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Reasons Why Your Lips Get Dry During Pregnancy


Reasons Why Your Lips Get Dry During Pregnancy

Image Source: Tetiana Mandziuk / Shutterstock

Reasons Why Your Lips Get Dry During Pregnancy

Pregnancy brings about various changes in the body, such as nausea, fatigue, sore breasts, mood swings, and frequent urination. However, one often overlooked aspect is the effect of pregnancy on the skin. Research indicates that up to 90% of pregnant women may experience skin changes, including dry lips, ranging from mild to severe. 

During pregnancy, you may observe increased flakiness in your skin, or patches of dryness that do not respond to your regular skincare routine. This dryness can affect your entire face and may also be concentrated in specific areas like the lips. Fortunately, there are explanations for dry skin during pregnancy, and it can be addressed. Below, we consult with Tarek Shaath, MD, FAAD, and Munira Dudhbhai, MD, FACOD, the founder of Lewisville Women’s Care, who explain the causes of dry skin during pregnancy and how to address them. 

What causes dry skin during pregnancy?

“Hormonal fluctuations, changes in blood volume, and increased nutritional demands during pregnancy can collectively contribute to dry skin and lips [during pregnancy],” notes Dudhbhai. These hormonal changes can result in reduced oil production, leading to dry skin, as explained by Shaath, medical director of Care Dermatology. “Increased blood flow to the skin can contribute to dryness,” adds Shaath. 

How can you relieve dry lips during pregnancy?

Dry skin can trigger other issues such as itchiness, redness, or sensitivity. Fortunately, there are many effective remedies for dry skin during pregnancy. Dudhbhai suggests staying hydrated and using a humidifier, which helps maintain moisture in the air, preventing skin dryness.

Shaath recommends using a hypoallergenic lip balm with shea butter, beeswax, or coconut oil if your lips feel drier than usual. Our experts advise avoiding products with potential irritants or harsh chemicals to minimize the risk of further dryness. If you are particularly sensitive to fragrances, opt for an unscented lip balm to reduce the potential for irritation. During pregnancy, our experts recommend choosing lip (and skin) products containing naturally derived, nourishing ingredients. Therefore, the shorter the ingredient list, the better. 

It is expected for your skin to undergo changes during pregnancy. While some dry skin is normal, you can manage and prevent it by following these steps:

Using a lip balm frequently

In addition to maintaining a gentle skincare routine, Shaath suggests using a lip balm proactively, especially in dry or cold conditions. The combination of pregnancy and dry or cold climates may lead to severely chapped lips, so applying lip balm in the morning, as needed throughout the day, and before bedtime should help combat this. However, it is important to maintain a balance. Applying lip balm too frequently may have the opposite effect, further drying your lips. 

Focusing on diet and hydration

Given that dehydration can cause dry lips, Dudhbhai emphasizes the significance of staying hydrated throughout the day. Pregnant individuals should aim for 8-10 glasses of water daily. “You should also try to eat foods rich in vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, which support skin health,” Dudhbhai adds. 

When are dry lips a cause for concern?

“Generally, dry lips alone are not a cause for concern,” Dudhbhai explains. “However, if accompanied by severe dehydration, it could indicate an issue.” Severe dry lips could be indicative of hyperemesis gravidarum, which refers to intense nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. According to Dudhbhai, symptoms of hyperemesis include severe nausea, frequent vomiting, dehydration, weight loss, and electrolyte imbalances. Individuals experiencing hyperemesis may struggle to retain food and fluids, leading to fatigue and weakness. In many instances, individuals with hyperemesis may require hospitalization for further medical care. Therefore, if you are dealing with frequent dry lips and displaying symptoms of hyperemesis, it is important to consult your doctor. 

Tips for staying hydrated during pregnancy

While dry lips could indicate a serious issue, it can often be addressed by simply increasing your water intake. Here are some tips for staying hydrated during pregnancy:

Sip water throughout the day

Throughout pregnancy, it is advisable to sip water consistently. If you do not enjoy plain water, consider adding some fruit, flavored water, or decaffeinated tea to your diet, as these liquids can help keep you energized and hydrated throughout the day, preventing dry lips and skin.

Consume more fruits and vegetables

Many fruits and vegetables contain ample water levels, which can supplement your diet and keep you hydrated throughout the day. Good examples include cucumber, tomatoes, oranges, and watermelon. 

Set reminders

When in doubt, set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to keep drinking water. You may want to set it to go off every hour.

Check your urine

Dudhbhai recommends monitoring your urine color to gauge your hydration status. Pale yellow urine indicates proper hydration, which should be the goal. If your urine appears dark, then it is advisable to increase your water intake as well as your consumption of fruits and vegetables. If you have any concerns, always consult your healthcare provider.

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