Lips, we all got ‘em, we all use ‘em, but do we all know how to really take care of them? Let’s get down to business and talk about lip health and care 101, read on to learn everything you need to know about common lip issues and how to best care for your mouth.
Just like your skin, the outer layer of your lips is called the epidermis which is protected by the stratum corneum layer. Underneath your epidermis is the dermis layer. Just like the rest of the skin on your body, your lips have these 3 layers.
However, the stratum corneum later on your lips is significantly thinner than anywhere else on your body. In addition, your lips are devoid of any melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin. Melanin changes pigment when exposed to sunlight, this is why your lips don’t tan or change color. Your lips are reddish or more pink because these layers on your lips are so thin and there is no melanin to change the color of your lips.
Blood vessels sit very close to the surface of your lip skin, creating the blushy hue. Along with nipples, your lips have more nerve endings than any other part of your body. This is why our lips are so sensitive to touch (and probably what makes humans kiss). Smooch!
Because your lips have no oil or sweat glands, pimples do not appear. Yay! Score one for lips. However, this doesn’t mean your lips are any less maintenance than other skin on your body. Because the skin that makes up your lips is so thin and sensitive, lips are some of the most UV + UVB sensitive areas on the body.
As stated above, your lips are incredibly sensitive to sunlight. In order to keep your puckers safe, use chapstick with SPF 30+ when outside. Not every chapstick and lip balm has SPF, so be sure to choose one wisely.
Because your lips don’t have oil or sweat glands, they have no natural lubricant besides your saliva. From hot weather, to cold weather, your lips are susceptible to becoming chapped. We've all been there, it's uncomfortable and just ICK. The best way to protect your lips from becoming too dry and cracked is to apply a balm with moisturizing oils.
It’s best to avoid balms or chapsticks with excessive fragrance, as this provides no benefit to your lips and could cause irritation.
Excessively Chapped Lips
If you find your lips are excessively chapped no matter what you use, it could be caused by: excessive licking of your lips, dehydration, weather, or certain medications.
A severe form of chapped lips is called, Cheilitis. Cheilitis symptoms are: lip dryness, redness, cracking, and itching. If you believe you have Cheitlis, contact a medical professional to ensure it is nothing more serious.
Have you ever had dry, cracked corners on your mouth? This could be Angular Chelitis, a relatively common condition that can be caused by an onset of cheilitis or a multitude of other issues. The interesting thing? Angular Cheilitis is a fungal disorder, that’s right! We love microbiome coming into play!
If you have dry, cracked corners on your lips that cause pain and hurt when you open your mouth or eat, the culprit could be angular cheilitis. Try using an antifungal cream, this could resolve the problem in a few days.
Should I be exfoliating my lips?
Lip scrubs and DIY lip scrubs are everywhere. With so many products on the market it might seem like everyone should be exfoliating. The truth is, it's not necessary for everyone. If you have excessively dry and cracked lips that have scabby dead skin on them, contact your doctor to make sure its not a sign of something more serious.
However, if you have a small amount of dead skin that is flaking on your skin, a very light exfoliation is okay. But don't overdo it. Over-exfoliation of the lips can lead to painful and dangerous micro-tears on your skins surface. This can leave your skin susceptible to infections and harm.
Remember your blood vessels sit very close to the surface of your lips, so be gentle!
We hope you enjoyed this piece and learned some insightful information on your lips, be sure to comment with any questions or topics you'd like to hear from us.