The lip skin is not hairy and does not have oil or sweat glands. Therefore, it does not have the usual protection layer of sweat and body oils which keep the skin smooth, inhibit pathogens, and regulate warmth. For these reasons, the lips dry out faster and become chapped more easily.
When you are dealing with chapped lips a whole range of factors can contribute to the problem. These include;
- Weather - dry air drains moisture from the skin which is why your lips feel drier in the winter months or at a dry place like New Mexico!
- Licking your lips - This is a major problem with a lot of people. Licking can give you a quick moisturization effect but as saliva evaporates, it pulls the moisture out of the lips and you are back to where you started from.
- Lipsticks and lip balms that have a drying effect on lips - These include products that contain pigments or fragrances that act as an allergen and can cause lips to become dry, red and chapped. Also keep in mind that as soon as you use a lip balm the immediate moisturizing effect sends a signal to your skin to stop producing fresh skin cells which results in drier lips once the lip balm wears off. The whole thing could actually lead to a psychological addiction.
- Sun damage - Prolonged exposure to sun is a major cause of dry lips and can occur even when you’re not in bright sunlight. That means that during the day applying and reapplying a well-formulated emollient lip balm, lip gloss, or lipstick with sunscreen is vital.
- Medication - Drugs like antidepressants, analgesics, antihistamines & chemotherapies can cause dry mouth and chapped lips.
One of the most important remedies for chapped lips is to drink up. Water can fight dehydration. Another temporary remedy is the use of dehumidifiers indoors when you live in dry and cold climates.
The best thing you can do if you have dry lips, even if you have very chapped lips, is to gently exfoliate the dry and dead cells. BOA exfoliant is great for this as it is a gentle exfoliant and can take off the dried cells without further damaging your lips. The next key step is to keep your lips covered with a rich, long-lasting, non-waxy, emollient lip balm. The balm must include a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Sun protection is just as vital to prevent signs of premature ageing of the skin on your lips as it is to prevent premature signs of ageing of the skin on your face.