Every season has some good and bad things associated with it. From the title of this article, you’ve probably guessed that we’re going to talk about a downside of one specific season: winter. The good thing about winter is that you get to play with snow, have all the hot chocolate you can handle, time off from school, and some wonderful sleep lying underneath a comfy blanket.
The cons of winter are nasty too; the flu, the closing of roads due to snowfall, and even the slightest of drizzles can send you shivering. However, the nastiest winter characteristic of all, and the one that stays with you throughout the winter (if you don’t take proper care), is chapped lips.
Have you ever wondered why this seemingly invincible condition is at its worst during winters?
Skin on the Lips
The skin is the largest organ of the body; for those of you who didn’t know this already, it may be a bit astonishing to realize that ‘the thing’ covering the dense and complex network of muscles, bones and tissues present within your body is actually an organ. Not only is it bit, but it’s also quite impressive!
The skin consists of three layers: the epidermis (the outer layer), dermis (the middle layer) and hypodermis (the innermost layer). Look at back of your hand; what you’re looking at is the the outermost layer of the skin – the epidermis – covering your hand. When you sustain a cut on the skin, you are able to see that the skin color there is different from the color of the skin outside. Those are the inner layers of skin.
Reasons for Chapped Lips
To start with, skin on your lips is much thinner, and therefore more sensitive than other parts of your body. In fact, epidermis (the outermost layer) is so thin that the lips take on a reddish hue (as the thinner layer provides some visibility of the blood vessels present beneath the skin of the lips). Since the layer of skin is so thin, it means that it doesn’t offer much protection against the onslaught of dry and cold air, wind and sunlight.
Unlike the skin on other parts of the body, lips don’t contain oil-producing glands that can help keep them moist, and they also don’t have hair to protect them against the sun.
Stop Licking Your Lips!
The proximity of lips to the tongue makes matters worse. Think about it… would you ever consider licking any other body part when it felt dry?
Since lips are located rather close to the tongue, it can act on its own when your lips feel dry, without your even realizing it. When you lick your lips, however, saliva evaporates after some time, leaving the lips even drier than they were before (avoid using scented lip balms, as they may irritate your lips even further).
How Can You Prevent Chapped Lips?
There are a few key steps that you can take to avoid getting your lips chapped. First of all, moisturize your lips, as no dryness means no chapped lips! It’s best if you can somehow nip the problem in the bud. Consider carrying lip balm on your person and applying it to your lips whenever they feel dry.
Dehydration is also a potential cause of chapped lips; therefore, drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. Stay clear of spicy and salty foods as much as possible. Also, try limiting breathing through your mouth. When going out in the cold, try covering your mouth with a piece of clothing. All that being said, the most significant advice truly is…
No matter how intense the craving is to lick your chapped lips, you have to train your tongue to restrain itself and not act of its own accord.
The tongue not only helps pronounce the words that essentially wield the power to change the way you’re going to be perceived in society; but it also gives you one more thing to worry about: chapped lips!