5 Ways to Improve Your Smile

Improving Your Smile

A 2008 study found that the whiteness of a person’s smile played a role in the way others perceived them. Specifically, the study found that people with white teeth were perceived to be more attractive and smarter than people with darker teeth.

There’s no question that a little additional attention to your smile and oral hygiene can pay off.

Bad Breath

Bad breath is usually caused by:

  • poor oral care habits
  • tooth infection
  • gum disease
  • mouth sores
  • infection or chronic inflammation of the nose or throat
  • smoking
  • dry mouth, which may be a side effect of some medications
  • certain foods, like garlic or onion

The best ways to combat bad breath is to stay hydrated, floss daily, and brush your teeth twice per day. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, too!

If you wear dentures or other mouth appliances, clean them daily. Use an alcohol-free mouthwash and artificial saliva or a spray or gel for dry mouth.

If your breath suddenly takes on an unpleasant or unusual odor, it may be a sign of a serious disorder, such as diabetes or a bowel obstruction. If this occurs, you should seek medical attention immediately. Chronic dry mouth that’s unrelated to medication use should also be investigated because it may indicate an autoimmune condition or other disorder.

Part 3 of 7: Healthy Gums

Healthy Gums

Proper brushing and flossing will keep your gums healthy. Periodontal, or gum, disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. This type of infection is caused by a buildup of plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth.

Gum disease is often painless, but it makes gums red and puffy and causes them to recede and bleed. The infection can progress over time leading to more serious symptoms. In fact, gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

The good news is that gum disease is almost always preventable. Regular check-ups with your dentist combined with good oral hygiene, which means brushing and flossing twice daily, can keep plaque at bay.

Part 4 of 7: Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening

Many over-the-counter (OTC) toothpastes, mouth rinses, and chewing gums claim to have a whitening effect. You can also speak with your dentist about prescription whitening treatments or in-office treatments.

Proper Dental Hygiene

The easiest thing to try at home is simply following proper dental hygiene. That means using fluoride toothpaste and flossing every day. Many people can also benefit from mouth rinses.

You may be interested in trying a whitening toothpaste. Whitening toothpastes contain mild abrasives that can help remove stains. However, whitening toothpastes cannot change the color of your teeth because they only remove stains on the surface.

Bleaching Agents

Dentin is the bony tissue forming the bulk of the tooth under the enamel. The thickness of the enamel layer changes throughout our lives and gets thinner as we age. The thinner the enamel, the more yellow your teeth appear as the dentin layer dominates the final shade.

If your dentin has a yellowish tint, you’ll need to use a peroxide-bleaching agent to lighten the coloring. This, in turn, can help make your teeth appear whiter.

Some bleaching agents are available over the counter, such as paint-on whiteners or whitening strips. These are relatively cheap and effective. Be sure to look for a product that is at least 6 percent bleaching agent.

OTC treatments may not be effective if you have:

  • isolated stains, such as a single discolored tooth
  • dark stains
  • crowns
  • dental implants or other restorations

You should consult a dentist to discuss your options. Dentists can prescribe bleaching kits for home use, or they can bleach your teeth in the office. This typically involves applying a bleaching agent to your teeth and then using a special light or laser to enhance the effect of the whitening agent.

The jury is still out on the safety of the bleaching process and whether the bleaching agent might be toxic if ingested. Long-term use of bleaches or abrasive toothpastes can increase sensitivity or gum irritation. If your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold, you may want to avoid whitening agents.

Bleaching During Pregnancy

While both home and prescription products can be considered safe at this time, you should not have a bleaching procedure during pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association (APA) recommends postponing all unnecessary dental work, including whitening procedures, until after birth to prevent exposing the fetus to potentially dangerous chemicals or medications.

Part 5 of 7: Teeth Straightening

Teeth Straightening

Straightening crooked teeth can also have an effect on your smile. Some adults are candidates for Invisalign, which uses transparent trays, or aligners, to straighten the teeth.

If you have bite problems or more complex orthodontic issues, you may need traditional braces. Brackets made of tooth-colored ceramic or polycarbonate are less noticeable than stainless steel brackets. Sometimes, the brackets can be mounted on the back surface of the teeth.

Part 6 of 7: Fixing Imperfections

Fixing Imperfections

A missing, chipped, or stained tooth can be replaced with a crown or dental implant, which is an artificial tooth permanently anchored into the bone of the jaw. Porcelain veneers are pricey, but they can transform your smile after just a couple of visits to your dentist. See a cosmetic dentist to discuss your options.

Part 7 of 7: Your Dentist

Speak with Your Dentist

If you’re interested in improving your smile, speak with your dentist. They can recommend treatments you may want to try. Your dentist can also help you understand what’s covered if you have insurance.

