DermTV – How to Treat Chapped Lips [DermTV.com Epi #249]

DermTV – How to Treat Chapped Lips [DermTV.com Epi #249]


[music]
Hello, I’m Dr. Neal Schultz [pause] and welcome to DermTV. In order for me to help you better understand
how to treat your chapped lips, first I’m going to explain what they
are and what causes them. Chapped lips are really just an over drying
of the skin of your lip and the reason it gets over dried is from cold air,
low humidity, sunlight or even just strong winds. The reason that the lips
get over dried much more easily than regular skin on your body is because
the skin of your lip is very thin; it’s a mucus membrane. Let me show
you what I mean. Mucus membranes don’t have any of this thick protective
dead layer on the top the way regular skin does, and whereas the thickness
of regular epidermis is about fifteen to twenty cells thick, mucus membranes
like the lip are only three to five cells thick. As a matter of fact,
it’s because it’s so thin that it’s almost translucent and you can almost
see through it. That’s what makes lips pink because you can see the blood
in the dermis underneath. And because it’s so thin, it’s just so much
more vulnerable to over drying and it doesn’t have as much protection to hold
in moisture. When it dries it cracks, when it cracks the cracks open up
a little bit and let moisture out, and when the moisture comes out of this
thin skin it contracts and the cracks get bigger and you lose more moisture
and that’s like a positive feedback cycle of over drying. And by the
way, because there’s no thick dead layer on top, that’s why chapped lips
which are just dry skin, look very different from regular dry skin. So it’s
very easy to take care of chapped lips, we just have to restore the
barrier that holds in moisture while the skin of the lip is repairing itself
and healing. The best way to do that is with oil based products. So most
lip balms and lip aids either have petrolatum or bee’s wax in them which
is heavy and holds that moisture in. A good rule of thumb is, if it’s cold
enough outside to put on a coat, then its cold enough to start putting a coat
of lip balm on your lips. And just make sure of one thing: if you have chapped
lips, don’t lick them. Think of what the function of saliva is in
your mouth, it’s really there to dissolve and digest food, and it does the
same thing to the coating on your lip. If you put saliva on your lip you’re
going to worsen the irritation and you’re going to make the chapping worse.
So, if you have chapped lips, use lip balm and try not to lick your lips.

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