For healthy lips

The skin of the lips has special characteristics. Lips are covered with a mucous membrane that has different and fewer glands than normal skin. Also, in the lips, unlike the skin, the outermost layer (i.e. the stratum corneum) is very thin, and it may even be Some people don’t exist at all. As a result, the moisture quickly evaporates from the surface of the lips and causes them to suffer from dryness easily. This dryness often leads to flaking and cracks in the lips and increases the possibility of inflammation, infection and irritation. Exposure to sun, wind and cold significantly increases the rate of moisture loss. But the lips are not completely safe in closed environments and they may become dry in places that have central ventilation and where the relative humidity is low. Dry lips also increase during a cold. In such cases, due to nasal congestion, breathing takes place mostly through the mouth, which causes the lips to dry. Consumption of certain foods, cosmetics and smoking are among the factors that lead to lip irritation.

Common diseases of the lips

In addition to dry and chapped lips, there are other diseases that can damage the lips and lead to chronic conditions that require special care. Herpes: Herpes is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus, which causes the appearance of a group of small, burning, or even painful blisters on the lips. This virus has affected a large percentage of the adult population and is the second most common virus after the common cold. Once a person is infected with this virus, they usually keep it hidden or latent for the rest of their lives. After herpes first appears, it has a high tendency to recur in the same spot. Herpes sufferers usually experience a state of heat, tickling, burning or itching
They feel 24 hours before the blisters appear. Fluid-filled blisters generally appear within the first few days, and full recovery usually takes 4-10 days. Cold sores are contagious, so care should be taken to avoid contact with these areas. Contact with infected areas may cause infection in other areas and also the virus can be transmitted to others. These blisters are known as herpes. Because they usually appear when a person has a fever or a cold. But the herpes virus can be reactivated and cause a recurrence of herpes following injury caused by sunburn, exam stress, mental discomfort, menstruation, digestive discomfort, or even without any clear reason.

Allergy caused by cosmetic ingredients

Allergy caused by cosmetics and beauty products is an unpredictable reaction in the form of redness and itching of the lips that occurs after using these products.
This state may be in the form of stimulation. But it is also possible that it indicates a true allergy that leads to itching, burning and even swelling of the lips. Cosmetic allergy occurs when a person is sensitive to one of the components of health care products such as lip color or their aromatic compounds. This reaction may even occur suddenly to a product that has been used for years. Unfortunately, once an allergic reaction occurs, it will usually recur.

sensitivity to light

Sensitivity to light may have an internal origin or appear after the local consumption of a substance on the skin. This condition may also be caused by previous contact with photosensitizing compounds. Photosensitivity in the lips occurs when a substance applied to the lips reacts after exposure to sunlight. Symptoms similar to a severe and sudden sunburn include: redness, pain, burning, or swelling. This condition may appear even with a brief contact with the sun after using a lipstick or other cosmetic ingredients.

Inflammation of the lips

Inflammation of the lips or “cheilitis” refers to the permanent inflammation of one or both lips in the form of scaling, cracking and swelling. This state can be created at the junction of the lip mucosa with the natural skin of the face. There are different types of lip inflammation, one of which is solar lip inflammation. In this disease, the lips are damaged due to contact with sunlight. Lip inflammation may also be due to vitamin deficiency. Another common type of this condition is inflammation of the corners of the lips, which is considered a type of fungal infection and may be caused by the use of improper dentures.

sun damage

Due to the fact that the outer layer of the lips is very thin and even in some cases it does not exist at all, the lips do not have enough protection against the sun in their natural state. Lips (in white people) are almost devoid of melanin. This substance is the natural pigment of the skin and helps to reflect the harmful rays of the sun. For this reason, lips are rarely tanned, but they burn easily. Licking the lips is harmful because the droplets of saliva act as a magnifying glass and increase the intensity of sunlight. Lips are rarely covered due to being on the face, and for this reason, they are constantly exposed to sun damage. When lips are sunburned, permanent damage can occur. For example, collagen changes. Collagen is a protein that is responsible for the thickness of the lips and their elasticity, and prevents the appearance of wrinkles. When the lips are exposed to the sun for a long time without protection, the collagen changes and causes the lips to wrinkle and create fine lines around the mouth. Sun damage can occur even in the absence of physical signs of the effects of the sun, and observing a superficial sunburn does not mean that the deeper layers have not been damaged. Wrinkles and premature aging are not the only damages caused by the sun.

About 90% of new cases of skin cancer are caused by exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. The lips of young people, especially children and teenagers, are very vulnerable. Studies have shown that excessive exposure to UV rays in the first 18 years of life can cause skin cancer in adulthood. Also, exposure to sunlight is one of the most common causes of herpes. For this reason, protecting the lips can reduce the possibility of lesions in herpes sufferers. Lips need sun protection all year round.

UV rays are always there, both in summer and winter. Although the amount of burning UVB rays decreases somewhat in the colder months of the year, the amount of harmful UVA rays is relatively constant throughout the year. Lips can be damaged even on cloudy days, because clouds do not block the passage of UV rays. Sunlight is reflected by sand and water and increases its burning properties. This also applies to snow. In fact, snow reflects about 80% of sunlight, while sand reflects less than 20%. Also, exposure to sunlight at high altitudes (such as when skiing) increases its risks, because the thickness of the atmosphere is lower at altitudes and therefore absorbs less of the sun’s rays.

Some tips to keep your lips healthy

Use a lip protection product daily to moisturize and maintain their natural state. A lip moisturizer that contains natural moisturizers such as cocoa butter and aloe vera is an effective combination that helps retain moisture. Daily lip care helps to maintain a natural feeling in the lips and their soft and smooth appearance. When you are exposed to dry air, use a combination that maintains natural moisture and avoids the effect of the dryness of the environment. In these cases, it is recommended to use compounds that contain several protective substances and can protect the lips well. During the year, whenever you are exposed to the sun, use a sunscreen product with a suitable protection level. The protection rating indicates how long a person can stay in the sun before getting sunburned. People with fair skin should use compounds with a protection level of 30 even for short-term exposure to the sun. Also, it is better to use sunscreens that cover both UVA and UVB rays and are resistant to water for 80 minutes or more. People with sensitive skin should avoid ingredients containing PABA, which can cause allergic reactions. Use a lip protection product before applying lipstick. This causes the color to spread evenly and create a smoother appearance.

Dr. Behrooz Barik bin dermatologist


19 December 2012 23:08

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