You have a sunburn
As you may have noticed, your lips are extremely sensitive. “Because they are so thin, they are more prone to sun damage, and you can even get skin cancers in this area as well,” says Jill Waibel, MD, owner of the Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute. Apply lip balm with SPF before you head outside. If dry and chapped lips don’t clear up, make an appointment with your dermatologist. Sun damage can cause an aggressive pre-cancerous condition of the lower lip known as actinic cheilitis, which can become a squamous cell carcinoma, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. If diagnosed via a biopsy, there are both surgical and topical treatment options . Check out these lip balm hacks you’ll wish you knew all along.
You have an undiagnosed allergy
If your lips are always dry but you can’t quite nail down the cause, take a look at the products on your vanity. According to Dr. Waibel, an allergy could be the root cause of chapped lips. “Contact dermatitis is a very common diagnosis for dryness in your lips,” she explained. “This may be an allergy to toothpaste, mouthwash, or something in your lipstick, such as the coloring,” says Dr. Waibel. Take breaks from products for two weeks at a time to see if lips begin to heal. If they don’t, she suggests checking in with your dermatologist to talk about treatment. Your doctor may suggest a patch test to help you figure out exactly what you are allergic to so you can avoid that ingredient in other products. Steroid creams might be recommended to help with the dryness, redness, and inflammation.