How to Get Rid of Chapped Lips
Want to get rid of chapped lips fast? Find out what’s causing your chapped lips and how to restore moisture to them for a smoother, more handsome appearance.
Unlike other parts of the human body, our lips have no hair or sweat glands. With no body oils or hair to protect the thin skin of our lips, it’s not surprising that chapped lips are such a common problem.
Dry, chapped lips, also known as common cheilitis, can range from minor dryness and peeling to painful cracks in the lip that split open each time you smile. Besides being painful, they can also be a sign of an underlying health issue. Although most of us use lip balm to treat chapped lips, there are other things you can do to restore dehydrated lips.
Here are several things you ought to know about getting rid of chapped lips:
- Understanding the causes of chapped lips can help you avoid them in the first place.
- Chapped lips can occur throughout all times of the year, including spring and summer.
- Licking your lips can make cheilitis worse.
What Causes Chapped Lips?
Chapped lips aren’t just a cold weather problem. In fact, cheilitis can occur at all times of the year and may not be weather-related at all.
To help treat your chapped lips, it helps to know why it happens in the first place. Here are some of the more likely reasons for your dehydrated pout:
1. Harsh Weather
You probably know that winter can be harsh on your lips. Dry, winter air will suck the moisture from anywhere it can, including your lips.
Wind can also result in chapped lips because it can make us lick our lips excessively. Licking your lips can make chapped lips worse because our saliva contains enzymes which break down our skin’s lipid barrier.
2. Sun Damage
It’s not just the cold that can dry out your lips. Actinic cheilitis refers to dry lips caused by excessive sun exposure.
Lip cancer is a form of skin cancer that should not be overlooked. According to a 2010 case report published in European Journal of Dentistry, actinic cheilitis mostly affects the lower lip because it sticks out and is exposed to more sunlight (see claim: “Actinic cheilitis is a pathological condition that most frequently affects the vermilion border of the lower lip.”)
Hopefully, you’re already protecting your skin from the sun’s UV rays to lower your risk of skin cancer. You can extend this protection to your lips by using a lip balm with SPF and wearing a hat with a wide brim.
If your lips are dry, itchy and inflamed, allergies could be to blame. Allergic cheilitis can be caused by everyday products that touch your lips such as toothpaste, fragrances and skin care products.
Cheilitis can also be a symptom of food allergies, seasonal allergies and reactions to medications. If you suspect that your chapped lips are allergy-related, it’s worth seeing a doctor.
Take the skin care quiz
Best Ways to Get Rid of Chapped Lips
1. Skip the Fruity Lip Balm
Most people reach for the nearest lip balm to treat their chapped lips. That’s fine, unless it’s the fruity kind that’s flavored like Skittles or Starbursts.
Fruity and candy-like lip balms might make you lick your lips more and worsen the problem. They also have potentially harmful chemicals that you’re ingesting each time you lick your lips and swallow.
A quality lip balm should moisturize and hydrate without trying to appeal to your stomach. Two more things to avoid in a lip balm: parabens and phthalates.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
Nutrient deficiencies can cause painful cracks in the corners of the lips, known medically as cheilosis. This symptom is commonly associated with a Vitamin B2 deficiency, which plays an important role in supporting healthy adrenal gland function.
However, a 2016 review published in Advanced Nutrition suggests that a Vitamin B2 deficiency is usually due to other vitamin deficiencies (see claim: “…when a deficiency of riboflavin does occur, it is almost invariably in association with multiple nutrient deficits.”)
The best thing you can do to help your chapped lips is to eat a healthy diet and take a multi-vitamin. This will help ensure that your skin is getting the vital nutrients it needs to function properly.
3. Use a Humidifier
Whether your dry lips are weather-related or you simply have chronic cheilitis, a humidifier can help keep lips moisturized. Humidifiers can prevent dryness by adding moisture into the air, soothing dry, winter skin.
The best place for a humidifier is by your bedside. Turn it on at night while you’re sleeping and allow it to combat the dryness caused by cold weather.
4. Try Breathing Through the Nose
Breathing in and out through your mouth can suck the moisture from your lips. If you’re breathing through your mouth due to an allergy or cold, take medication to relieve your sinuses.
For many, dry lips can be quickly remedied with a good lip balm. Other people aren’t so lucky and find chapped lips to be an ongoing problem. If nothing seems to work, consider seeing a doctor to ensure that your cheilitis isn’t a sign of something more serious.