep your lips moist with lip balm. Not all chap sticks are created equal. Avoid any petroleum vaseline products, since they are a cheap product that are rarely checked for contaminants and contain carcinogenic ingredients. Products, like Burt’s Bees, that contain beeswax are a good choice. I prefer using coconut oil. Yep, the coconut oil that you cook with and can purchase at the grocery store.
3) Be cautious in the sun. The sun can dry out your lips and skin. Make sure to cover the lips with a non toxic sunscreen or lip balm that contains SPF.
4) Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Most people do not consume an adequate amount of water throughout the day. You can add fruit to your water or chill herbal tea if you want to spice up your water and limit your amount of caffeine or alcohol, since they can increase dehydration.
5) Use a humidifier. A humidifier adds moisture to the air. A lot people sleep with their mouth open, leaving them with super dry lips in the morning. Keep on running at night and make sure to clean it regularly.
Steroids or antibiotics are sometimes used to prevent infections in severe cases. This may be needed for acute treatment, but long term use of steroids and antibiotics carry side effects. Long term steroid use can cause osteoporosis, adrenal insufficiency, skin atrophy, and many more.
Dry, cracked lips could be a sign of a vitamin deficiency. A decrease in the one or more of the eight forms of B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12) could contribute to your dry lips. You can get B vitamins in your diet or through supplementation.
Although these simple changes can make huge improvements with dry lips, it is important to realize that everyone is an individual and the cause might be deeper. To further investigate what might be causing your dry lips make an appointment at The Center for Integrative Wellness.