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It is common to experience dryness and cracking on your lips, especially in the cold winter months. This is because the skin of the lips is very thin and has fewer oil glands than other parts of the body, making it more susceptible to dehydration.
Moreover, licking or picking the lips can aggravate the dryness. This article discusses various home remedies and self-care measures that you can try to help treat and prevent dry lips.
Home Remedies for Chapped Lips
The following home remedies are popularly used to alleviate chapped lips.
1. Apply OTC or homemade lip balms
The most effective solution to chapped, dry lips is the application of lip balms or ointments.
When buying OTC lip balms, check the ingredients for dimethicone, which helps fix the cracks, and petrolatum, to help seal in moisture. Avoid any lip balms with synthetic fragrance or flavoring.
Alternatively, you can make lip balms using aloe vera, cocoa butter, or shea butter for moisturizing and repairing the skin and beeswax as a thickening agent.
How to make: Heat 1 tablespoon of beeswax, add the moisturizing agent, and mix. You may also add hempseed oil, honey, or vitamin E to it. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, and pour into a container.
It is advised to apply these lip balms after showering, followed by reapplication whenever you feel necessary. Make sure to apply a layer of the lip balm before applying any makeup on the lips.
Lip balms are an easy and effective way to treat chapped lips. These products can either be bought over the counter or made at home using natural ingredients.
2. Use petroleum jelly
Petroleum jelly, commonly found under the brand names Vaseline or Aquaphor, is a highly effective emollient that helps seal in the moisture. Since these agents don’t self-moisturize the skin, you must apply the petroleum jelly either after applying a moisturizer on the lips or after washing them with warm water. (1)
3. Dab some natural oils
Natural oils not only help nourish dry lips, but they also lock in the moisture. You can use coconut, jojoba, castor, vitamin E, olive, or hempseed oil on your dry lips. These oils also possess skin-repairing properties, thus helping heal chapped lips. (2)
They are also anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, which are helpful in chapped lips caused by infections. (3) However, it is best to consult a doctor if your dry lips are inflamed.
It is recommended to apply the oils at bedtime and allow them to heal the lips overnight. Coat your lips with a layer of petroleum jelly over the oils as they have low viscosity and can thus flow easily.
4. Use natural fats
Natural fats are common moisturizing agents found in various cosmetics and lotions made for dry skin. The natural fats used for dry lips include cocoa butter, shea butter, milk fat, and avocado butter. These fats contain linoleic acid and oleic acid, which are readily absorbed by the skin to help nourish and moisturize it. (2)(4)
5. Apply aloe vera gel
Aloe vera gel is a versatile hydrating agent that contains various mucopolysaccharides, which help bind moisture to the skin. Moreover, aloe vera stimulates the production of collagen and fibers, thus helping the skin regain its elasticity and softness. (5)
6. Rub some honey
Honey is a popular skin repair agent that possesses nourishing, humectant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and exfoliating properties. (6)
How to use: Apply organic honey to your chapped lips or mix it with petroleum jelly, glycerine, or natural fats before applying to the lips. Leave it on for 15 minutes, and then wash it off using lukewarm water. (7)
Caution: Avoid using honey-based balms in children as they may ingest the balm and run the risk of botulinum infection.
7. Exfoliate your lips
For mildly chapped lips, it may be helpful to gently scrub off the dead, dry skin and apply a moisturizer after. However, avoid exfoliating your lips if you have cracking and flaky lips as the part of the skin attached to the lips may peel out, causing inflammation and redness.
How to use: Make a mixture of honey and finely ground sugar, and add a few drops of rose water. Apply the paste to your lips in a circular motion very gently, making sure to avoid scrubbing the parts that don’t come off easily. Wash your lips and apply a moisturizer.
Self-Care Measures to Manage Chapped Lips
The following tips can help reduce chapping of the lips:
- Apply a moisturizer or lip balm multiple times a day.
- Avoid any lip products that contain mint, cinnamon, camphor, eucalyptus, menthol, phenol, salicylic acid, oxybenzone, or octinoxate on your dry lips.
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom, especially if you breathe through the mouth.
- Use a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher during winter.
- Don’t hold metal items such as paperclips and jewelry with your mouth.
- Avoid consuming acidic or spicy foods as they can irritate dry lips.
- Avoid licking your lips as much as possible.
- Make sure to drink enough water and stay hydrated throughout the day to help soothe the lips.
- Apply a lip primer or lip balm before putting on lipstick to help it glide smoothly on your otherwise dry, flaky lips. Avoid using matte lipsticks, which can settle in the cracks and crevices of your chapped lips and worsen their appearance. Instead, use a moisture-rich lipstick that will apply more easily and hydrate your dry lips as well.
How to Prevent Dry Lips
Making the following simple changes in your lifestyle and habits can help prevent dryness and chapping of the lips:
- Avoid sun exposure and use sunscreen before venturing out of the house.
- Always apply a lip balm before going outside, especially in winter.
- Stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Do not lick or bite your lips.
- Consume a well-balanced diet to prevent nutritional deficiencies that can cause dry lips, such as deficiencies in iron, zinc, or vitamin B12. (8)
- Try breathing through your nose at all times as mouth breathing can quickly cause your lips to dry out.
- Quit smoking and tobacco use as they contain harmful chemicals.
Most-Asked Questions About Chapped Lips
Is lanolin effective for treating chapped lips?
While lanolin is a moisturizing agent commonly used for dry skin, it is not recommended for dry lips by dermatologists. Lanolin use can result in allergic dermatitis. Moreover, if ingested, which is highly possible through use on the lips, lanolin can cause severe poisoning.
Can cucumber be used for chapped lips?
Cucumber is commonly used for treating chapped lips due to its hydrating properties. It helps by keeping the lips wet, which may be highly effective when followed by the application of petroleum jelly. Moreover, cucumber can help relieve inflammation and itchiness as well.
Can toothpaste cause chapped lips?
Sodium laurel sulfate, a common allergen found in many toothpastes, can cause allergic cheilitis, leading to dry, inflamed, chapped lips. (9)
Is glycerine application good for chapped lips?
Glycerine, derived from natural fats, is a potent humectant and thus may be helpful for chapped lips. (10) However, it must be diluted with rose water before applying to the lips as otherwise, it can draw water from the inner layers of the skin, causing dehydration and blistering.
Dry lips, also known as cracked or chapped lips, are a common source of nuisance, especially in the winter season. This generally occurs due to a lack of moisture and can thus be easily managed by moisturizing the lips and staying hydrated.
You can also try different home remedies to help heal the chapped skin. If the condition persists despite self-care and home remedies, you must consult a doctor.