Wait, Could Toothpaste Be Causing Your Chronic Chapped Lips?

Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

From Seventeen

The quest to uncover the cause of your perpetually dry lips can sometimes seem impossible. Is it the winter air? The matte lipstick you've been rocking lately? A strange curse you inherited and are destined to live with forever?

One Reddit user think they've pinpointed a major culprit behind chapped lips: toothpaste. "Chapped lips have been the bane of my existence since my childhood," dannelinflannel declared in a post. "I was a chronic Chapstick user and nothing I did seemed to make it better."

So the Redditor started experimenting with personal-care products to see if anything could help. They came away with a surprising discovery: When they switched to a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth, the chapping quickly cleared up.

"I picked up a travel size Sensodyne Pronamel (because let's face it changing toothpastes is a big decision) and switched to using just a thin layer of Vaseline on my lips twice a day," dannelinflannel wrote. "Oh my god - the difference it has made in just a week, and it's the middle of a pretty cold winter here!"

Other Reddit users came forward to affirm that switching to sensitive toothpaste solved their chapped-lip troubles, too.

Could regular toothpaste really be wreaking havoc on people's pouts? Neil Sadick M.D., a clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College, told Seventeen.com that some toothpaste ingredients have been known to leave lips flaky.

"People do occasionally develop hypersensitivity to toothpaste that can lead to a chapped appearance," Dr. Sadick explained to Seventeen. "Sometimes there's an allergy to sodium laureate sulfate" - a foaming agent - "or to a component called cinnamaldehyde."

A toothpaste's base formula also can worsen dryness. "Different toothpastes have different bases that can be more hydrating or less hydrating," Dr. Sadick said. "If someone happens to be using a toothpaste with a less-hydrating base, they can develop chapping or scaling."

His advice: If you suspect your toothpaste is causing your flaky lips, try another brand with an ingredients list that looks as different as possible. "If you stop using your regular toothpaste and your lips get better, you know that you have some hypersensitivity to one of the components in that toothpaste," he said.

Sensodyne ProNamel, the brand that seems to have helped Reddit user dannelinflannel beat severe chapping, does not contain sodium laureth sulfate. "I never in a million years would have guessed my toothpaste was to blame," they wrote. So that might be a good place to start. If chapping persists or worsens, however, have a dermatologist check you out.

[H/T: Refinery29]

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