Prepare for that Mistletoe Kiss! Preventing and Treating Chapped Lips

December 1, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — budadental @ 6:31 pm

With cold weather comes a familiar problem: dry, sore, and sometimes cracked chapped lips. Get prepared for that kiss under the mistletoe with these helpful tips!

Most people worry more about treating chapped lips than preventing the damage beforehand. Summer or winter, the more time you spend outdoors, the more likely your lips are to suffer from the combination of sun and wind. Not only does it burn and chap your lips, but long-term sun exposure, especially on your lower lip, increases your risk of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).

Chapped Lips Prevention

The best prevention is to maintain sun protection by consistently applying a lip balm with a minimum of SPF 15 to prevent pre-cancerous changes to the skin. But when you choose your protective balm, take a look at the ingredients first. We see many patients who have had a bad reaction to the lip balm itself, resulting in lined, corrugated, cracked, or inflamed lips. Most of those are from cooling agents, so it’s smart to stay away from balms containing menthol, phenol, or camphor altogether.

Realize also that by the time you finish a lip balm, you have absorbed it entirely into your body. We recommend that you choose only those filled with natural oils and waxes, such as beeswax, organic olive oil, organic palm oil, and evening primrose oil. Avoiding preservatives and unnecessary chemicals may mean that the balm will have a shorter shelf life, but it’s much healthier for you overall.

In addition, avoid licking or chewing your lips due to stress. All the benefits that saliva brings to your mouth don’t extend to your lips. If you are licking or chewing due to stress, it is better to work it out with exercise or meditation. Checking your prescribed medications for side effects is also a way to prevent those sore and cracked lips. Many medications cause lips to dry and chap, so if you suspect your prescriptions are the culprit, consult your physician and ask for an alternative.

A Warning Sign

Lastly, chapped lips can be a symptom of several diseases, from diabetes to autoimmune diseases like Kawasaki Disease and Sjogrens Syndrome. If you have lip ailment that persists for more than a few weeks, visit your physician or dentist to have it examined. They can help determine how serious the problem is and provide recommendations for the best way to treat it.

Cheers to healthy, soft lips this holiday season!

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