This Is When To Be Worried About Chapped Lips

You might apply lip balm to your dry, chapped lips to keep them soft and smooth. Having chapped lips on occasion isn't a cause for concern, but if it's chronic or doesn't get better with lip balm, you may want to look into what is causing it. Getting dry, chapped lips is easy because your lips aren't like the rest of your body. If you've been out in the sun or you're dehydrated, your lips are the first to show it because they are delicate and sensitive. A thin membrane covers your lips, rather than skin, according to Kaplan MD Skincare.

Healthline explains that because there are no oil glands in the membrane that covers your lips, they are more likely to become cracked and dry. Sun exposure in the summer and dry conditions in the winter can worsen your dry, chapped lips. Even some skin creams can cause dry lips. What should you do if you're experiencing this irritating dryness?

How to treat chapped lips

Treating your chapped lips can be as simple as using lip balm regularly. The American Academy of Dermatology Association states that your lip balm should be SPF 30 or higher. Otherwise, it should contain zinc oxide or titanium oxide to protect your lips from the sun. Licking your lips will also cause them to dry out. If you catch yourself licking your lips, apply some soothing lip balm instead. If you can break the habit, your lips won't be forever chapped. 

Since dehydration can also cause chapped lips, it's important to make sure you're drinking enough water. Per WebMD, women need about 9 cups of water per day, while men need 13 cups. Pregnant or breastfeeding moms need between 10-12 cups of water a day. 

If, after these treatments, your chapped lips still won't go away, you might have a serious medical condition. Actinic cheilitis is a chronic sunburn that can lead to skin cancer if left untreated (via Kaplan MD Skincare). Because it's a precancerous condition, it's critical to see a dermatologist for a prescription lip cream or laser treatment. In the meantime, wear SPF lip balm to protect your lips from further sun damage.