[Wellbeing & You] 2022 Nutrition Ice-Breaking Journey: 3rd & Last Stop – Chapped Lips

February 9, 2022

Here comes the end of this ice-breaking journey. We have cruised along the 1st stop – [Cold Hands] and 2nd stop of [Dry Skin] and this week our final last visitor site is [Chapped Lips]. I understand some of you might miss this trip, but I hope every one of you take home with all the knowledge we have learnt and apply it in your daily life. “Chapped lips” is a minor health condition that we normally do not pay much attention. But it is worth noting that it could mean more than just dryness but also nutritional deficiency that we could take particular corrective actions to improve this health condition.


Low humidityVitamin B deficiencyDiabetes
Slow metabolism and circulationDigestive disorder
(e.g. IBS, Crohn’s disease)
Malfunctioning salivary glands
Food allergyCold and fluSmoking

“YES & NO”

1. Does licking lips help? NO!
Licking lips temporarily relieves the symptoms but actually perpetuates or even worsens the condition. The digestive enzymes in saliva can damage the protective barrier of the delicate skin of lips and therefore increase the subsequent chance of dryness, cracking and even bleeding. Chronic lip-licking could even result in “lip licker’s dermatitis”.

2. Shall I peel off the dry and flaky skins on the lips? NO, BUT…
Peeling the flaky skin on the lips easily causes bleeding and hurt of the delicate lip skin, which prolongs the healing process unwantedly. But when the flaky skin becomes very lengthy and noticeable, using a nail clipper is a safer way to remove it.

✔ DO ✔✘ DON’T ✘
Vitamin B rich foods
Beef or pork livers
Lick & bite lips, peeling off the lips flake
Fibre-rich foods
Vegetables: Chinese kale, broccoli, potato
Fruits: Figs, orange, papaya, pear
Mouth-wash/oral card products with alcohol, fragrance
Topical use of organic honey, coconut oil, vitamin E oil, cocoa butterIrritating foods
Acidic, salty, spicy, dehydrating foods
Water-rich foodsExcessive exposure to sun and wind


Should I worry if I have all of these?
YES…and NO.
It is fairly normal to have one or even all of these symptoms from time to time when the cold weather hits.
However, it could become an issue of concern when these symptoms last and last and even happen in summer time (especially cold hands).

American College of Rheumatology, University of Utah, Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine, National Health Service, National Institute of Health, PMID: 9464451, 2921306, 26894086, 16676119, 17898493, 30666166, 31343948, 27069497, 23204610, 29430626, 20224686, 28274349, 33898702