Chapped lips are a common problem regardless of sex and age. Men and women, young and old, encounter instances of cracked skin on the lips due to cold or dry weather, too much exposure to sunlight, dehydration, or the frequent licking of the lips. Also known as cheilitis, this condition is usually not severe and can be treated with home remedies.
The skin on the lips is naturally thinner than in other parts of the body. Also, there are no sebaceous glands on the lips. This thinness and lack of built-in lubrication make the lips prone to chapping. Wetting the lips by licking them does not make for good lubrication. Saliva only makes dry lips dryer because of the rate it evaporates. The enzymes in saliva may also irritate the lips, especially when it is already chapped.
Chapped lips are usually not painful. However, they can be uncomfortable and unsightly. The most severe cases tend to be sore and may sting when exposed to certain stimuli such as acidic, spicy, salty, and hot food and drinks. The good news is that effective home remedies can address this condition.
Sometimes, the problem with chapped lips could be dehydration. When a person does not have enough water in the body, the lips become dry and are predisposed to chapping. With the erratic weather and climate conditions worldwide, it is advisable never to presume anything as usual. What feels like an ordinary sunny day may be hotter, causing you to sweat excessively and lose a lot of water.
Drying in the mouth and lips is one of the primary symptoms of dehydration. Other symptoms include lightheadedness, fatigue, strong-smelling urine, and seemingly unquenchable thirst. The best solution for this is to cool down and drink water. However, be careful in drinking too much water as it can lead to water intoxication or hyponatremia.
Drinking excessive amounts of water can lead to the dilution of the blood and the dangerous lowering of sodium levels in the body. This condition is potentially life-threatening.
Hydrate safely by consuming water or beverages with added electrolytes. Sports drinks can be a good option, but be sure to avoid those that contain so much sugar and calories in them. Also, avoid staying under the heat of the sun or find ways to avoid perspiring too much.