Chapped lips are the result of diminished moisture in the skin on and around the lips. In most cases, they are caused by the elements, although other factors, such as frequent licking of the lips or an allergic reaction, may be the cause. Chapped lips is a common condition and can be treated fairly simply.
Dry, cracked, painful chapped lips may result in a red ring around the mouth. In the summer, the sun can be responsible, but the routine use of a lip balm containing sunscreen can help prevent it. In the winter, chapped lips are a more common problem, because the air is dry and the cold wind further dries the lips out. Many people unconsciously lick their lips to relieve the dryness, making the problem worse. Just as in the summertime, a moisturizing lip balm containing sunscreen and help the lips heal.
Petroleum jelly or beeswax based lip balm is effective in preventing chapped lips. In the event that chapping become a severe problem, such as with habitual licking, and the redness, cracking, and dryness become so painful that talking or chewing is difficult, individuals should use a medicated lip balm. People should avoid using flavored lip balm, as it can encourage more frequent licking of the lips, especially in children.
Frequent and regular application of lip balm often relieves chapped lips without further incident. Other ways to prevent this problem include increasing the humidity in the home and covering the lips with a ski mask or scarf in the winter. Frequent washing of the mouth followed by application of lip balm also helps alleviate the discomfort of dry lips. In some cases, a prescription lip balm may be required if the symptoms are not alleviated with regular treatment or if the condition becomes so severe that the skin begins to bleed.