Dehydration is a condition of your body where it loses more water than it takes in. This condition imbalances the minerals in your body and disturbs its overall functioning.
More than 90% of our blood is pure water, when we are dehydrated blood starts to become more concentrated as a result, the heart pumps faster and works harder to pump the thicker blood around. Most heart attacks occur between 4 AM- 10 AM, yes! the most dehydrated time interval.
The brain slows down the blood flow to the arms and legs and manages to give the limited blood supply to the critical organs only. Kidneys sense dehydration and recycle more water into the bloodstream leaving the urine bright yellow or perhaps dark.
I didn’t want to scare you but can’t help the facts! You got the idea that how deeply dehydration can damage your body parts right, including skin, mouth, and lips.
Chapped lips or inflamed lips are also known as Cheilitis, a common condition that is characterized by dry, cracked, and sometimes even painful lips. It happens when the delicate skin of the lips loses moisture or gets inflamed and becomes dehydrated.
There are several types of Cheilitis:
- Angular Cheilitis: It majorly affects the corners of the mouth, resulting in ulcers and crusts.
- Actinic Cheilitis: This type of Cheilitis is caused by long-term sun exposure and it primarily affects the lower lip. The symptoms are dryness, cracking and rough patches on the lips. In rare cases, you can also see the signs of precancerous lesions. The condition is said to be more common in men and people with Fair skin tones.
- Contact Cheilitis: Contact with certain irritants or allergens can trigger this condition. The physical symptoms can be swollen, red and itchy lips accompanied by a stinging sensation.
- Exfoliative Cheilitis: This type of Cheilitis is rare. The physical signs are continuous peeling of the lips. Patients diagnosed with this condition often have a localized form of Psoriasis. The peeling can be made worse by lip sucking, lip picking, lip biting, lip licking, or mouth breathing. The causes of the condition are unknown but poor oral hygiene can be one of the possible triggers.
- Allergic Cheilitis: The condition occurs when allergic reactions start to affect the lips as well resulting in redness, swelling and itching. Allergens can include certain foods, cosmetics or medications.
- Cheilitis Glandularis: The inflammation in the salivary glands of the lips can cause this uncommon condition. It can cause swelling, enlargement of the glands, or rough appearance of the lips.
How Dehydration affects lips?
Lips don’t have oil glands so they cannot fight back against dehydration by generating their own moisture. Hence even the mildest start of dehydration in your body can be easily caught through first, chapped or cracked lips and second, by dark yellow urine.
These are some early warning signs to load up on water! Healthy lips and healthy skin honestly don’t demand much, they only need an adequate amount of water to be feeling fine.
What are the signs of Dehydration and Chapped lips?
Physical symptoms of cracked lips are,
- Peeling skin on lips with mild bleeding
- Mild pain
- Uncomfortable itchiness on the lips
- Dry evident lines on the lips
- Sores on your lips and mouth
- Chapped lips
- Cracked skin
Internal symptoms of Dehydration are,
- Dry mouth
- Unexplained Dizziness
- Decreased urine production
What can be the other rare potential causes for Chapped lips apart from Dehydration?
- Environmental Factors- Dry air and Cold weather
- Sun Damage causes chapped lips
- Menopause- decreasing estrogen levels
- Lipsticks containing propyl gallate develop sensitivity on the delicate skin of the lips.
- Lip balm with irritants like menthol, fragrances, flavors, and parabens can leave the sensitive skin of the lips itchy, and dry.
- Excessive licking of the lips- when you constantly lick your lips, Saliva can evaporate all the hydration, quickly leading to moisture loss. Also, our Saliva contains certain enzymes and acids that break the skin’s protective barrier leaving the skin inflamed, chapped, and burned.
- Chapped lips can also be the side effects of the medications prescribed for thyroid conditions and high blood pressure can also be responsible for the dryness of the mouth and lips.
