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The 4 surprising reasons your lips are always chapped – it’s not always the weather

THE winter months can wreak havoc on your poor lips, leaving them sore, red and in some cases crusty.

Having chapped lips can be extremely painful and often unsightly.

If you've got constantly cracked, chapped lips it could be a sign you have an iron deficiency
If you’ve got constantly cracked, chapped lips it could be a sign you have an underlying health issue

Usually, dry lips are indication of dehydration or exposure to weather such as wind and sun and low humidity. 

However, the changing seasons can’t always be blamed for cracked, chapped lips.

Lisa Borg, skin specialist and nutritionist at the Pulse Light Clinc says dry lips can also be a sign of underlying health issues.

1. Reaction to medications

“Your skin could dry out when it’s allergic to certain medicines,” Lisa says.

“Where appropriate, speak with your doctor about medications that were introduced around the same time that dry lips developed because there may be alternatives,” she adds.

2. Yeast infections

Yeast infections, including oral thrush, can also cause dry or chapped lips, she said.

When this happens your lips can turn white and the corners appear red and cracked, the NHS website explains.

3. Auto-immune diseases

There are also more serious causes of dry, chapped lips, Lisa warns.

“Several major autoimmune diseases including Sjögren’s syndrome can cause dry lips,” she says.

“In Sjögren’s the immune system attacks the fluid producing glands causing dryness,” she adds.

 4. Actinic cheilitis 

Another more serious cause, could be a precancerous condition that is caused by long-term exposure to the sun.

“Actinic cheilitis happens when there is damage to the epithelial cells of the lips brought about by prolonged exposure to the UV rays in sunlight, particularly UVB,” Lisa explains.

“Exposure to these rays can also increase the risk of skin cancer.”

How can you prevent dry lips?

The best medicine for dry lips is plenty of fluid intake spaced throughout the day, and preferably quality water as opposed to dehydrating coffee and fizzy drinks, Lisa says.

“It is good to keep some fresh water by the bedside too,” she adds.

“Foods that stimulate saliva production include apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, courgettes, watermelon, lemons, and crunchy fibrous vegetables like carrots and celery.

“Some herbs and spices, including cayenne, ginger, and fennel are also helpful.”

Lisa also suggests people avoid meals full of salty processed foods.

“Salty foods displace minerals that should be balanced to maintain fluid equilibrium in all cells,” she adds.

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