Skin Care: Guide to CHAPPED LIPS

Chapped LIPS Guide

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Chapped Lips

Chapstick and Verse; A Guide To Chapped Lips

It’s officially winter when everyone complains about chapped lips. And while there is no question that cold weather and windy conditions play a big role in creating chapped lips, you may be surprised to learn that a bevy of medical conditions may actually be to blame. So before you simply open up a fresh Chapstick, take a closer look at why you have those chapped lips in the first place.

If you think cold weather chapping is a nuisance, be glad you’re not one of many who suffer from chelitis (aka chapped lips) year round. Numerous underlying medical conditions exist that may require investigation for anyone who finds themselves experiencing a never-ending battle.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Sure, every winter, chapped lips put in an appearance. Cold weather chapping is caused by environmental conditions that lead to dehydration. When lips are too dry from dehydration, the painful cracking and peeling begin.

The first brisk day should act as the perfect reminder that reasonable, consistent use of a protective balm can protect your lips from drying out in the first place. Protective waxes can help protect lips that have not yet broken down. Your Chapstick is something you apply before you’ve got problems. After all, think about it. Just how much moisture does a tube of wax give your lips? The answer is, very little. If you enter into the winter with healthy lips, then a wax-based balm like English Ideas Grapefruit SPF 18 Lip Balm can be protective. But so can a moisture rich lipstick or lip balm that’s applied several times daily. These are also great at acting as physical blocking agents to the sun year round.

Once your lips are dried out, what you really need are emollients to rehydrate the parched areas. Simple emollients such as Vaseline in pocketsize tubes, Aquaphor Healing Ointment, or English Ideas Lip Solution Hydrating Lip Gel especially combined with night time use of English Ideas Lip Refine AHA Exfoliating Cream need to be applied obsessively to the lips. And I do mean obsessively. The more frequent the application of the emollient, the faster your results.

For those patients with resistant cases of dehydrated lips, my preference is to include a prescription for 2 ½ % hydrocortisone ointment which may be applied as much as 3-4 times a day if needed. It’s amazing how a low potency steroid ointment can make such a difference in the regimen. Use of higher potency topical steroid ointments may occasionally be used in extreme cases but certainly for no more than a week or two. This also works wonders for Accutane patients year round. The steroid ointment doesn’t have a good taste, but it shouldn’t harm you should you taste some of it. Common sense tells us, however, that trying to consume large quantities of hydrocortisone 2 ½ % ointment isn’t appropriate. And I need to stress that this is for short-term fixes and not meant as continuous treatment.

Chapped Lips 2 (continued)


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