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How to keep dry, chapped lips at bay

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th September 2010 03:00 AM

ARE you fed up of your lips because they are constantly dry, peeling and paining? You are not alone. Often, people suffer from dry lips that end up cracking, causing discomfort.

By Viqué-Ocean Kahinju
ARE you fed up of your lips because they are constantly dry, peeling and paining? You are not alone. Often, people suffer from dry lips that end up cracking, causing discomfort.

Dr. John Nsibambi, a dermatologist at Osler Clinic, Mengo, says chapped lips are a result of diminished moisture around the lips.

Generally, chapped lips are caused by frequent licking of the lips, allergy and Medication, especially if newly-taken. Chapped lips could be a result of change of seasons, with fluctuations in temperature and humidity.

Lips need to be moisturised regularly. “While the skin produces oils to protect it from low humidity and cold, the lips do not. This is what results in dryness,” explains Florence Ndiwalana, a beautician at Beauty Tips, Kampala.

Signs
Slight pain
Dry lips
Roughness and redness
Tenderness of the lips
Bleeding
Peeling
Sensitivity of the lips

Causes
Cosmetics: Lipstick contains a variety of chemicals that can wreak havoc on your lip’s natural oils.

Lip care products: A good lip balm should create moisture.
Flavouring agents: Although commonly overlooked, many people are allergic and/or sensitive to artificial and natural flavouring agents.

Juice: Citric acids in fruit juice can irritate the lips due to photo-toxic residue left behind on the corners of the mouth.

Vitamins: Too much Vitamin A and B12 can cause crusty and swollen lips. l Dehydration
Smoking: The natural oils on the lips tend to dry up every time you smoke.
Drugs: Some medications, especially acne treatment dry the lips.

Fungal infection
Sjogren’s syndrome: Inflammation of the glands that produce the saliva in the mouth, leading to dry mouth and lips
Exposure to cold, dry wind
Lack of vitamin A, B and C
Frequent use of flavoured soap
Iron deficiency (anaemia)
Excessive exposure to the sun without protection

Treatment
Routine use of lip balm containing sunscreen can prevent dry season chapped lips.

“The irritation of chapped lips often escalates from a small cosmetic issue into a persistent painful condition,” says Florence Williams, a beautician on Buganda Road.

Petroleum jelly or beeswax-based lip balm prevents chapped lips.
Use medicated lip balm and avoid one that is flavoured as it encourages frequent licking of the lips.

Frequent washing of the mouth followed by application of lip balm alleviates discomfort.

Do's and don'ts
Eat a balanced diet. Chapped lips could indicate a nutritional deficiency.
Antiseptic lip balm keeps germs and bacteria away.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol. They dehydrate tissue.
Avoid lip balm with camphor. It adds a cooling tingling sensation which may bring temporary relief, but irritate already sensitive lips.

Treat chaffed, chapped and scaling lips overnight with a homemade ointment mixed from one teaspoon of glycerin, one teaspoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of castor oil.

Spread on the lips overnight and refrigerate the leftover. But like any chronic condition, you must first identify the cause so you can smartly plan your remedy.

How to keep dry, chapped lips at bay

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