Anti Aging Tips

Years of exposure to glossy magazine ads and slick television commercials for anti-aging serums have taught us that our faces tell our stories. They reveal damage from all those summers as a lifeguard or camp counselor, lines from a nasty breakup or two, and the perfect “11” of a furrowed brow.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Most of us fret about wrinkles as we reach middle age, yet carrying an extra dress size ages a person much more than a few wrinkles ever could. Managing weight is also a more realistic goal than getting rid of wrinkles.

Don’t Smoke

According to the Mayo Clinic, smoking can accelerate the skin’s aging process. The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the more likely you are to have wrinkling of the skin.

Quitting smoking improves your circulation, lowers your risk of developing varicose veins, reduces the likelihood of obesity, and makes exercise easier and more enjoyable. You’ll also have a better sense of taste and smell as you age, and the smell of smoke won’t cling to your hair and clothing.

Follow a Nutritious Diet

Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. It is also important to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is the one of the easiest, most effective ways to keep your skin looking healthy.

Stay Active

Participate in sports, dancing, or other activities you enjoy. Follow the federal government’s most recent Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommends that adults ages 18 to 64 should engage in two hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, combined with strength-training exercises two days a week.

Avoid Sun Exposure

Use sunscreen on your face and exposed skin every day. Wear a hat and use sunglasses to protect your eyes, since some evidence links sun exposure to later formation of cataracts. Exposure to sun also increases your risk of wrinkles or “leathery” skin.

Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep is responsible for the development of  “dark circles under the eyes” and can result in other issues like weight gain and depression. Adequate sleep is important for skin cell rejuvenation.

Consider Facial Cosmetic Enhancements

You may think about having a facial rejuvenation procedure like Botox or pursuing a surgical option such as a facelift, brow lift, or neck lift. These procedures can tighten or remove sagging skin beneath the chin, at the jawline, or around the eyes or remove puffy fat pads beneath the eyes that give you a prematurely aged look. However, these enhancements can be obvious to the trained eye if the outcome is not as good as you expected. There are also potentially very serious risk associated with these procedures. Your money might be better spent on a gym membership and healthy foods.

How to Get Long Hair ASAP

Pixie cuts, bobs, and shoulder-length hair can all perfectly frame a face, but when it comes time to grow out strands for a new style, the wait can be a real drag. Forget marking days off the calendar until you’ve achieved a Rapunzel-inspired mane—we’ve got the 411 on how to get long hair. Read on for the fastest way to grow your tresses, sans extensions.

Adjust Your Diet
“A healthy diet that incorporates a mix of protein and nutrients can improve the condition of your hair,” says celebrity hairstylist and NYC salon owner Julien Farel. He explains that balanced eating keeps follicles strong and prevents the hair from breaking easily. Dr. Gervaise Gerstner, MD, a board-certified NYC cosmetic and medical dermatologist, advises to incorporate omega-3 oils. She says, “I recommend salmon or supplements. Nuts are a good source, too, especially almonds.”

…But Don’t Overdo It
Dr. Gerstner says it’s important to keep weight stable and not avoid yo-yo dieting, as hair can be affected by extreme regimen changes in addition to stress and hormone levels.

Get Smart About Styling
It’s a fact well-acknowledged that heat can be wildly damaging to hair, especially when it’s already compromised, so limiting the use of a flat iron or curling wand to three times a week is best, says Dr. Gerstner. She also advises limiting exposure to sunlight, as it can strip the hair, and blow drying, adding, “A weekly deep conditioner masque is a good idea to keep hair as healthy as possible.” According to Farel, many hair care products include the same stripping ingredients as detergents, so it’s vital to choose wisely.

Try Vitamins and Conditioning Ingredients
“Phytantriol, arginine and fish oil, and biotin aid in the production of enzymes and hormones, which can help stimulate hair growth,” says Farel, who suggests his “hero” product line, Julien Farel Restore. The cleanse/treat/condition routine is designed to push regenerating anti-aging ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, deeper into the follicle, scalp and hair, which helps prolong the hair’s growth phase.

In addition, Dr. Gerstner recommends the use of supplements like Viviscal, which includes biotin, vitamin C, and a special complex of shark powder known as AminoMar, to help aid hair growth and scalp stimulation.

Take it Easy
Because stress can affect hair, Dr. Gerstner recommends weekly deep-tissue massages to relax body and mind. “The adrenals pump out extra cortisol when we are stressed, which leads to acne, skin inflammation, and possible hair disorders,” she says.

And you can always afford to take some time off: “Your hair is a reflection of how you feel,” says Farel. “If you are healthy, or on vacation, your hair looks great, shiny, and is easy to style.” What will our bosses say to that?

Beauty Skin Care Healthy Bodies Overview

These days, what it means to have a beautiful body focuses on two themes, in roughly equal measure. The first is the importance of being healthy—or, at least, as healthy as you can be if you’re living with a disease or chronic condition. The second theme is the importance of accepting your unique body shape and size.

