The skin on the lips is especially sensitive. It becomes cracked & dried out very easily because there are fewer sebaceous glands in this area. However as part of the largest organ of our body, the skin on our lips is also one of the most sensitive. This skin is formed the same way as the rest of our body's skin, except that its outer, multilevel layer is very thin and not as well protected by a tough outer layer or by the secretions of oils. Also, lip skin has fewer cells, or the melanocytes, that produce the dark pigment called melanin. Less pigment means that the lips have only partial protection from UV rays and the dry hot air or the extreme cold air that can cause the skin to tear. So it is no wonder that many of us suffer from dry, chapped or cracked lips that are often accompanied by unsightly and bothersome fissures.
Besides the effects of environmental factors, cracked lips can also reveal a vitamin deficiency, such as too little B2. Vitamins, especially B-complex vitamins and beta-carotene as well as the mineral zinc are essential for your skin. They are considered very important to both cell metabolism and tissue structure; this is because they guarantee the skin's ability to regenerate and protect itself from infection. The vitamin biotin plays a significant role in cell growth and the body's ability to utilize other B-complex vitamins. Biotin is found in nuts, yeast, legumes and mushrooms.
If you are in the habit of frequently licking your lips, try to break that habit. This practice only serves to dry out the sensitive skin, not only is saliva very drying but it removes the natural oily film that is suppose to naturally coat your lips.
The fat content in olive oil and coca butter is very soothing but they are also high in B-vitamins which help to protect the skin.
So eating a balanced, vitamin-rich diet and drinking plenty of water can be your first line of defense, but add to that a lip balm with plenty of UV protection, especially at higher elevation. Avoid products that contain petroleum or simple waxes as they give no UV protection at all. Remember that a liquid will give longer lasting protection over a greasy or waxy lip screen.
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