The real reason your lips are always chapped

Your lips have some of the softest and most delicate skin on your entire body, but no matter how much balm you use, they always seem to dry out and get chapped. This happens particularly during the winter months, thanks to the cold air biting at our faces, but can occur in the summertime too. So, why do our lips get so chapped all the time? And is there a reason to worry if they split, peel, or even bleed?

While you may worry about your lip balm, and whether there is a factor there that might be messing up your lips, there could be another reason your lips get so wrecked all the time.

Chapped lips can be a sign of dehydration

Cracked or chapped lips aren’t usually a cause for concern (via Healthline). They’re predominantly caused by the changing seasons, and mainly because our lips are more vulnerable to wind, rain, and sunshine (we don’t always apply sunscreen to our lips, but we probably should). Another compounding factor is that lips also don’t produce their own moisture, and they can split following any kind of mouth-based injury.

A very common cause of chapped lips is dehydration, which can be triggered by vomiting, diarrhea, or illness — or, very simply, if you don’t drink enough water. As dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman told Bustle, you should be aiming to knock back at least eight cups of water per day. Also, it’s a good idea to make sure whichever lip balm you choose contains hydrating ingredients like jojoba oil or shea butter, so it doesn’t work against you.

Vitamin deficiencies and allergies also cause chapped lips

Healthline also notes chapped lips can hint at a vitamin B deficiency, as the water-soluble vitamin plays a vital role in healthy skin, meaning a lack of it contributes to acne, dryness, rashes, and, yes, split lips. Likewise, a lack of zinc and iron can also lead to chapped lips, particularly around the corners of the mouth. However, frustratingly, if you’re taking too much vitamin A, it could also cause chapped lips. As dermatologist Dr. Michele Green explained to Bustle, “The excess amount of Vitamin A is stored in the liver, and it accumulates over time, causing a variety of symptoms, such as excessive cracking on the corners of the mouth, dryness, and peeling of the skin.” 

You may also, simply, be allergic to something you’re using such as your moisturizer, lipstick, or toothpaste, which is causing your lips to split. Likewise, high blood pressure medication can cause chapped lips too. The majority of the time, though, chapped lips are nothing to worry about, but if you’re drinking plenty of water, using a good lip balm, and still seeing no change, it might be best to consult your doctor or dermatologist just to be sure.

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