Shape and Size


Most of us have a tough time, though, accepting what we perceive to be our flaws. Those who believe they’re too short look for miraculous growth formulas. But with the exception of human growth hormone administered to children of short stature under strict medical supervision, which can add 1.5 to 4 inches to a child’s adult height, the only way to increase height is to improve your posture or to wear platform shoes or high heels. People who think they’re too tall are less likely to look for a way to change their height, but they may unconsciously slouch or otherwise try to make themselves less conspicuous.

The truth of the matter is that there is no “right” height—or even a “healthy” height for that matter. And because you can’t really control your height, it’s best to do what you can to not worry about it. Sure, wear high heels if you want a couple of inches, and stick to vertical stripes to make you look longer, but don’t go crazy over it, because it’s out of your control.


On the other hand, if you’re unhappy with your weight, you can do something about it. It may take some willpower, hard work, commitment, and maybe some outside help, but losing weight is something we all can do. If you’re ready to lose weight, make sure you don’t get suckered in by any lose-weight-quick schemes; most of them are unhealthy and ineffective in the long run. Used tried-and-true methods like healthy dieting and exercise programs to shed pounds.

Weight loss has an extra benefit that goes above and beyond feeling good about fitting into a smaller size dress or shirt: even mild weight loss can prevent the onset of disease, ease symptoms for those already suffering, and even reverse the course of some chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, some types of cancer, osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction, back pain, and sleep apnea.

Weight is a touchy subject: not everyone is going to agree on an ideal body size. There are, however, some useful measures to determine your own personal “healthy weight.” The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests using the Body Mass Index (which estimates body fat) to determine whether you are in a healthy weight range for your height. Calculate your BMI by following these steps:

Multiply your weight in pounds by 703.

Divide by your height in inches.Divide by your height in inches a second time.

BMI isn’t always accurate; it may overestimate body fat for athletes and bodybuilders, and it may underestimate body fat in the elderly or others who have lost muscle. Also, children should be assessed on a different scale.


Cellulite is high on many women’s lists of unwelcome physical attributes. Women tend to have more cellulite than men because their bodies naturally have a higher percentage of fat relative to lean body mass. Cellulite is simply fat that appears near the surface of the skin. Exercise is the best way to minimize the appearance of cellulite because it bulks up lean muscle and decreases body fat, both near the surface of the skin and in the deeper layers of tissue. Don’t waste your money on “firming creams,” thigh-rolling procedures or devices, or any other means of attacking cellulite. They don’t work. Put the cash toward a pair of walking shoes instead.

Repeatedly gaining and losing weight will make cellulite appear worse, because this cycle weakens collagen fibers in connective tissue beneath the skin that acts as a girdle, of sorts, to keep fat from bulging. It’s also a good idea to stay hydrated. Just as an athlete looks more ripped when he’s dehydrated, cellulite becomes more visible on us normal folks when we don’t drink enough water.

Varicose Veins

Fine, weblike spider veins or twisted, ropelike varicose veins often appear with age, usually in the legs. Veins have one-way valves that keep blood flowing in the right direction. As these valves weaken, blood collects in the veins, causing them to balloon out to accommodate the backflow of blood. Formation of varicose and spider veins may also be related to heredity, hormonal changes, pregnancy, obesity, or lack of physical activity. Spider veins can be treated by sclerotherapy, the injection of a substance that irritates the veins and causes them to form scars that are less visible than the threadlike red or blue veins. Superficial varicose veins (those close to the skin’s surface) that pose a cosmetic problem can be surgically stripped out of the leg.

Though rare, varicose veins may be painful and can be associated with serious health problems, such as deep vein thrombosis. Seek medical attention immediately if you develop a rash near your ankle, if the skin of your calf or ankle changes color or thickens, or if you have bleeding, swelling, throbbing, pain, warmth, or tenderness near a varicose vein.

Solving Skin Care & Beauty Problems

Solving Beauty Problems

Beauty isn’t always pretty. Sometimes we’re faced with an unexpected problem, such as thinning hair. Other times we battle a problem we’ve had for years, such as acne or excessive sweating.

Such problems tend to have an unfortunate association with poor hygiene and thus carry a social stigma that can cause people extreme embarrassment. If the condition is chronic, such embarrassment can lead to emotional problems.

Thinning Hair or Balding

The most common kind of baldness is called male pattern baldness. According to Mayo Clinic, it’s caused by a combination of genetic inheritance and the presence of specific male hormones. Usually you have a receding hairline and hair loss at the crown of the head. If your hair is thinning, cutting it more often won’t make it grow faster or thicker. If you’re really confident, embrace your baldness by shaving your head. Women who are self-conscious about their thinning hair can consider wearing a wig.

