Lips are an essential part of the body. We use it to eat, speak, whistle, sing, play musical instruments and, of course, kiss.
Most people don't usually put much thought about their lips, even though it can influence people's perception of how attractive or successful one is.
Studies have shown that lips play a vital role in choosing a mate, as they entice potential partners to come close enough to exchange key biological information through pheromones.
Perhaps this is why the lipstick industry is a multi-million dollar business.
So it's no wonder that some people freak out when they wake up and see white stuff on their lips. This white film doesn't just appear in the morning either.
Numerous women have complained about this white stuff when they retouch their lipstick or after talking a lot.
Some people don't think much about this white film while others feel really bothered by it.
Both reactions are logical and normal, although it does raise the question – what is this white stuff on our lips when we wake up in the morning? And more importantly, how do we get rid of it?
What Causes White Stuff (Chapped Lips) to Appear on Lips?
No one really knows for certain why white stuffs on lips appear or what it is scientifically called. However, a myriad reasons have been given for its occurrence. Here are some common explanations given for the white stuff that appears on the lips in the morning:
1. Increased Saliva Production
Drooling while sleeping is a common occurrence. We have all experienced waking up to find that a white crust has formed either on our lips or its edges. This is due to saliva that has leaked out and hardened while we were sleeping on our sides.
When we sleep on our backs, the saliva just settles at the back of the throat and later drains down.
2. Candida or Yeast Infection.
Our bodies are also home to the candida fungus, a type of yeast that lives in small amounts in our skin mouth or belly without causing any problems. However, this fungus can also grow out of control and cause an infection.
Candida yeast can spread in the mouth and cause trush, which can appear as white patches on the lip, the tongue and gums.
This infection is often seen in newborns, people with weakened immune systems, and the elderly. It can also develop in adults who are being treated for cancer, have diabetes, wear dentures or are taking medications like antibiotics.
3. Chapped or Dry Lips.
Lips don't have sweat glands, and since these glands help keep the skin supple and moisturized, the lack of it means lips tend to dry out faster, leaving lips chapped and dry.
Chapped lips can cause white stuff to appear as the skin breaks up. Dry and chapped lips can be further exacerbated by cold weather, exposure to too much sunlight, smoking, and vitamin deficiency.
4. Increased dead skin cells on lips.
An increased amount of dead skin cells can result in the appearance of white stuff on the lips in the morning.
Otolaryngologist Dr. Stacey Silvers explained that the white, slimy substance that is found on the inside of the lips is the oral mucosa that has peeled away.
Like other skin cells, the oral mucosa will shed as new mucosal cells develop. The condition can be aggravated by the use of certain toothpastes or mouthwashes.
Should I be Worried About It?
A person's lips, teeth, and breath can signal diseases and medical problems beyond what one's dentist can diagnose. However, the white stuff on lips hardly counts as an emergency as more often than not, it is just dead skin cells sloughing off.
A simple gargle or brushing of the teeth and lips can fix the problem. It should be emphasized though, that regular visits to the doctor and the dentist is still essential.
How to Get Rid of White Stuff on Lips
People who experience waking up with white stuff of their lips have found that simple changes can make a difference. Here are seven ways to get rid of the white film on lips:
1. Don't smoke and avoid alcohol. Aside from changing the color of your lips or giving you bad breath, they can also dry your lips.
2. Increase water intake. Prevent dehydration and ensure that your mouth is often moist by drinking plenty of water and electrolytes, especially if you have a fever or diarrhea.
3. Eat yogurt. Eating a natural probiotic like yogurt can help kill the bacteria responsible for the white coating on lips. You can also apply yogurt generously on your lips to prevent coated lips and stop it from becoming sticky.
5. Cucumber helps cool lips and make it supple. Cucumber is great for lips that have suffered from dehydration. Apply some grated cucumber or cucumber juice on your lips. Leave it for 10 to 15 minutes before washing if off with water.
6. Change your toothpaste. We might not be aware of it, but the mouthwash and toothpaste that we use could be too strong for our sensitive mouth. Try switching oral care products and see if the white substance on your lips will lessen.
7. Exfoliate. Since the white stuffs on our lips are often caused by dead mucosal cells, exfoliating it with a simple lip scrub will get rid of the old cells.
How to Make a Moisturizing Lip Scrub
While beauty bars offer various lip scrubs, making your own at home isn't that hard to do. All you will need is sugar and a few other ingredients. Here are the steps for an easy moisturizing lip scrub.
1. Put 2-3 teaspoons of sugar in a small bowl.
- 2. Add 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil.
- 3. Mix thoroughly. Mixture can become too runny or dry. Add more sugar or oil until mixture becomes well incorporate.
- 4. You can add a few drops of essential oil if you prefer (ex. orange, vanilla, rose).
- 5. Apply mixture on the lips and gently scrub it around the area.
- 6. Let it sit for one minute before wiping it off with a damp cloth.
- 7. Apply lip balm.
Having white stuff on the lips in the morning or appearing during the day can be weird or uncomfortable. But it's nothing to worry about since it's probably caused by dryness or dead skin cells.
Taking care of our lips by staying hydrated and moisturizing regularly will prevent white stuff from forming on our lips and keep it soft and smooth.
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