- Certain nutritional deficiencies like Iron, Zinc, Vitamin C, B vitamins, and sometimes an overdose of Vitamin A can be the contributing factors to dry chapped lips.
How to prevent and treat Chapped lips?
For treating internally,
Treating the body from the inside will automatically make the condition 80% better. So, keep a strict habit of drinking loads of hydrating fluids every day like water, coconut water, watermelon juice, lemon water, and vegetable juices. If you are severely dehydrated to the extent of dizziness, cut back on coffee and tea for a while. Cut the caffeine completely until you start feeling better.
For treating external,
There are a few natural ingredients that can instantly give you relief from the drying discomfort of chapped lips.
Instantly heal chapped lips by applying:
- Raw honey
- Raw shea butter
- Ghee- clarified butter
- Coconut oil
- Avocado butter
- Mango butter
- SPF in lip balm (Titanium dioxide & zinc oxide-Mineral sunscreen)
I can understand applying raw honey can be a bit messy. So, the most convenient way to use honey or other ingredients on the lips is in the form of a lip balm or lip mask.
You just need to find a good brand of lip balm that uses No-Nonsense ingredients. Always check for the ingredients and apply lip balm with NO fragrances, menthol, eucalyptus, alcohol, flavors, artificial food colors, chemical sunscreen, paraben, camphor, mineral oil, and to your shocker, petroleum jelly in it.
Petrolatum is a refined byproduct of petroleum that is made from crude oil. My personal experience – It always burns my chapped lips even more & there’s no relation to moisturizing at all.
Keep your lips hydrated with a few of my all-time favorite lip balms. They have the best quality ingredients and instantly gave me relief:
Lastly, dry air will make the condition worse, invest in a humidifier for the hydrated air to breathe in daily.
Are chapped lips a serious condition?
Most likely not, it’s a pretty common condition people go through every now and then. With adequate consumption of fluids and consistent usage of lip balms, your lips will just be fine in no time.
Although, in very rare cases if the condition is not getting better and you have started to develop ulcers, a lumpy texture, or white plaques on your lips, those are some of the signs of severely chapped lips and you should certainly see your health provider or board-certified dermatologist. You may also be deficient in any of the vital nutrients mentioned above, perhaps getting a blood test done will find out all the potential internal causes of the persistent dryness of the lips and you can then fix it by necessary supplement intake.
What are the medical conditions that dehydrate your body more?
- Alcohol- especially before sleeping at night
- Diabetes- Extra blood sugar gets mixed with the urine & drags water with it. Excessive urination Is one of the most common signs of diabetes.
- Medications for thyroid and high blood pressure
- A drug called lithium for treating bipolar disorder
- Loop-acting diuretics for heart failure
- An over-the-counter migraine medicine called Excedrin migraine
- A tablet- Apremilast for treating psoriasis
If you are struggling with any of these conditions or taking any of the medicines. Pls, make extra efforts to keep your body hydrated all the time.
Takeaway- Dehydrated and Chapped lips
There are a lot of potential causes and contributing factors for chapped lips:
- Not drinking enough water
- Certain lipsticks and lip balms that contain harsh chemicals and irritants that can inflame the lips.
- Frequent Sun exposure
- Climate- Dry air and cold weather
- Excessive licking of the lips
- Side effects from certain medications prescribed for thyroid, high blood pressure and to treat acne.
- Decreasing Estrogen levels- in Menopause
- Overdose of Vitamin A and nutritional deficiency of certain vitamins like C, A, and Zinc.
- Drinking enough hydrating fluids like water, watermelon juice, coconut water, and eating juicy fruits like oranges, cantaloupes, pineapples, and berries will keep you internally hydrated.
- Use the good-quality lip balms with SPF mentioned above in the daytime and lip masks in the nighttime to keep the lips moisturized from the outside.
- If the weather around you is dry and cold. Invest in a humidifier for the hydrated air to breathe in daily.