The Unexpected Side Effect Of Going Overboard On Hot Coffee

Of the many side effects you can experience after having one too many cups of coffee — a racing heart, jitters, anxiety (via Verywell Health) — there's one side effect that probably never crossed your mind: chapped lips (per Well+Good). This may sound contradictory, considering the fact that most of us associate dry lips with cold temperatures. With this logic, how is it that downing too many piping hot lattes can leave us with parched, flaky lips?

Let's take a closer look at the skin on our lips. Unlike the thicker layers of skin covering the rest of our body, the skin on our lips is much thinner, according to Well+Good. This mucosal layer of skin serves to retain moisture. If you're sipping on one hot coffee after another, however, this can cause the protective natural fats on your lips' surface to break down, leading to chapped lips. Not only that, but should you burn yourself on that morning cup of brew, you can further damage that protective layer. This ultimately leaves us susceptible to additional water loss. While consumption of cold beverages can produce the same drying effect, hot beverages will do so more quickly. 

How coffee drinkers can prevent dry lips

Coffee is dehydrating in and of itself. According to Bustle, overdoing the caffeine can cause our skin to dry out from dehydration — our lips included. "Pay attention to your lips," gastroenterologist Dr. Will Bulsiewicz told Mindbodygreen. "If I notice my lips starting to get dry, that tells me I'm pushing the coffee more than I should."

But don't panic just yet, coffee lovers! No need to break up with coffee altogether. If you're struggling with dry lips, experts suggest that rather than running on a steady stream of hot java all day every day, just be mindful to consume these beverages in moderation (via Well+Good).

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Tracy Evans tells Well+Good how hot coffee fans can safeguard against chapped lips. "You have to be cautious if you're drinking a few [hot drinks] every day," Dr. Evans told the publication. "You also want to always apply something that's a protector and be conscious of not overdoing it." Specifically, Dr. Evans suggests protective lip products made with mineral oil, petroleum, or moringa oil. In addition, Mindbodygreen says that a little gentle exfoliating of the lips can go a long way towards keeping ourselves flake-free. Last but not least, don't forget to drink plenty of water to keep both yourself — and your lips — hydrated throughout the day.