Dry and chapped lips can cause problems for many people, especially in the winter. Even those who aren’t used to having dry skin normally can experience irritation and chapped lips due to harsher climates. During winter, the air is drier, and the weather is colder so experts like Dr. Shanthi Colaço of Skinstyle Dermatology, Los Angeles, CA, are here to provide their winter lip-care insight! Here are Dr. Colaço’s five W’s of chapped lips and her tips for how to keep your lips luscious and hydrated this winter:  

Who is affected by it? 

Although people who have drier skin are more likely to experience dry lips more often, chapped lips are common for many people. In the winter, most people, even those who usually have oily skin, are likely to experience some additional irritation and dryness in the lips. 

What is it? 

Inflammation of the lips. Common symptoms include dryness, redness, cracking, iching, and irritation of the lips. 

When can it occur? 

Chapped lips can occur at any time. However, in the winter chapped lips are much more prevalent due to the weather and dryness of the air. 

Where does it occur? 

Colder climates are more prone to drier skin and chapped lips. Any time you are in a place where the air is dry or the weather is cold, you’re at a higher risk for drying out your lips and skin. It also occurs commonly in people who enjoy winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, or even just playing in the snow! However, chapped lips can occur all year round and may also be caused by non-climate related factors. 

Why does it occur?

Chapped lips occur due to a variety of reasons. For example, dry weather, too much sun, dehydration, not moisturizing, dry air, irritating lip products, habitual lip licking, and more. In the winter, chapped lips occur more often because the weather and air are colder and drier. When the air is drier, it lacks the necessary moisture that your lips need to absorb in order to stay hydrated. This is why moisturizing in the winter is so important! 

How do you prevent and treat it?

The good news is, there are so many things you can do to prevent and treat chapped lips! For example, to prevent it, avoid dry air. You can do this by using a humidifier and reducing the use of indoor heat and space heaters which reduce air humidity. If you’re going outside in harsh weather, wear a face covering or scarf to prevent the dry air from hitting your face. 

Also, do not lick your lips — no matter how tempting it might be to add a little extra instant moisture! Licking your lips actually dries them out even faster. If you already have chapped lips, licking them will only make things worse. Instead, keep a balm handy in case you need to hydrate your lips throughout the day. When you pick a lip balm be sure to choose one that contains emollients (like petrolatum and dimethicone). These ingredients lock in moisture and seal off cracks in the lips. Try to avoid ingredients that may cause irritation like heavy fragrances, dyes/pigment, eucalyptus, or menthol. Throughout the day, be sure to apply your balm at least three times a day — after you wake up, before you go to bed, and a few times in between. Try to keep a travel-sized balm in your purse, pocket, or car to hydrate throughout the day! 

If you’re still struggling to find a solution that works for your chapped lips, see a dermatologist who can help you find a treatment that’s tailored to you this winter! 

To book an appointment at our practice, visit our practice website at www.skinstyledermatology.com to consult with Dr. Colaço and our amazing dermatology team in West Los Angeles.

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