What do Your Lips Say About Your Health?

Your chosen lipstick shade makes a major statement about your style, but in their naked state, your lips could be tipping you off to some health issues. Here are the symptoms doctors say are harmless — and the ones you need to pay attention to.

Symptom #1: Dry and chapped

You’re probably dehydrated, so instead of swiping on another layer of lip balm, pour yourself a tall glass of water instead and tackle the problem from the inside out.

And if you lick your lips, resist the urge, warns Dr. Robert A. Kominiarek, DO. Your saliva may just dry out your skin, making your lips dryer and more likely to crack. Still rough after rehydrating? Try exfoliating and moisturizing your lips.

Symptom #2: Cracked at the edges

You could have a yeast infection (don’t worry, not that kind of yeast infection). It’s an easily fixable problem. Simply see your primary care physician or dermatologist for an anti-yeast medication.

Symptom #3: Discoloration

The hidden problems range from the harmless (you ate a colorful lollipop) to the severe (liver disease). See your doctor if the discoloration isn’t going away or if it’s accompanied by other symptoms. One more cause: smoking. That sounds like one more reason to quit for us.

Symptom #4: Swelling

If you have a swollen tongue, burning lips, hives on your skin, or an itchy throat, seek medical help immediately — you could be having a serious reaction to something you’ve eaten or come in contact with.

Symptom #5: Paleness

Lack of sun exposure can cause pale lips. Use this as your excuse to take a walk in the sun — just don’t skip the sunscreen. If you’re also experiencing paleness elsewhere, you should see your doctor test for anemia or cancer.

So, what should your lips look like?

With so many potentially negative symptoms, it’s tough to know what’s normal. Make sure to drink plenty of water, use lip moisturizers and balms, and visit the doctor if you have any non-healing lesions.

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