Suffering from dry, chapped lips? You should know you’re not alone. Most people have experienced chapped lips at least once! The good news is while chapped lips can be visually unpleasant and in some cases, painful, there are simple yet effective remedies that can help.
Chapped lips can typically be treated through remedies and by taking the right preventive measures. That said, if your lips continue to be severely dry and cracked, you should book an appointment with your doctor. In the meantime, let’s take a look at the effective remedies for getting rid of chapped lips to help you get relief.
What Causes Chapped Lips?
Before diving into specific remedies, it’s important to have an understanding of what causes chapped lips in the first place. First, the lips are more vulnerable to dryness because the skin on the lips is much thinner and more delicate compared to the skin on the rest of your face.
Further, Medical News Today explains the skin on the lips doesn’t have oil glands which means they can’t produce moisture making them even more susceptible to dryness. Environmental factors can cause chapped lips including cool and dry air and sun damage. Certain medications, drying ingredients in lip products, and developing a habit of licking your lips can also cause chapped lips. So, if you suffer from dry lips, let’s take a look at ways you can treat them.
Begin by Exfoliating Your Lips
Before moisturizing your lips you’ll want to gently exfoliate your lips to remove the dead skin cells. Dry and chapped lips can cause your skin to lift and flake. Removing this skin can make your treatments more effective because the moisturizer can get to the new skin underneath.
Healthline recommends making a homemade lip scrub and it’s easy to do too! The source recommends combining 1-tablespoon exfoliant (such as sugar or salt) with 1-tablespoon emollient (such as honey or oil). Using a cotton swab, gently exfoliate your lips with the mixture and then remove with a damp washcloth.
Choose Moisturizing Lip Balms
Now that your lips are exfoliated, you’re ready to moisturize! When choosing a lip balm, look at the ingredients list and look for one that contains moisturizing ingredients.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says dermatologists recommend ingredients such as petroleum, beeswax, and ceramides. Hemp seed oil, castor seed oil, mineral oil, and shea butter are also moisturizing ingredients. Finally, to protect your lips from the sun, the source says to look for ingredients such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide.
Ingredients to Avoid in a Lip Balm
In addition to ingredients to look for, there are some ingredients that you’re best off avoiding if you want to keep your lips moisturized. Ingredients like menthol, camphor, and phenol are common drying ingredients in lip balms, says Medical News Today. The source also says, “Avoid scented and flavored lip products, as these ingredients can also dry out the lips.”
The AAD recommends a few other ingredients to avoid such as eucalyptus, lanolin, propyl gallate, salicylic acid, and oxybenzone. Flavorings such as cinnamon, citrus, mint, and peppermint can also be “especially irritating to dry, chapped lips,” says the source.
The lips have poor barrier function, especially compared to the other skin on your body. This makes your lips more sensitive to heat, cold, and wind. One way to protect your lips is with coconut oil.
According to this study, not only is coconut oil moisturizing, but it can also protect your lips by strengthening its barrier function. Apply coconut oil with a clean finger or cotton swab throughout the day to keep them protected and moisturized.
Honey has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for many health ailments. There are even studies that say it has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties making it a must-try remedy for chapped lips.
Healthline says, “honey can help moisturize your lips and protect cracked lips from infection.” It’s also a mild exfoliator that can help remove dry skin cells from your lips. When choosing honey at the stores, opt for the organic variety and apply it to your lips throughout the day with a clean finger or cotton swab. The source also notes, individuals with pollen and bee venom allergies should avoid honey.
Aloe vera not only makes a beautiful house plant but it can be used for a variety of health ailments too. Most commonly used to help ease the discomfort of sunburns, aloe vera can also help treat chapped lips. This is all thanks to its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.
If you don’t want the mess of extracting the gel from the leaf of an aloe plant, then you can purchase organic aloe vera gel at your local drug store. Healthline notes, “the enzymes in aloe vera have mild exfoliating properties, so you’ll want to limit your use of aloe vera to just two or three times per day.”
White Petroleum Jelly
White petroleum jelly is an inexpensive product that’s easily accessible through online shops and your local drug store. It’s also an effective remedy for dry and chapped lips. It’s especially beneficial for lips that are very dry and cracked because it “seals in water longer than waxes or oils,” says AAD.
Apply it throughout the day and especially before bed to help moisturize and soothe your lips. One important thing worth noting is if your chapped lips are caused by a sunburn, avoid petroleum jelly as it can seal in heat from burns which may cause you more discomfort.
Avocado butter is another effective remedy for chapped lips. Not only is it moisturizing, but it isn’t greasy and can be absorbed easily by the skin.
Healthline also points out that avocado butter contains fatty acids and antioxidants (such as oleic and linoleic acid) that have been known to benefit the skin. The source explains you can buy organic avocado butter online and in stores or you can make your own using organic avocados.
One common cause of chapped lips is dehydration. Slight dehydration can easily go unnoticed and occurs when your body loses more fluids than it takes in. Along with dry skin, other key signs are feeling thirsty, dry mouth, dizziness, and a headache.
Medical News Today explains, “when the body is dehydrated, it pulls water from certain areas to ensure that the cells stay hydrated.” This is what causes dry skin, including the skin of the lips. The easiest way to prevent dehydration is to make drinking water regularly a habit. If you need to set a timer, buy a new water bottle, or keep a log, do it to keep track of your water intake!
Get a Humidifier
Anyone who lives in cooler climates understands how dry the air can get in the winter. Dry air can also remove moisture from the skin which might be the culprit to your chapped lips.
One way to fix this is to get a humidifier. A humidifier works by releasing water vapor back into the air to help increase moisture levels. Most modern thermostats can tell you the level of humidity in your home but in general, you should aim for 45 to 55-percent humidity in your home during the winter.
How to Prevent Chapped Lips
The best way to prevent chapped lips is to keep your lips moisturized. You can do so with all the above remedies we just mentioned. There are other good habits you can follow too to prevent chapped lips. For starters, don’t develop a habit of licking your lips. It may seem like a good way to moisten your lips, but saliva can evaporate quickly causing them to dry out even more.
Another way to prevent chapped lips is to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth. Breathing through your mouth can cause a dry mouth and lips. Finally, avoiding lip products that contain irritants such as fragrances, dyes, or alcohol can also help prevent chapped lips.