While Americans spend a lot of time (and money) protecting their overall skin, they often overlook one crucial part of the face - their lips. The skin on the lips is very thin and fragile, which is why caring for them on a regular basis is important.

The Problem: Cracked and peeling lips Your lips are exposed to extreme temperatures, sun and wind, which causes moisture loss (whether you are walking outside in the summer or winter, sunbathing, waterskiing, snowboarding, or ice skating). Cracked lips are found among people living under dry and humid weather conditions or staying long hours in centrally heated or air-conditioned rooms.

The Treatment: Refrain from the common reaction of licking your lips - instead, help them retain their natural moisture by using a quality lip balm with an SPF if possible. Great products include: Clinique Superbalm, Labello and Neutrogena Lip Moisturizer. Exfoliate lips on a regular basis using Smashbox Emulsion Lip Exfoliant, or Philosophy Kiss Me Exfoliating Lip Scrub.

The Problem: Aging LipsMany patients seek treatment when they find they cannot get rid of the wrinkles, lines, and creases which emerge on their lips. They become annoyed as these lines cause their lipsticks to bleed and feather. These effects are fixable and occur because the lips aren't producing enough circulation or collegen. Without proper care however, lips can age prematurely.

The Treatment: Philosophy Hope In A Tube Eye & Lip Cream or Caudalie Contour Cream Eyes and Lips

The Problem: Chemical Reactions Most common chemical reactions can impact lips and take place around the mouth when something in our lipstick, gum, toothpaste or mouthwash doesn't agree with our skin. Chemical reactions happen when there is sensitivity to one of the ingredients or preservatives in the products used.

Once diagnosed as having a problem/chemical reaction, I recommend a dermatologist perform a patch test. The results of which will determine what you are allergic to.

The Problem: Cold Sores Cold sores usually present as blisters or crusted bubbles. They can also appear on our lips as scabbed, inflamed bumps. There may be a clear fluid with a small amount of puss. Cold sores are caused by a herpes simplex type 1 or type 2 virus. Cold sores must be distinguished from allergic reactions or to indiopathic ulcers or to a blister aphtha.

How to treat and prevent: Cold sores can be treated with topical antiviral ointments that your dermatologist can prescribe including Acyclovir or Denevir or oral antiviral Acyclovir or Famir. Cold sores can be highly contagious, so it's wise to avoid direct contact. Try drying the lesions with gauze soaked in saline or salt water. Also, a dermatologist may suggest Burrow's Solution which can be purchased from the pharmacy.

While cold sores can be embarrassing, they are also very contagious. Seek treatment from a dermatologist for the best path to recovery.

Dr. Neil Sadick is one of the most renowned dermatologists and researchers whose multiple discoveries have strongly influenced and transformed the future of dermatology. He is a Professor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College and President of the Cosmetic Surgery Foundation. Dr. Sadick is author, or co-author, of more than 500 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and has contributed more than 75 chapters of medical books. Read more at