Some people find that minoxidil (Rogaine), an over-the-counter topical medication, will regrow a modest amount of hair. Hair transplant or replacement is the most expensive option for men and women with thinning hair. Modern hair transplantation uses micrografting to transfer hair follicles to bald or thinning areas.

Unwanted Body Hair

Unwanted body hair can be just as distressing as baldness, particularly for women who have hair on their chin or upper lip. Shaving such hair often yields cosmetically unsatisfying results. A hair removal product may produce a better result if it doesn’t cause too much skin irritation. Another option for light-skinned people is to bleach the hair to make it less noticeable. Those with bigger budgets can consider electrolysis or laser treatments. These treatments are permanent and effective but are expensive and time-consuming ways of keeping hair from growing back.

Excessive Sweating

Chronic excessive sweating of the palms, face, armpits, or feet is a nervous system disorder known as hyperhidrosis. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, treatments for hyperhidrosis include:

  • Anticholinergic medications such as glycopyrrolate, oxybutynin, or benztropine may be useful in controlling perspiration, but they often have unacceptable side effects.
  • Use of an electrical current to disrupt sweat glands may help, but this therapy requires time-consuming daily treatments.
  • Injection of Botox into the armpits is very effective in reducing perspiration. This treatment may work on the palms and face as well, but the paralyzing effect of the drug limits its usefulness in these areas.
  • A surgical procedure can cure the condition by severing the nerves responsible for sending the signals that trigger excessive sweating. This procedure is also effective for those who blush inappropriately. However, the procedure carries several serious risks and must be performed under general anesthesia.


Most of us have had to deal with acne at some point in our lives. Acne is an inflammatory condition that occurs when glands in the hair follicles become plugged with dead skin cells and bacteria. It’s most common on the face, shoulders, back, and chest. According to Mayo Clinic, acne occurs more frequently among adolescents because hormonal changes during puberty affect the oil glands. However, it can affect a person of any age.

As with baldness, acne is primarily related to heredity and hormonal factors. It’s unrelated to poor hygiene practices. As anyone who has had it knows, acne can’t be treated or prevented simply by washing your face. Of course, if you wear makeup, make sure it’s an oil-free formulation.

Over-the-counter medications containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid may be effective in managing acne, but many people suffer with the condition far too long before consulting a dermatologist or family doctor. Prescription topical antibiotics and medications containing vitamin A (retinoids) are often highly effective. Severe, intractable acne may require treatment with isotretinoin (Accutane), an oral vitamin A preparation available by prescription. Patients who take this drug must be closely monitored for side effects, and women of childbearing age must ensure they don’t become pregnant while taking isotretinoin and for a short time afterward. The drug is known to cause birth defects. Treatment lasts about four months. The drug’s effects are dramatic, often clearing severe acne completely, and the change is usually permanent

8 Ways to Treat Sunburn at Home

Home Remedies for Sunburn

Summer’s here, and that means it’s time to head outside and soak up the sun. But along with the all those hours spent outdoors during the summer season, there usually comes one inevitable thing: sunburn. Fortunately for all of us, there are plenty of household items you can use to cool the burning, itching, and peeling that come with damage from the sun.

Keep reading to learn about home remedies that can help heal and soothe your skin

Cool Water

Sunburn, basically, is inflammation of the skin. One of the easiest ways to treat inflammation is to cool down the affected area. An effective way to immediately help sunburn, even while you’re still outside, is to hop in the water, whether it’s an ocean, lake, or stream. Dipping in and out throughout the day can help keep sunburn from worsening. Be wary of pools, as chlorinated water can irritate the skin more. You should also avoid directly applying ice. Although it may look appealing when your skin is burning, it could actually cause even more damage to your extra-sensitive sunburned skin

Baking Soda & Oatmeal

Throwing a few heaping tablespoons of baking soda into a bathtub full of cool water and soaking for about 15 to 20 minutes helps minimize sun damage. Adding a cup of oats to the bath also soothes irritation and helps the skin retain its natural moisture.

Aloe Vera

If you don’t have an aloe vera plant in your house, you should get one. The gel inside this succulent plant has been used for centuries for all sorts of ailments, from upset stomachs to kidney infections. It’s also the sunburn relief most commonly found over the counter.

Breaking off a chunk of the plant and applying the gel directly to the skin provides immediate, soothing relief from the sting of minor sunburn. If you can’t get your hands on a plant, try a 100 percent aloe vera gel (not an aloe-based lotion or ointment). You can find these gels in most pharmacies

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea can be soothing to your spirit, but it can also soothe your sunburned skin. Brew the tea as you normally would and let it cool. When it’s ready, soak a washcloth in it and apply it to the affected area.


