Cracked lips or “chapped lips” is a condition whereby the lips become dry and may crack, which can be caused by rapid evaporation of moisture. Frequently, the lips become dry since the layer of oil that is naturally produced by the body to cover the lips is insufficient or missing. The reasons vary but the most common cause of chapped lips is because of cold weather.
Chapped lips often happen in winter when the air is dry and it absorbs moisture from your lips. Lips have a natural coat that keeps them moist during extreme weather. The coat is a very thin oily film that covers the lips and helps the lips retain moisture. But in some cases, the film is removed, sometimes because the individual licks their lips in an attempt to moisten them, which causes chapped lips.
Chronic chapped lips can be caused by nutritional deficits and dehydration, or increased exposure to sun or cold and windy weather conditions. The explanation for severe and chronic dry lips is that the skin of the lips has lost its ability to retain moisture. Consequently, our lips become easily chapped. Cracks further reduce the moisture retention capacity, resulting in a vicious cycle that can become chronic and increasingly serious.
Saliva evaporates quickly and digests the thin membrane that protects the lips, leaving lips drier prior to licking. And because the vulnerability from sunshine can make matters worse, you should use a lip balm containing sunscreen to protect lips from harmful rays. Medical care is required if symptoms persist. Your doctor may choose to prescribe antibiotics to treat extreme cases of chapped lips.
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