The lips are a central defining feature of the lower face. The skin around the lips is distinct from the surrounding skin. The lips have a major effect on the aesthetic perception of the face in both female and male. Well-defined lips borders and fuller lips impart a sense of youth, health, and attractiveness.
The skin over the lips is not the same as other skin over the body, it is a transitional skin and very sensitive. The skin is prone to chapping (cheilitis sicca) because of external (environmental) and internal factors. Of the lips is a favored site for primary skin diseases.
- Chapped lips (cheilitis sicca) could be seen in patients with atopic eczema, or could be the only manifestation of a skin disease or appear as part of a generalized skin disease.
- Few systemic disorders(internal diseases) such as lupus erythematosus or allergic diseases can also present with lip chapping.
- Vitamin B deficiencies can present with cracked and red lips, redness of the lining of the oral cavity and the tongue, oral ulcers, cracks at the corners of the mouth (angular cheilitis), and a sore throat.
- Riboflavin deficiency causes ariboflavinosis, which manifests as cracked lips, inflammation of the tongue and dryness or burning of the oral cavity.
- Aging is a natural process, along with environmentally induced aging from external factors, the most notable of which is exposure to sunlight leads to reduction in collagen (lip fullness) and elastin (loosening) together with a loss in hydration(reason for cracking lips).
Lip balms usually contain:
- Lanolin is a natural wax obtained from sheep wool grease. It has low allergen capacity, and is a excellent moisturizer.
- Bees wax is very effective natural moisturizer. If one is allergic to honey then might develop allergies to this too.
- Natural Vit E, tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate can be man-made or derived from plants,
- Castor oil is a thick, viscous liquid derived from Ricinus communis plant
- Fragrances usually Peppermint oil are used
- Sunscreen agents: mineral sun blocks such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide more preferred to chemical sunscreens.
Some specialsied balms could contain:
- Human growth factors
- Hyaluronic acid and marine filling spheres
- Tripeptide palmitoyl-glycyl-histidyl-lysine (Pal-GHK) complex.
Lip-plumper formulation contains:
- Emollients and
- Essential fatty acids.
There are many more ingredients which are used; the most common ones have been discussed here. Hopefully this article has cleared many a doubts about chapped lips.A good knowledge helps the customer choose the right kind of brand and product to help themselves.
Dr. HEMA SATHISH M.B.B.S., (UK)
Cosmetic Dermatologist | Sanche Cosmetic Centre
DEVADOSS MULTI SPECIALITY HOSPITAL