Opinions are mixed about using vinegar for sunburn relief. Some say adding two cups of vinegar to cool bath water can help take the sting out of burn, while others say the high acidity in vinegar only makes things worse. If you haven’t used the treatment before on smaller, lighter sunburns, it’s best not to try it for larger, more serious burns.

Wear Loose Clothing

As your skin is repairing itself, make sure to wear clothing that doesn’t stick to your skin. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so it’s best to give it some room to breathe as it heals from a major traumatic episode like sunburn. Natural fibers, such as cotton or bamboo, make for the best post-sunburn coverings.

Drink Lots of Water

As your skin is battling the damage from the sun’s rays, it needs moisture that it lost during your time out in the sun. If you aren’t already drinking your eight glasses of water a day, a nasty sunburn should be reason enough to get you to start doing so.

Don’t Forget the Moisturizer

After the initial treatment, you skin will still need some tender loving care. One of the most important things you can do to prevent skin from peeling — or at least keep it to a minimum — is to regularly apply moisturizer to the affected areas. Use scent- and dye-free moisturizer (marketed for “sensitive skin”) to keep skin irritation to a minimum.

Get More Information

Stay hydrated, keep cool, and if the sunburn is too painful, you can take some ibuprofen. You should also make sure you stay covered up next time you go outside so your sunburn isn’t exposed to even more sun. Call a doctor if a sunburn causes you to have a fever or if you are showing signs of dehydration.

What You Need to Know About Tanning

What You Need to Know About Tanning

Until the advent of spray tanning and sunless tanning products, the phrase “healthy tan” was a bit of a contradiction. Tanning with ultraviolet (UV) radiation, whether it comes from the sun or from an indoor tanning bed, is dangerous. So why do more than 1 million people tan in tanning salons in the United States every day?

Understanding Ultraviolet Radiation

Many tanning myths stem from confusion about the effects of different types of UV rays. Ultraviolet radiation is part of the light spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. These wavelengths are invisible to the naked eye and include UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. While shorter UVC rays are absorbed by the ozone layer, UVA (long-wave) and UVB (shortwave) penetrate the atmosphere.

UVA Rays

UVA rays account for the majority of UV radiation that reaches the earth, and most tanning beds primarily emit UVA rays. Though less intense than UVB rays, UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply. They reach the lower layers of the epidermis where they trigger cells called melanocytes to produce melanin. This brown pigment is what causes the skin to tan, and also protects the skin from burning. People with darker skin produce more melanin and often do not burn in the sun. However, just because a person does not burn easily does not mean they are protected from skin cancer.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF), UVA also damages skin cells called keratinocytes, which are located in the deepest layer of the epidermis. This can initiate the development of skin cancer.

UVB Rays

UVB rays are the primary cause of most sunburn or skin reddening. They are more intense during certain seasons or times of day. For example, UVB rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the spring, summer, and early fall months.  However, UVB rays can burn or damage the skin at any time of year.

For some time, there was conflicting information on the potentially dangerous effects of UVA and UVB rays — scientists once believed that only shorter UVB rays were of concern. However, new evidence shows that longer UVA rays can be just as damaging to the skin and eyes. By damaging the skin’s cellular DNA, both UVA and UVB rays increase the risk for skin cancer, cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye), and premature skin aging.

Part 3 of 5: Risks

Risks Associated with Tanning

UV radiation causes premature skin aging and increases your risk for burns. If you tan, however, that’s the least of your concerns.

Tanning indisputably increases the risk of skin cancers, including a rare but deadly form of cancer called melanoma. The incidence of melanomas diagnosed at a more advanced stage is on the rise, and researchers believe indoor tanning is to blame. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), use of tanning beds increases the risk for melanoma by 75 percent, and risk increases with each use. This number gets higher for those who begin using tanning beds before the age of 35, increasing the risk for melanoma to 87 percent.

These advanced cancers are lethal. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), melanomas account for 9,700 out of an estimated 13,000 skin cancer deaths each year. Survival rates are higher (approximately 91 percent) in cases where the cancer has not metastasized (spreads to other parts of the body); however, five-year survival rates for regional and distant metastases plummet to 62 and 16 percent, respectively.

Non-melanomas, including basal and squamous cell cancers, occur both on the skin’s surface and within the deepest layers of the epidermis. These cancers are more common, and typically appear in sun-exposed areas, such as the face, ears, and neck. Unlike melanomas, these cancers rarely spread to other parts of the body.

Part 4 of 5: Myths

Myths about Tanning and Sun Exposure

Some people think only childhood sunburns are dangerous. If you had a few bad childhood sunburns, they argue, why bother to protect yourself now? The damage has been done. However, the danger of tanning is dose-related and cumulative — that is, the more UV radiation you’re exposed to over a period of time, the higher your cancer risk. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closely regulates the use of tanning beds.

