How to Get Rid of Chapped Lips Without Chapstick - Page

  • Posted on: Dec 6 2021
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Girl applying chapstick

It’s winter, temperatures are dropping and there’s less moisture in the air. Unfortunately, this is when you are more likely to develop chapped lips. A basic lip balm isn’t going to provide consistent relief. So, what can you do to improve dry, chapped, or cracked lips? Our dermatologist-approved tips for chapped lips treatments and prevention can help keep your lips soft and hydrated.

The Most Common Chapped Lips Causes

If your lips are chapped, you’re experiencing inflammation of the lip skin, a condition known as cheilitis. The skin on your lips is covered with a mucous membrane, which is unlike the rest of your skin. It’s much thinner, more delicate, and has a smaller concentration of oil glands. This is why your lips are more likely to dry out and become chapped or cracked.

Chapped, dry lips occur for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the most common chapped lips causes:

  • Exposure to windy, dry, or cold weather
  • Sun exposure
  • Excessive lip licking
  • Irritation or allergy from lip balms or lipsticks
  • Frequent touching or picking dry lips

What Are the Most Effective Chapped Lips Treatments?

Although it seems like cracked, dry lips are something you must live with until warmer, moister air arrives in the spring, it’s possible to have soft, supple lips year-round. Explore our prevention tips and dermatologist treatment for chapped lips:

Avoid Licking, Biting, or Picking Your Lips

It’s natural to try to moisten your lips by licking them when they feel dry. Unfortunately, as your saliva evaporates, it can actually make your lips drier and more chapped than before. Since lip skin is delicate and thin, licking or biting the skin on your lips can cause more irritation.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water and ensuring that your body is hydrated can improve your overall health and promote healthy skin, your lips included! When you’re drinking enough water every day, it’ll help your lips stay hydrated, so they feel soft and healthy. If you live in a dry environment, consider using a humidifier at home to provide the moisture your skin and lips need.

Avoid Allergens

If you feel discomfort after applying a product to your lips, such as stinging, burning, or tingling, it’s a sign that the product contains ingredients that are irritating your lips. Contact with allergens or irritants in skincare products or cosmetics, including those containing fragrances or dyes, can irritate your lips and cause dryness and flakiness. Avoiding these ingredients can help prevent the irritation that leads to chapped, dry lips:

  • Menthol
  • Eucalyptus
  • Salicylic acid
  • Camphor
  • Lanolin


Avoid Lip Scrubs

When your lips are dry and chapped, you might be tempted to use products designed to slough away dry, flaky skin. However, these products can cause additional damage to chapped, cracked lips and can actually make the problem worse. Using lip exfoliator products that contain physical abrasives like sugar scrubs or apricot scrubs can create small micro-tears in the delicate skin on your lips. This can lead to redness, cracked skin, or bleeding that may invite infection.

Protect Lips From the Sun

Like many other parts of the body, your lips are susceptible to sun damage and can develop precancer and skin cancer. Before heading outside, apply a non-irritating lip balm with at least SPF 30. Even in the winter months, you should protect your lips from the sun. During the winter, it’s possible for the sun to burn chapped, dry lips more easily.

Look for lip balms that contain zinc oxide or titanium oxide and are at least SPF 30 or higher. If you’re outside for an extended period, apply a protective lip balm every two hours.

Apply a Non-Irritating Lip Treatment

Ensuring that your lips are hydrated at all times, even after eating and drinking, can help prevent chapped lips. Keep your lips protected by applying lubricating products that treat and prevent flaky, dry lips. Look for hypoallergenic, fragrance-free products when considering chapped lips treatments. Our dermatologists recommend products containing these soothing and moisturizing ingredients:

  • Shea butter
  • Ceramides
  • Hemp seed oil
  • White petroleum jelly
  • Castor seed oil
  • Mineral oil
  • Dimethicone

Visit a Dermatologist for Chapped Lips

If you have chapped, dry lips that don’t heal, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist for chapped lips. Chronic chapped lips that don’t respond to treatment could indicate a serious medical problem, including actinic cheilitis. This is a precancerous skin change that occurs from frequent sun exposure, and it requires immediate treatment.

The skincare specialists at Asarch Dermatology can examine your lips and recommend a dermatologist treatment for chapped lips.

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