Contributor: ……, Reviewed by Dr. Justin Harper, MD
Lips are made of soft, delicate skin. It should be a no-brainer that we treat them like they are VIP or in this case, VIL — Very Important Lips.
Since our lips are made of this fine, soft texture, it’s extremely easy for them to crack and split under certain conditions — yikes!
But, what really causes these beautiful pouts to crack and split? What can we do to help them? These are total must-knows to keep your lips looking soft and healthy!
#1 – Sun Damage
Okay, so the sun can be our best and worst enemy all-in-one — a total heartbreaker if you ask me. Sun damage is at the root of a lot of skin issues, but the good thing is, they are treatable.
If we’re sticklers on protecting our skin with SPF, why wouldn’t we be for our pouts? Rhetorical question of course — we should all be protecting our lips from harmful sun exposure! The sun’s powerful UV rays can lead to red and inflamed lips. Long-term sun exposure can cause the lips to become stiff, dry, and flakey, which can cause them to crack and split — no thanks!
Pro tip: Be sure you are wearing a chapstick that has SPF in it and applying it every two hours while exposed to the sun.
#2 – Dehydration
You’ve heard this before: “Make sure you stay hydrated and drink your water.” However, if we’re telling you to keep hydrated for your body, why wouldn’t we want you to hydrate your lips, too?
Dehydration is when the body is lacking in the essential fluids it needs to function. This can become a serious medical problem if it goes untreated. While illnesses can severely dehydrate you, there’s also a serious risk of becoming harmfully dehydrated if you simply aren’t consuming enough fluids. This causes your lips to crack at the corners, become dry, and bleed.
Pro tip: Stay hydrated and drink your two liters of water a day! Dry skin and lips are a summer no-go.
#3 – Smoking
Smokers can end up with deep wrinkles around their mouth for a number of reasons, one being the pucker formation they get into each time they light up and puff on a cigarette. Creating these deep-seated lines around the lips is just one of the many problems smoking causes for our body and skin.
Smoking reduces blood flow to the skin which creates a pale complexion, while drying out and chapping our lips. If that wasn’t bad enough, tobacco use also stains our skin and teeth with every puff we take — definitely not the nicest thing!
Pro tip: Quit smoking!
#4 – Chapped Lips
This one is as old as time — the case of chapped lips at it again. Chapped lips, most commonly described as “dry lips,” can be a result of the weather, licking of the lips, and even certain medications one might be taking.
Chapped lips are the most common form of damage to the lips, and it should be taken care of before it develops into a more serious problem. Watch out for dry air and licking your lips to keep them wet so you don’t have to get up from bingeing your favorite shows to go get a glass of water. These behaviors can cause your lips to crack, flake and peel — we don’t want any part of that!
Pro tip: Avoid licking your lips.
#5 – Allergies
Allergies show up just in time to ruin any party. Your lips can develop an allergic reaction from a lipstick, toothpaste, moisturizers —you name it!
Symptoms of an allergic reaction include severe dryness, irritation and itching, or an acute rash on the lips. You could be having an allergic reaction and not even notice!
Pro tip: If you’re going to try a new shade of lipstick or a new brand of toothpaste, be sure you are checking for other changes other than how to color matches your top lip or how the toothpaste smells like spearmint.
#6 – Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency
You know when you were growing up and mom always harped on you to chew your gummy vitamins? Well, here’s why.
Vitamin B includes thiamine, niacin, biotin, folic acid, and riboflavin, and it’s a vitamin we need to help provide energy, boost metabolism, and aid our body in fighting off diseases. Since Vitamin B does it all, it’s no surprise that it also contributes to healthy skin — you go, Vitamin B!
A Vitamin B deficiency can cause a variety of skin problems for your mouth, such as split, dry, and even rashy lips. Just one gummy vitamin a day can fight all this? Thanks, Mom!
Pro tip: Intake adequate Vitamin B food types