Another argument is that using a tanning bed gives you a so-called base tan that allows you to avoid sunburn. But research indicates that any radiation is dangerous, whether its source is the UVA rays that tan the skin or the UVB rays that burn it.

Part 5 of 5: Sun Safety

Protecting Your Skin

So, what’s the final word on tanning? Don’t do it. Avoid tanning beds and lamps, and limit your sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UVB rays are most intense. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing when outdoors.

If you absolutely must have a deep glow, try a spray tan. The same chemical, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), is used whether you get airbrushed in a salon or apply the spray at home. Because DHA is a color additive, the safety of the agent has been reviewed and approved by the FDA. DHA is also used in sunless tanning lotions, mousses, bronzers, and moisturizers. Whether you pay a lot of money for them at a department store cosmetics counter or buy them inexpensively at a drugstore, it is up to you.

What causes chapped lips 2 possible conditions

Chapped, or cracked, lips is the term commonly used to describe dry lips. Chapped lips can be caused by a number of factors, including the weather, excessive licking of the lips, and certain medications.

Chapped lips is a very common condition that only occurs occasionally for most people. However, some people may develop a more severe form of chapped lips called cheilitis. Cheilitis, which can be caused by an infection, is characterized by cracked skin at the corners of the lips.

You can usually treat your dry lips with simple treatment and preventive measures. If your lips continue to be severely dry and cracked, you should consider making an appointment with a dermatologist.

Symptoms of Chapped Lips

You may experience any of the following common symptoms on and/or around your lips if you have chapped lips:

  • dryness
  • flaking
  • scales
  • sores
  • swelling
  • cracks
  • bleeding

What Causes Chapped Lips?

Lips don’t contain oil glands like other parts of the skin. For this reason, the lips are more susceptible to drying out and becoming chapped (cracked). Lack of moisture can make the problem worse, whether it’s weather-induced or related to a lack of self-care. Lack of humidity in the air during the winter months is known to cause chapped lips. Frequent sun exposure in the summer can also worsen your condition.

Another common cause of chapped lips is habitual licking. Saliva from the tongue can further strip the lips of moisture, causing more dryness.

Risk Factors for Chapped Lips

People of all ages and genders can get chapped lips, particularly if they have dry skin.

Taking certain medications can also increase your risk of developing chapped lips. Medications and supplements that can cause chapped lips in some people include:

  • vitamin A
  • retinoids (Retin-A, Differin)
  • lithium (commonly used to treat bipolar disorder)
  • chemotherapy drugs

People who suffer from dehydration and malnutrition are also more likely to have chapped lips than other people. You should call a doctor if either of these are associated with your chapped lips — dehydration and malnutrition are both serious conditions that require immediate medical attention.

When to Seek Medical Treatment


If the severe dryness and cracking doesn’t improve with self-care measures, you should see a dermatologist. Cheilitis is often to blame for severely chapped lips. This is a condition marked by cracked skin at the mouth corners, as well as several cracks on your lips.

If you have this condition, your lips may:

  • be dark pink or red in color
  • have a lumpy texture
  • develop ulcers
  • have white plaques on the surface

Cheilitis is often attributed to infections and inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. Dental trauma and excessive saliva production may also turn a regular case of chapped lips into cheilitis, as bacteria can enter through the cracks and cause an infection. Adults and children who have orthodontic braces, wear dentures, or use pacifiers are all susceptible to developing cheilitis.

A dermatologist can determine whether your dry lips are simply chapped or if you have cheilitis.

Dehydration and Malnutrition

Dry lips can also be caused by dehydration or malnutrition.

Dehydration causes symptoms such as lightheadedness, constipation, decreased urine production, dry mouth, and headache. In severe cases, a person suffering from dehydration may experience low blood pressure, fever, rapid breathing, or a rapid heartbeat.

Malnutrition is characterized by many of the same symptoms as dehydration, but can also cause muscle weakness, decaying teeth, a bloated stomach, and bone fragility. Malnutrition can be caused by vitamin deficiencies, so those on limited diets (for example, vegetarians) need to make sure that they are getting enough of the vitamins they need.

Alcoholics, in particular, are more susceptible to malnutrition due to vitamin deficiencies because excessive alcohol use can interfere with their body’s vitamin absorption. Older adults are also at higher risk for malnutrition because decreased appetite is common among seniors.

If you suspect that you are dehydrated or malnourished, see your doctor immediately.

How to Treat and Prevent Chapped Lips

Chapped lips can usually be treated at home. The first step is to make sure that your lips have enough moisture. This can be accomplished by:

  • applying lip balm throughout the day, as needed
  • drinking more water
  • using a humidifier in the home
  • avoiding cold weather conditions or wrapping your mouth with a scarf

Sun exposure can also cause chapped lips, especially as you age. Apply a lip balm that contains a minimum SPF of 15 before heading outdoors. The balm itself helps to moisturize the lips, while the sunscreen minimizes further drying effects.

