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Dry Lips Care Shocker: Avoid Lip Balms!

Chapped, peeling lips are a cold-weather woe.

However, doctors caution that lip balms could make the condition worse, resulting in an uncommon but difficult-to-treat condition called cheilitis.

Oral pathologist Brad Rodu, D.D.S., cautions that lip balms and lip licking may create a crust that traps bacteria or fungus. People pick at their irritated, peeling lips and become dependent on balms or jellies.

"The body becomes involved in a feedback loop of inflammation and healing that is extremely difficult to break. Antifungal and antibacterial ointments sometimes help, but patients may be required to quit using balm or jellies as well as refrain from licking and biting the lips for several weeks. Dry lips also may be a side effect of acne and some other medications."