Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bath Essentials- Love Your Lips Week!

lips.jpg lips picture by MN1CH0LE7

Cracked, dry or sore lips are both unsightly and painful. They can be caused by a variety of conditions, and can also be symptoms of more serious illnesses. Lips are skin, similar in many respects to the skin on the rest of your body, but unlike much of your skin the lips do not produce natural oils to protect them.If you suffer from dry or cracked lips this guide will help you to understand the problem.

1.  It is usually pretty easy to know if your lips are dry or cracked. However, other symptoms similar to cracked lips can often be mistaken for this condition. Dry lips are indicated by the following symptoms:

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  • Frequent lip licking..
  • Peeling of the lips (flaky skin).
  • Cracks or bleeding from the sides of the mouth.
  • Sensitive lips that appear otherwise healthy
  • Painful lips.
  • Open sores, marks or similar symptoms.  


  1. Identify the cause of your condition. Unless you are a doctor you should not try to professionally diagnose your dry lip problem. That said there are many causes of cracked and dry lips that you can eliminate when trying to find the cause of your symptom. These include:
    • Climate change. Extremes in weather can cause your lips to dry out (cold weather) or become dehydrated (hot weather).
    • Sun damage. Just as the rest of your skin can be damaged by the sun, so can your lips. Yes, you can have tanned lips, and they hurt!
    • Wind exposure. Leaving your lips unprotected in a strong wind can cause skin damage.
    • Dehydration. Probably the leading cause of most dry or cracked lips is simple dehydration. If the body does not have enough water the extremities, including the lips, will show that lack first.
    • Smoking or chewing. Anything you regularly put in contact with your lips can affect their condition.
    • Vitamin deficiencies. Certain vitamins are critical to maintaining healthy skin and lips. These include:
      • Vitamin A
      • Vitamin B
      • Vitamin C
      • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin deficiency)
    • Allergic reactions. Many cracked and dry lips are the result of negative reactions to cosmetics and skin care products. As is so often the case, over use of commercial products can aggravate the very condition they are supposedly designed to cure.
    • Ill-fitting dentures. Badly placed dentures can also cause lip cracks.
    • Spicy food causes dry lips in some people.
    • Side effects. Certain medications have dry or cracked lips as a side effect. If your condition coincides with beginning a new medication regimen, consult your doctor about this possibility.
    • Skin disorder. Any history of a skin disorder of any kind can be related to dry or cracked lips.

3. Consider more serious conditions. If none of the above seems to be the cause of your painful lips consider that cracked, dry lips can also be a symptom of far more serious problems. If you suspect that your lip pain originates with a seemingly unrelated ailment, including anything form the list below, consult a doctor.

  • Diabetes. If you have diabetes or a history of the condition in your family this may be a cause of your lip pain. Symptoms associated with diabetes include:
    • Frequent urination.
    • Excessive thirst
    • Fatigue.
  • Kawasaki Disease. A serious blood disorder that is a frequent cause of chronic dry lips.
  • Sjogren's Syndrome. A kind of autoimmune disease which can damage the tear ducts and similar glands is also a common cause of seriously cracked lips.
  • Macrocytosis. A blood condition where the average red blood cell size is increased to dangerous levels.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and other diseases can be an underlying cause of chronic cracked lips.

4. Select a treatment
  • Immediately consult a doctor if you suspect your cracked lips are a symptom of a more serious condition. Your doctor may well refer you to a dermatologist
  • Do not lick your lips. Licking your lips makes them feel better, but when the saliva evaporates the pain can increase.
  • Combat dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Apply glossy lipstick.
  • Apply unflavored lip balm.
  • Apply petroleum jelly.
  • Apply aloe vera.
  • Apply Vitamin E ointment.
  • Protect your lips from the sun as you would the rest of your skin.
  • Use a humidifier in your home or office.
  • Rub a cucumber slice on your lips.
  • Avoid excessive use of commercial skin treatments including cosmetics and heavily flavored lip balms.
  • Consider your diet. Increase the amount of needed vitamins in your diet by eating better or by taking vitamin pills.


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