Community Blog

FAQs About Chapped Lips in Elderly Adults

By Amy Felman

A lot of different elements and conditions combine to create chapped lips. Dry, flaky and painful, chapped lips can disrupt daily life and lead to pain in eating, talking, kissing and even sleeping. When seniors and family caregivers learn how to take better care of this delicate skin, the days of chapped lips will be a distant memory.


Many people have a lot of questions about chapped lips, such as what causes them and how to prevent them. For dependent seniors who rely on family caregivers and senior care providers to take care of them and assist with daily needs, they will need help and frequent reminders on what to do. Here is a list of common questions about chapped lips that everyone can learn from:


Q: What causes chapped lips?

A: The skin of the lips is very thin, and if there isn’t enough moisture in the layers, the skin quickly dries out. Any exposure or activity that helps the lips lose moisture is considered a cause. This can include licking lips, going out into a cold wind, and exposure to hot and dry air such as by a fireplace. All these can damage the protective barrier in the lips and leads to pain and suffering.


Q: Why do seniors get chapped lips all the time?

A: Anyone can develop chapped lips, but seniors are at a higher risk because their skin is different than what they had before. It’s more difficult for their bodies to replenish lost moisture. With age, the skin grows thinner, making a perfect situation for seniors to develop chapped lips.


Q: How do you treat chapped lips?

A: When the lips are chapped, the goal is to restore moisture, lock it in and prevent it from going away again. A quality lip moisturizer is a good place to begin. Seniors need to wear the lip balm over several days, reapplying it frequently. It must be re-applied after eating as well.


Q: How can family caregivers and senior care providers help prevent chapped lips in seniors?

A: There are lots of small things that seniors can do to reduce the symptoms of chapped lips or prevent them in the first place. The aging adult needs to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. They can also help the elderly adult pick lip balms with sunscreen in it. Finally, seniors may need to be reminded not to lick their lips if they feel dry as this removes the protective layer on the lips, making it easier to dry them out.


Q: Can chapped lips lead to sores and cracks?

A: Without treatment, chapped lips can certainly lead to more pain and harm. Cracked lips can interfere with walking, talking, eating and drinking. It’s best to prevent chapped lips from happening in the first place, but if they do develop cracks or sore, elderly adults can apply extra balm and consult with their doctor.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring senior care in Cheswick, PA, please call the caring staff at Home Helpers. Call today (412) 364-4663.