Chaps, are flaws or cracks which appear on the skin, and are induced by various circumstances.
Chaps in the face generally proceed from the action of external cold ; which, by impeding the perspiration of this part, or contracting the fibres unequally, causes them to be drawn asunder; so that a fissure succeeds, which produces very uneasy sensations ; and is often attended with acute pain. In order to prevent or remove such chaps, the face ought never to be suddenly exposed to the cold air, after leaving the fire-side, or a warm room : nor should such part be washed with common soap. Previously to retiring to bed, it may be anointed with unscented pomatum, which should not be removed till the following morning ; or honey-water may be preferably applied, and suffered to dry; care being taken to cleanse the part from dust and other impurities
Chaps in the lips, frequently arise from the same cause as those of the face ; though the former sometimes occur in scrophulous habits, or are occasioned by acrid humours settling on the part affected; in consequence of which the lips are apt to swell on each side of the wounded spot. When the complaint is attributed to cold, the treatment above stated will generally effect a cure: in scrophulous cases, a course of medicine, adapted to the nature of that disease, can alone remove the external affection. But, where acrid humours are the immediate cause, it will be proper to procure medical advice. - The following salve may, in the opinion of Dr. Shaw, be advantageously applied to the lips, in either of the cases above specified : - Let 2 scruples of the bark of alkanet, and 1 1/2 ; oz. of oil of sweet almonds, be simmered together over a gentle fire; then strain the liquor; add 3 drams of white wax, 1 dram of spermaceti; and 1 scruple of the expressed oil of mace ; when the whole should be formed into an ointment.
Lastly, if chaps in the hands originate from scrothula, the treatment suggested for similar affections of the LIPS maybe advantageously adopted ; but, where they are occasioned either by cold, the use of hard writer, or of soap containing quick-lime, the hands may be anointed with the fat of geese ; or rather be managed in the manner stated vol. ii. p. 427- Should, however, such fissures extend to a considerable depth, and be very difficult to heal, it will be proper to apply digestive ointment, and to treat them as simple wounds.