Chapped lips are a result of very dry
skin on the lips. Dry skin occurs when the moisture, or water,
content of the skin is decreased for any reason.
What is going on in the body?
The surface of the skin holds a certain amount of water. When the water content
decreases, the skin becomes dry, itchy, and uncomfortable. Some people have extremely
sensitive skin that is easily irritated. Since a person's lips are often
exposed to elements such as cold and moisture, the lips may become irritated before
other parts of the body do.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Some individuals have a genetic predisposition to dry skin. As
people age, their skin
tends to become drier. Dry air, resulting from winter's low humidity and the use
of indoor heat, can cause skin to dry out. Long, hot baths and showers can also
make skin dry.
Following are factors that increase a person's risk of chapped lips:
prolonged exposure to cold, dry weather
sunburn or windburn
a history of a skin disorder, such as eczema
a habit of licking the lips frequently
certain medications, such as those used to treat acne
allergic reactions to
cosmetics or skin care products