For the main bulk of my time in braces I have wondered about chapped lips & chapsticks! We give away chap stick in our office and people take them at every appointment, but even though I am a fellow braces wearer, I have never really found that needed chap stick on a regular basis. I was perplexed!
That was until the weather started to get cold, around the beginning of November, then all of a sudden my lips were as dry as the dessert and the sides began to crack! I finally understood why i have been carrying around my Kaplan Orthodontics chapstick for a year! The skin of our lips is very similar to the skin on the rest of our bodies, but this area lacks oil and sweat glands. This makes them prone to drying out in a very short period of time.
It’s really uncomfortable and you can be self-conscious when it happens to you. As an adult or child in braces you are focusing on improving your smile, the last thing you want is for your lips to be dry, cracked, and irritated.
I have been asking around and getting peoples advice on how to remedy and avoid chapped lips, here are a few I have come up with:
- Use lip balm. A quality lip balm (like the Kaplan Orthodontics Chap Stick) can replace the moisture in the delicate skin on your lips. Apply liberally and often. Avoid lip balms with artificial ingredients, and in warm weather, choose one with an SPF factor of 15 or higher to protect against sun damage.
- Although it can be a habit, do your best to keep from licking your lips to make them moist, as saliva does not have moisturizing properties and will cause more dryness.
- Exfoliate. This may seem counterintuitive when your lips feel dry, but removing the outer layer of dry skin is important to promote healing. A quick and cheap way of exfoliating your lips is to wet a soft toothbrush and brush your lips to remove the chapped and dry portions of skin. After exfoliating, apply a moisturizing lip balm to protect and promote healing.
- Avoid citrus fruits. The acid naturally found in fruits like oranges and grapefruits can have a drying effect on your lips. Section the fruit first and eat carefully, or skip it altogether while your lips feel chapped.
- Stay hydrated. The lips need moisture and ideally, it should come from within. Keep a water bottle handy at all times and sip throughout the day. By the time most people feel thirsty, they are already dehydrated.
- Breathe through the nose. Mouth breathing is a problem on many levels. Air constantly flowing through the lips can chap them. It can also lead to dry mouth and bad breath.
I hope these help you a little, feel free to add your own remedies in the comments section below!
Have a great week!