Has winter chapped your lips? Find out why. it. Happens and. What to. do. about. it.
When it. comes. to. Battling the. Elements, your skin serves as. Your front. Lineof defense. But it’s your lips that. really. Bear the. Brunt of. the. Attack fromsun, wind, cold, and. Dry air. It’s a wonder our mouths don’t suffer more. in. Theline of. Duty-we bundle up in. Extra layers during. the. Winter months, leaving ourlips exposed.
“Lips are mucous membranes, so. they. have. Very thin. surface layers of. Skin,”says Los Angeles dermatologist Jessica Wu, MD, a clinical instructor ofdermatology at the. University of. Southern California (USC) MedicalCenter. when. Compared to. the. Skin on the. Rest of. Your face, Wu says, lips arethe most. Vulnerable to. Drying out. in. Fact, research shows you lose up to. 10times more. Moisture through your lips than. You do. Elsewhere on the. Face orbody.
Arid winter air, arctic blasts of. Wind, and. the. Low humidity indoors alllead to. A crisis for. Your lips in. the. Form of. Dehydration. once. Moisture issapped from. Skin cells, they. Become fragile so. Your lips develop tiny. Splitsand cracks. These tiny. Tears are what make. Chapped lips so. Painful —. Heat,acidic food, even. Toothpaste can aggravate raw skin, Wu says.
Licking Your Lips: the. Problem
We can be. Our own worst. Enemy, says Scottsdale, Ariz., dermatologistJennifer Linder, MD, clinical instructor at the. University of. California SanFrancisco. the. Instinct to. Lick your lips makes the. Chapping worse, Lindersays.
“As saliva evaporates, it. Dehydrates skin further,”. Linder tells WebMD.Saliva also. contains. Acids that. help. break. down. Food. Those acids only. Causeirritation when. Sitting on compromised lip skin, Linder says.
Another mistake people make. in. the. Effort to. Treat chapped lips: scrubbing,peeling or. Biting off. Skin flakes. “Picking at the. already. thin. Skin of. Thelips can lead to. Bleeding and. Severe discomfort,”. Linder says. “This slows thehealing process and. Irritates the. Skin further.”
Worst case: You can develop an infection from. Dirt and. Bacteria entering thecracks and. Splits on your mouth. A common complication is cheilitis, Wu says,which can be. Related to. A yeast infection in. the. Corners of. the. Mouth. It’streatable with topical antifungal cream.
In addition, stressing or. Irritating the. Skin around. the. Mouth can awaken adormant herpes virus, and. Potentially trigger a cold sore, Wu says. Chappedlips also. Expose nerve endings, where. the. Herpes virus lives. This exposure canstimulate the. Virus as. Well.
Keep Balm and. Carry On
Your lips need a shield to. Stay in. Shape. A balm acts like a winterizinglayer —. Like a hat or. Scarf —. to. Provide a buffer between delicate skin andbrutal weather, Linder says. Not to. Mention you have. Hot, dry indoor air tocontend with, so. Never let your lips go. Nude.
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