Most of the time the lips are dry due to causes related to the environment or to habits that are harmful. However, dry and chapped lips can also be caused by slightly more complex health problems.
The reasons why the lips dry out are very varied and most of them have to do with external factors that affect this area of the face. Only rarely is this dryness related to more serious health problems.
When the lips are dry there is a fundamentally aesthetic effect. For most, lips are more attractive if they are moisturized and keep their color alive. If they look cracked, they acquire an aged appearance that is less attractive.
In general, this problem can be solved with simple home care measures. However, in a few cases the situation can get complicated and cause pain, and even bleeding. Therefore, if the lips are dry, it is best to pay attention to them and apply the appropriate measures to correct it.
Most people, men and women, experience dry lips at some point in their life. Beyond aesthetics, the important thing is to specify the cause of this situation and prevent it from causing additional discomfort or unnecessary complications.
The lips become dry because there is a loss of natural oils and lipids in the outer layer of this area. This leads to a lack of hydration that causes chapping of the lips. If they become too deep, more serious problems such as fungus or sores could appear.
Main causes of dry lips
The most common is that the lips become dry due to the action of external or environmental factors. In such cases, it is enough to avoid the agent or the generating stimulus for the problem to be solved. The main factors by which the lips are dry are the following:
- Low temperatures. During winter, or when it is very cold, it is common for lips to become dry. It is because they lack sebaceous glands and therefore do not produce natural protective oils. For the same reason, they get irritated and split.
- UV rays. When we expose ourselves to the sun without adequate protection, our lips can become dry, injured or burned. The lips are sensitive to ultraviolet rays.
- Licking your lips frequently. Sometimes the lips are slightly dry and cause a slight feeling of discomfort. To alleviate it, some people suck on them; however, this only increases dryness, due to the action of a substance called lysozyme, which is present in saliva.
- Breathe through the mouth. When you breathe through your mouth, dry mouth often occurs and this, in turn, causes dry lips.
- Tobacco use. Tobacco can irritate and dry the lips. as can chewing gum and other products such as foods that are too sweet, coffee, or very salty or spicy foods.
- Some medications. One of the side effects of some medications is dry lips.
Other causes of dry lips
Sometimes the lips are dry for reasons that require more attention. Sometimes they are temporary states that carry a certain risk; on other occasions, it has to do with pathologies that cause this effect. Let’s see:
- Dehydration. Dry lips, especially if accompanied by dry eyes and mouth, are signs of dehydration. It can be of several levels and the most severe are dangerous for health, and even for life.
- An allergic reaction. Some foods or cosmetic products.
- make the lips swollen, irritated and cracked. The allergic reaction can also occur against some element of the environment.
- Yeast infection. When dry lips are accompanied by cracking at the corners, it is most likely a yeast infection. It is best to hydrate yourself sufficiently and avoid licking or biting your lips.
- Lack of vitamins. Lack of vitamin B2 affects fat metabolism and unbalances the level of amino acids in the blood. Inflamed and chapped lips can be a sign of a lack of this vitamin.
- Too much vitamin A. Dry lips can also be a sign of excess vitamin A. Many times, this occurs because too many dietary supplements are taken. If there is a lot of vitamin A, both the lips and the skin look chapped.
- Underlying diseases. Some diseases cause dry lips, especially diabetes and autoimmune diseases.
Most of the time, the lips are dry due to environmental factors. However, sometimes they can be the symptom of underlying diseases, allergic reactions or the use of certain medications. If the symptom persists or if it is accompanied by other clinical manifestations, it is important to consult a doctor.