With all of this cold weather, our wonderful, helpful lips are likely to become chapped more frequently. But why do our lips get chapped? Should we use lip moisturizers or does licking our lips help when they’re chapped?
Why do our lips get chapped?
If you recall from the last post, our lips have a thinner stratum corneum layer in its composition of skin. This layer is usually hydrated by a gland called the sebaceous gland, which is located in the dermis of the skin. This gland is missing in our lips though! This means our lips rely on external sources of hydration, like our saliva or lip balm/chap. This also means that our lips tend to dry faster, or get chapped more frequently, than the rest of our skin.
Harsh weather, dehydration or like in vitamins can cause chapped lips! I’d hate to sound like your mom but, if it’s the latter two that’s the problem, drinking 8 glasses of water and eating fruits and vegetables will give your lips the attention they need. If the dry, cold wind is the reason why your lips are chapped, then you’ll need to moisturize your lips!
Lip Moisturizers or Saliva?
Sounds gross, but many people lick their lips as if saliva was our body’s natural lip moisturizer. But natural doesn’t always mean it’s a good thing ― does saliva actually help our poor, chapped lips?
Unfortunately, all you avid lip-lickers are going to need to stop if you want your lips to get better. Saliva contains enzymes, proteins that help carry out biological processes, which irritate your lips. Not to mention that, while saliva provides temporary relief to your lips, it actually dries your lips more because it causes evaporation of any moisture on your lips.
Looks like lip moisturizers are the way to go, but which ones are better? Find out in next week’s post on Lip Moisturizers.
Gallo, L. 2013. What are the causes of chapped lips? eHow.com. <http://www.ehow.com/about_5112232_causes-chapped-lips.html> February 13, 2013.
Whitmore, Elizabeth. 2009. How are lips different from other skin areas? HowStuffWorks.com. <http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/lip-care/health/lips-different-skin.htm> February 06,2013.