Does Licking Your Lips Make Them Dry?
When we lick our lips, saliva provides moisture temporarily. Nevertheless, the temporary moisture quickly disappears, resulting in lips that are even drier than before.
When the tongue comes into contact with the lips, a thin layer of saliva is left on the surface. Saliva contains enzymes and chemicals that aid in the digestion of food in your mouth. Interestingly, the presence of these enzymes can actually worsen the issue of dryness in your lips.
When applying lip balm, it is recommended to avoid products that contain parabens, alcohol, and fragrances to prevent potential irritations.
Occasional lip licking does not typically have any negative effects. However, excessive lip licking throughout the day can lead to dehydration of the lips, causing them to become chapped, cracked, flaky, or peel. This is especially true in cold, arid areas or when not protected from the sun’s rays with sunscreen.
Causes of repeated lip licking
In moments of anxiety, one may find themselves frequently moistening their lips. Similarly, adverse weather conditions can cause dry skin and lips, prompting the desire to relieve their dryness.
Dry lips can be caused by the following circumstances:
- Sun exposure or sunburns
- During the winter months, the weather can be chilly and arid when going outside.
- Indoor dry heat
Having preexisting health conditions can cause dry lips, leading people to constantly lick them:
- Having a blocked nose due to a cold or flu forces you to rely on mouth breathing.
- Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, or Crohn’s disease are all examples of autoimmune disorders.
- Nerve damage to the head or neck.
- Poorly fitting dentures.
- Smoking tobacco.
Dry lips can be caused by certain medications as well, such as:
- Acne medications that contain high levels of vitamin A or retinoids can be considered as potential treatment options.
- Anti-nausea medications.
- Diarrhea medications.
- Chemotherapy drugs.
How to Get Rid of Chapped Lips
When your lips become dry and chapped, it is common to moisten them by running your tongue across them. However, this can worsen the dryness instead. Regularly licking your lips can lead to a condition called lip licker’s dermatitis.
The lips have a thin and delicate layer of skin that needs extra care to avoid drying out, especially during the cold winter season. It is recommended to avoid licking chapped lips, even though it may be tempting.
Resisting the temptation to lick your lips can be difficult. Use these precautionary measures to prevent the habit of lip licking.
- Drink plenty of water: Dry lips can be prevented by staying hydrated. Staying properly hydrated can reduce the urge to lick your lips.
- Use a lip balm: For moisturizing and protecting your lips, consider using lip balm. This product moisturizes your lips and provides extra protection. When you feel the urge to moisturize your lips, use lip balm as a reliable solution. For those experiencing cold weather or living in dry areas, it is recommended to regularly apply lip balm throughout the day and before going to bed.
- Don’t pick your lips: For hydrated and nourished lips, consider using lip balm. This product moisturizes your lips and provides an additional protective layer. If you feel the need to moisturize your lips, lip balm is a reliable option. For individuals experiencing cold weather or living in dry climates, it is recommended to regularly apply lip balm during the day and before going to bed.
- Use sun protection: When going out in the sun, it is recommended to use a lip balm with sunscreen. By applying lip balm, you protect your lips from sunburn and the harmful effects of UV rays. Additionally, wearing a wide-brimmed hat can protect your lips from potential damage caused by harmful UV exposure.
- Invest in a humidifier: The dry air can have negative effects on your lips and skin. There is an effective solution available to combat this issue – humidifiers. These devices help prevent dryness by adding moisture to the air, protecting your skin and lips from dehydration.
To prevent lip licking, it is important to keep your lips hydrated and nourished.