Beauty

7 Reasons Your Lips Are Chapped—and How to Heal Them

Unless you know why your lips keeps getting dry and cracked, you’ll be a slave to lip balm all winter long. We asked two board certified dermatologists about what causes chapped lips and how you can keep your pout soft, smooth, and happy.

You have a sunburn

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Your lips, as you may be aware, are extremely sensitive, largely because the skin covering them is very thin. “Because they are so thin, they are more prone to sun damage, and you can even get skin cancers in this area as well,” says Jill Waibel, MD, owner of the Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute. Make sure to use lip balm with SPF anytime you will be outside, and if your dry and chapped lips don’t clear up, make an appointment with your dermatologist. Sun damage can cause a pre-cancerous condition known as actinic cheilitis. Once diagnosed, your doctor may pursue treatment options like cryotherapy, medical photodynamic therapy, or topical chemotherapeutic creams. Check out these lip balm hacks you’ll wish you knew all along.

You have an undiagnosed allergy

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If your lips are always dry but you can’t quite nail down the cause, take a look at the products on your vanity. According to Dr. Waibel, an allergy could be the root cause of chapped lips. “Allergic Contact Dermatitis is a very common diagnosis for dryness in your lips,” she explained. “You can have become allergic to either your toothpaste, mouthwash, or something in your lipstick—coloring for example.” Take breaks from products for two weeks at a time to see if your lips begin to heal. If they don’t, Dr. Waibel suggests checking in with your dermatologist to talk about treatment. Your doctor may suggest a patch test to help you figure out exactly what you are allergic to so you can avoid that ingredient in other products. Additionally, until your lips are back to normal, a topical steroid might be prescribed to help with the dryness, redness, and inflammation

You have chronic dry lips

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Sometimes the simplest explanation is the best explanation. In some cases, if your lips are always dry, it’s because you have chronic dry lips. “This can be very common in patients with a history of dry skin conditions, for example, psoriasis or eczema,” says Dr. Waibel. Treatment may involve applying an ointment like Aquaphor to the area twice a day and/or to apply Dr. Dan’s Lip Balm, which contains hydrocortisone, and which can help dramatically with dryness. Avoid these common mistakes that cause you to have dry lips.

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