Can cracked lips be a sign of dehydration?

profile of natural lips of a young woman (shallow dof)
Personal Hygiene ­Image Gallery Can a lack of water lead to dry, cracked lips? See more personal hygiene pictures.
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Chronic chapped lips -- the kind that stay with you all winter, no matter what -- can be a painful hassle for months. Cracked, dry lips can be caused by everything from bitter winds, sun or dry air to cosmetics [source: Gibson]. But one cause many people don't consider is dehydration.

If you've tried everything and still can't rid yourself of your cracked lips, you may want to evaluate whether or not your body is getting the proper amount of hydration. First, keep track of how much water and other liquids you drink every day. If you're not drinking at least eight to 10 glasses of water, at eight ounces (about 237 milliliters) per glass, think about hydrating more often. You need at least that much to keep your body hydrated, and resorting to caffeinated beverages instead of water is not an equal replacement. If you move around a lot during the day, you can grab a water bottle and carry it around.


Second, you'll need to examine the area in which you live. Dry air could be causing your lips to dry up, so consider getting a humidifier, especially for use during the winter months. When you crank up the heat during cold weather, the air in your home tends to become very dry. It can be helpful to run a humidifier in your bedroom all night while you sleep. You can even buy a cool-mist humidifier for your office if the air is especially dry there. If you don't have a humidifier, you can simply try placing a pan or pot of water near your radiator to infuse some moisture into the air [source: Taylor].

Drinking water and maintaining moisture in the air around you can help soothe dry, cracked lips if dehydration is the culprit. For lots more information on how you can fight dehydration and repair your lips, visit the links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Gibson, Lawrence. "Chapped Lips: What Is the Best Remedy?" Mayo Clinic. Oct. 4, 2008. (Oct. 7, 2009)
  • Readers Digest. "1,801 Home Remedies: Trustworthy Treatments for Everyday Health Problems." (Oct. 7, 2009)
  • Taylor, Susan. "Fight the Freeze: How to Protect Lips in Winter." MSNBC. Jan. 18, 2008 (Oct. 7, 2009)