How To Make Lip Balm Lip Balm Recipe

This is my favorite lip balm recipe that I am sharing with you. I am addicted to lip balm and put loads on during the day. I can never have enough around. I get my lip balm in my purse, in the car, in the pocket of every coat, by my computer, and the list goes on. This lip balm is also great used on your cuticles.


Phase 1:

Break Phase 1 solids (beeswax, coconut oil, shea butter, aloe vera butter, cocoa butter) into smaller pieces. This speeds up the melting process.

In a heat-proof glass container (a pyrex measuring cup will work), add the pieces of solid oils. Place the container in a shallow pan of water over low heat (the water level should come up to about half way up the sides). Simmer the water gently, and let the solids melt until liquefied. Once melted, remove from heat. NOTE: Use caution and never heat over direct heat.

Phase 2:

Add Phase 2 oils to the hot melted oils; stir together to blend. Be careful not to burn yourself. Oils and wax get hot very quickly and the temperature can climb higher than you suspect.

Phase 3

Add Phase 3 ingredients (vitamin E and essential oil). Stir to blend together. Be careful when adding essential oil, as they can be overpowering. I like to just faintly scent my lip balms. You may substitute for any flavor you prefer.

Pour into ¼-or ½-ounce containers of your choice and let cool thoroughly before placing lids. Don’t let the mixture cool too much before pouring. If the lip balm begins to solidify and clings to the edges of the pot or measuring cup, quickly reheat the oil. NOTE? You can purchase disposable droppers (pipettes) for getting the hot solution into the containers.

Lip balm tubes will hold about .15 ounces of product.

Lip balm pots will hold about .25 ounces of product.

Once the solution cools there will be a slight indentation from shrinkage

Making your own lip balm and/or gloss is simple, very economical, and it is truly rewarding. By making your own lip balm, you know what products are going into it, and that you are using safe ingredients. I have made my own lip balms for several years now. They also make great gifts.

Bumps on Lips

What Are Bumps on Lips?

bzFrom an allergic reaction to oral cancer, there are many possible causes of lip bumps. Lip bumps can visually range from red and irritated, to flesh-toned and hardly noticeable to anyone but you.

Recognizing potential causes of lip bumps can help you determine if a condition is cause for concern or simply a harmless skin variation.

What Causes Bumps on Lips?

Bumps on the lips can range in size, color, and texture. Causes may include acute and chronic conditions. Examples of causes of bumps on the lips include:

  • allergic reaction
  • bacterial infections
  • canker sores (or cold sores)
  • Fordyce granules, harmless white spots
  • hand, foot, and mouth disease
  • milia (a tiny benign cyst or “milk spot”)
  • mucoceles, or bumps that form when the salivary glands are blocked
  • oral cancer
  • oral herpes
  • oral thrush
  • perioral dermatitis, a face rash due to skin irritation

While many lip bumps are harmless, conditions like oral cancer can have serious health risks.

Discover the six best cold sore remedies »

Part 3 of 6: Seeking Help

When to Seek Medical Help

Seek emergency medical care if you experience the following symptoms along with bumps on your lips:

  • bleeding on your lips that will not stop
  • difficulty breathing
  • sudden swelling of your lips
  • breaking out into a rash that spreads rapidly

Make an appointment to see your doctor if you experience these symptoms:

  • bumps that are very painful
  • bumps that bleed
  • bumps that worsen over time or seem to be enlarging
  • jaw swelling
  • a soft, white patchy area on your lips
  • tongue numbness

Part 4 of 6: Diagnosis

How Are Bumps on Lips Diagnosed?

A doctor will conduct a health history when you seek medical treatment. Your doctor will likely ask if you have risk factors for lip bumps, such as smoking, sun exposure, taking new medications, or any allergens you may have been exposed to.

A physical examination typically follows. A doctor will look at your lips and ask you about your symptoms. You may be asked when you first noticed the bumps, your pain level, and any changes you may have noticed.

Your doctor may recommend further testing, including:

  • taking a blood test to detect viruses or bacteria
  • testing the skin cells (by a biopsy) for the presence of cancer
  • X-ray imaging to view the mouth and jaw to detect abnormalities

In the cases of simple conditions like thrush and oral herpes, a doctor can often make a diagnosis solely through a visual examination.

Part 5 of 6: Treatment

How Are Bumps on Lips Treated?

Treatment for bumps on the lips depends upon its cause. Doctors can prescribe medications to treat infections. These include anti-fungal and anti-viral medications along with antibiotics.

Allergic reactions and dermatitis may be treated with antihistamine medications to reverse inflammatory reactions. These can include pills or creams to reduce discomfort.

