Chapped lips characterize a common, usually minor condition in which the skin on the lips become dry and cracked and potentially bleed. Lips are most likely to become chapped during cold and dry weather.
The Cause of Chapped Lips
Your lips become chapped most often when they (at least temporarily) lose the outer layer of oil and have been drained of moisture. Cold, dry weather can do this to your lips, especially after prolonged exposure. Nervous habits of licking the lips can also cause chapped lips (as can constantly wetting them--water alone is not the antidote), as can some illnesses.
The Symptoms of Chapped Lips
Chapped lips may become pale as they're covered by a white layer of dry skin. They feel dry to the touch. Cracks within the lips become highly visible and may become larger. The cracks may split, and you may experience minor bleeding or skin peeling.
The need you may experience to reapply lip balm throughout the day does not automatically indicate that you have chapped lips, as you may become accustomed to the moisturized feeling and simply require additional application of the balm to feel comfortable. Nevertheless, this is a good habit; you can keep lips that are actually chapped at bay by keeping your lips moist and medicated with lip balm throughout the day.