Why Do Your Lips Get Chapped?

Guys, do your lips always get chapped? Yeah…
that might be your fault. Hey everyone! Lissette here for DNews. Chapped
lips are terrible. It’s that uncomfortable dry sensation on your lips, flaky or cracking
skin, and in some of the worst cases, bleeding. They’re more common in certain seasons or
climates. But what causes your lips to chap in the first place? To start, the skin on your lips is much more
sensitive than the rest of the skin on your body. Your lip structure is just different.
While it is made up of the epidermis and dermis like the rest of your skin, the outermost
layer of the epidermis– the stratum corneum– is much thinner on our lips. So thin, that
it allows more visibility into our blood vessels – giving our lips that reddish color. What’s
more, lips don’t have sweat glands to provide moisture or hair to provide protection from
the sun. This helps explain why lips get more chapped
in the cold winter months or after catching some rays on a hot sandy beach. The excess
wind, lack of moisture in the air, and UV rays can cause your lips to lose moisture,
burn – and they end up being chapped. Yeah, chapped lips can just be a sunburn…on your
lips. But it isn’t always the weather’s fault. Sometimes you end up doing it to yourself. Have you ever woken up with super dry lips,
especially when you’re congested? Well, this could be because you were breathing through
your mouth, removing the moisture from your lips! And perhaps even worse, is the act of
licking your lips excessively. It may sound counterintuitive, but as the saliva evaporates
from your lips, it sucks away heat and moisture, leaving your lips potentially drier than before
you licked them. Many products we use and foods we eat can
also be the culprits. These range from irritating cosmetics, to toothpastes, medications, figs,
food colorings, and, wait for it… even lip balm. While some lip balms may be helpful,
others can make chapped lips worse. I know, this one really got me too. But, the problem
is ingredients in some lip balms… Like propyl gallate, or phenyl salicylate, can be skin
irritants, and another, salicylic acid, helps skin slough off more easily! One super common
lip balm ingredient that you may love is Menthol – it tastes and smells delicious but it’s
also an alcohol and can dry out your lips. So what can you do restore moisture to your
dry, chapped lips? Staying hydrated, breathing through your nose, and using a humidifier
during dry months helps, not to mention avoiding licking your lips, staying away from harmful
products, and reducing sun and wind exposure. But if you’ve just gotta get your lip balm
fix, the Mayo Clinic says to try some good ol petroleum jelly. But, the trick here, and
with anything you use for your chapped lips, is to make sure that it works for you. We
all have different allergies, sensitivities, and reactions to different products. So, what
may work for your pout, may not work for someone else’s. This is a pretty common problem for people
in the winter, but different seasons will affect our bodies in surprising ways! For
example, did you know winter can alter your genetics? Julia has the scoop in this video.
Guys, do you have any
science questions? What should we look into next? Tell us in the comments, subscribe for
more DNews and thanks for watching!

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