• January 11, 2022
treating chapped lips

Just like oral health needs some special seasonal attention, winter weather may be causing your lips to feel dry and chapped. In addition to dental tips for winter, here are some things you can do to for prevention and treating chapped lips.

Prevention

Stop the skin on your lips from drying out by adopting a few habits when the weather is cold.

  • Hydrate: Drinking lots of water is good for your oral health and skin. Be mindful of your water intake throughout the day to flush sugars from your mouth and to help keep skin from drying out. If your lips are moisturized from the inside, you’re less likely to lick them because they feel dry, which actually worsens the problem because as saliva evaporates, the skin on your lips becomes drier.
  • Humidity: If the air in your home or workplace is dry, your lips can suffer. In the winter, try to maintain a humidity level of 30-40% with the use of a room or furnace humidifier. A consistent humidity level is especially helpful when you’re sleeping and your mouth may fall open.
  • Sun Protection: Even in the winter, your are still exposing your lips to the sun when you’re outside. Apply a lip balm with at least SPF 30 protection to prevent undo exposure. The balm also provides a protective barrier against cold winds.

Treating Chapped Lips

If the skin on your lips is flaking or dry, there are steps you can take to keep the problem from advancing.

  • Lip Balm: Not all lip moisturizers are created equal. If the ingredients in the lip balm sting or tingle when applied, they may be worsening the problem, Ingredients like eucalyptus, menthol and camphor can feel like they are soothing when applied, but they can dry the skin on your lips and make you want to reapply more often. Look for lip balms with beeswax, ceramides, glycerin and lanolin in their ingredient lists.
  • Exfoliate: Remove dry, flaking skin from your lips with a commercially available or DIY lip scrub. You can also use a dry toothbrush to gently brush dead skin from your lips (be sure to reserve the brush only for this purpose). Be careful not to scrub to hard or damage the healthy skin.
  • Overnight Treatment: For deep hydration, check out overnight lip repair products for use while you sleep.  

Healthy lips are part of a beautiful smile. Just like you keep your teeth healthy, good daily habits can for your lips should be part of your overall oral health routine. When you brush your teeth in the mornings and evenings, take a moment to assess the skin on your lips to see if it needs special attention.

Your dentist will assess your lips as part of your bi-annual check-ups. If you’re looking for teeth cleaning near Joliet, make an appointment now at Shorewood Family Dental Care. You can do it online or by calling 815-725-5991.