Lips are one of the most basic yet important features of your face. Lips define your expression even if you were to speak without words. The most common lip problem we hear of is chapping of lips. The disorders affecting the lips can be divided into congenital (present since birth) and acquired. In this article, I will talk about the acquired lip disorders and the necessary tips for lip care.
The most common acquired lip disorder is Cheilitis or inflammation of the lips. Cheilitis can be because of various causes:
- Chapping of the Lips – Chapping is the reaction to detrimental environment conditions that is usually caused by exposure to freezing temperatures or hot dry wind. Lips here become sore, cracked and scaly. Due to this, the person tends to lick the lips or pick at the scales that may further aggravate the condition.Application of petroleum jelly and avoidance of extreme environmental conditions is the treatment.
- Eczematous Cheilitis – In persons who are prone to dryness of the skin are also prone to dryness and inflammation of the lips. The treatment involves liberal use of moisturizer and topical corticosteroids over the affected areas.
- Contact Cheilitis – It is an inflammatory response that is provoked by irritant action of chemicals. The most common cause is lipstick followed by toothpaste, mouthwashes, dental prosthetics containing mercury and metal used in piercing the lip. This contact Cheilitis manifests as redness, scaling, swelling of lips and fluid filled blisters.Treatment is topical corticosteroids along with avoidance of allergy causing substance.
- Drug induced Cheilitis – It can occur as a blister that ruptures to form an ulcer, mostly after intake of a particular offending drug.Treatment is topical corticosteroids along with avoidance of the offending drug.
- Angular Cheilitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the angle of the mouth or where the upper and lower lips meet. It can be due to infection by either fungus or bacteria, nutritional deficiency or due to dentures. Treatment is the treatment of the underlying cause.
So basically, use of a good lip balm or petroleum jelly and avoidance of allergy or irritation causing substance is the essence of good lip care.