If minor lip woes get worse or don't go away on their own, it's probably time to get medical help.
Some lip problems, such as those caused by infection or poor nutrition, require a doctor's intervention. If you're also suffering from problems like fatigue or frequent headaches, your cracked lips might be just one indicator of a bigger problem, like a vitamin or mineral deficiency.
It takes supreme willpower to overcome the urge to soothe a cracked or dry lip, but it's necessary. Constant licking, biting or picking can cause or complicate cheilitis, an inflamed, crusty patch that can form at the corners of your mouth. If you manage to avoid aggravating cheilitis but it doesn't go away, a doctor can help determine if it's a bacterial, fungal or viral infection and prescribe a topical ointment.
The good news is that we've got more information below to help get your lips in top shape.
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Lip and Mouth Care." (April 17, 2010) http://www.aad.org/members/media/_doc/Materials_Lip%20and%20Mouth%20Care.pdf
- American Dental Association. "Tobacco Effects on Mouth, Teeth, Gums." Colgate.com. November 24, 2008. (Accessed April 17, 2010) http://www.aad.org/members/media/_doc/Materials_Lip%20and%20Mouth%20Care.pdf
- Bellasugar.com. "Bad Lip Balm Additives." Nov. 25, 2009. (April 17, 2010) http://www.bellasugar.com/Bad-Lip-Balm-Additives-6216447
- Ellis-Christensen, Tricia. "How Can I Relieve Chapped Lips?" WiseGEEK. (April 13, 2010) http://www.wisegeek.com/how-can-i-relieve-chapped-lips.htm
- Gerstein, Julie. "Secret Lipstick Ingredients Revealed." (April 18, 2010) http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/lipstick-ingredients-020410
- Gibson, Lawrence. "Chapped Lips. What's the best remedy?" Mayo Clinic. Oct. 4, 2008. (April 13, 2010) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chapped-lips/AN01440
- Halepis, Harriette. "What is lip therapy?" WiseGEEK. (April 13, 2010) http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-lip-therapy.htm
- Women's Health Magazine. "Get Soft, Sexy Lips." Nov. 29, 2009. (April 17, 2010) http://www.womenshealthmage.com/beauty-and-style/get-softer-lips
Millennials are crazy about lip fillers, and it seems we have Kylie Jenner to thank. HowStuffWorks fills you in on lip fillers.