While conditions such as canker sores and oral herpes can be treated, they can’t be permanently cured. You may get them again at a future time.

Oral cancer can involve more extensive treatments, like surgery to remove the cancerous lesion. Further medications and radiation treatments may be needed to prevent the cancer from spreading.

Part 6 of 6: At-Home Care

How Do I Care for Bumps on Lips at Home?

Do not neglect good oral hygiene habits when you have lip bumps. This includes brushing your teeth at least two to three times a day and flossing at least once a day. If you have an infection that’s causing the bumps on your lips, replace your toothbrush once the infection has healed.

You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers to minimize pain and discomfort associated with bumps on the lips. Rinsing and spitting with a warm saltwater solution can also help minimize inflammation and irritation.

Refrain from irritating or picking at the skin on your lips. This can affect your healing time and make you vulnerable to infection. Follow your doctor’s directions for treating the bumps and be sure not to disturb the affected area.

What Are White Bumps on Lips?

Your lips help you communicate with the world. When you have white bumps on them, you may naturally feel self-conscious. These bumps can have various causes. While most aren’t concerning, sometimes white bumps can indicate oral cancer. Seeking medical attention can ensure you stay as healthy as possible. What Causes White Bumps on Lips?

Numerous causes can lead to white bumps on the lips. These include:

  • Fordyce spots: These harmless, tiny (1 to 2 mm) white bumps inside the lips are visible sebaceous or oil-producing glands. These spots tend to get bigger as a person gets older. A person may have one small bump or as many as 100 bumps on the lips, typically on the inner portion.
  • herpes simplex: Oral herpes can cause white bumps or canker sores on the lips. These may first appear as small sores then become blistered and fluid-filled.
  • milia: Common in babies, milia are small, white bumps that occur when small, dead skin cells becomes trapped in the skin. While milia most commonly occur on the face, they also can appear on the lips.
  • oral cancer: A white bump may appear on the face as flat or raised in texture. The bump is usually painless at first but may eventually start to bleed or ulcerate. Sun exposure, alcohol abuse, tobacco use (especially chewing tobacco), and the human papillomavirus (HPV) are all known oral cancer causes.
  • oral thrush: Oral thrush is a fungal infection that causes white lesions on the lips, mouth, gums, or tonsils. The fungus Candida albicans is the most common fungal strain to cause oral thrush.

Sometimes white bumps on the lips are a harmless genetic variation. Just as some people have moles or birthmarks, others may have white bumps on the lips.

See photos of oral thrush, a yeast infection that develops inside your mouth »

Part 3 of 6: Seeking Help

When to Seek Medical Help

White bumps on the lips are rarely a cause to seek emergency medical attention. However, you may wish to make an appointment with your doctor if you have the following symptoms along with white bumps on the lips:

  • bumps that are painful
  • bumps that bleed
  • feeling as if something is caught in your throat
  • jaw or neck swelling
  • numbness of your tongue
  • trouble chewing or swallowing
  • fever or sore throat

If your white bumps don’t go away after two weeks, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Part 4 of 6: Diagnosis

How Are White Bumps on Lips Diagnosed?

A doctor will take a full medical history and conduct a physical exam to view the white bumps on your lips. The doctor will feel your face and jaw for swelling and examine your lips and the insides of your lips. They will also examine your neck for lymph node swelling.

If needed, your doctor may swab your lip. This is known as a culture. A laboratory can test the culture to determine if bacteria, viruses, or fungi may be causing the bumps. If a doctor suspects you may have oral cancer, a tissue sample may be collected to test for cancerous cells.

In many cases, a doctor may be able to diagnose the white bumps on your lips by a visual examination. Blood tests can also determine if the herpes virus is present.

Part 5 of 6: Treatment

How Are White Bumps on Lips Treated?

Treatment for white bumps on the lips depends on the cause of your symptoms. Some conditions, such as Fordyce spots, do not require any treatment. However, if you don’t like the appearance of your Fordyce spots, removal is possible. Doctors can use techniques such as electrosurgery or laser treatments to remove them.

Thrush is often treated with anti-fungal medications, such as a liquid solution you swish in your mouth and swallow.

Antiviral medications can temporarily eliminate your oral herpes symptoms, but they won’t permanently cure the viral infection.

Oral cancers require different treatments based on the condition’s severity. Treatments can include surgical removal of the affected lesion, chemotherapy, or radiation to stop the cancer’s spread.

Part 6 of 6: At-Home Care

How Do I Care for White Bumps on Lips at Home?

Regardless of the cause of white bumps on your lips, avoid picking at them. This can cause the area to appear more irritated and increase the potential for infection.

With your doctor’s permission, you may wish to apply an ointment to your lips to keep them from getting too dry and painful. Rinsing with warm saltwater can also help minimize irritation. Mix a half-teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and swish the water in your mouth before spitting it out.