How to Get Rid of Chapped Lips
Chapped lips are a year-round problem. Be it summer or fall, those uncomfortable, unsightly flakes seem impossible to get rid of. Fortunately, dry, cracked lips can be helped. Learn how to heal chapped lips, what causes them, and what you can do to get that silky smooth pout.
What Causes Chapped Lips?
Choose your lip care products carefully. Many cosmetic lines contain ingredients that are likely to irritate your lips. Common examples include menthol and camphor. Watch out for these ingredients in waxy lip balms and petroleum-based products. Many popular formulas favor petroleum because it’s cheap and acts as an effective barrier against weather elements, but it doesn’t actually contain any hydrating properties and its refined properties could be hurting you. Instead, read labels to look for natural, emollient ingredients such as shea butter, beeswax, and almond oil.
Licking your lips
Licking your lips leads to a vicious chapped cycle. You instinctively lick your lips because they feel dry, leaving behind a soothing layer of lubricating saliva. This saliva evaporates quickly and ultimately leaves your lips dryer than before. Moreover, saliva acts like a lens to intensify sun exposure.
You might be allergic to an ingredient in your favorite lip product without being aware of it. Certain ingredients and fragrances in cosmetics or even toothpaste can cause cracked, flakey lips. If you notice a flare-up after using a particular product, try eliminating it from your routine and avoid the same allergen in other products to see if it makes any difference in the condition of your lips.
Prevent chapped lips by protecting against sun damage and use products containing at least SPF 15. Even a general sunscreen can be applied to the lips, whose compounds will help skin regenerate and hydrate. Look for creams rich in Vitamin E, as these are the most effective in healing sun-damaged lips.
Smoking and drinking
If you’ve tried the above methods and still don’t know how to heal dry lips, consider your lifestyle choices. We’ve established chapped lips can be caused by dryness in the atmosphere, but dehydration can also come from what you consume. Alcohol is a dehydrating compound that will have a drying effect when it comes into contact with the skin. Likewise, caffeine is known to cause dehydration, and should be avoided by those suffering from severe chapping. Your lips don’t produce any oils that act as protective barriers, so avoid smoking to prevent chemicals from sucking out the moisture you need.
Certain medications like retinoids and chemotherapy drugs could be the source of your chapped lip woes. Topical creams containing benzoyl peroxide, Retin-A or salicylic acid, for example, could cause the same dryness and dehydration as environmental stressors. If you're taking medication for hypothyroidism, acne, or high blood pressure, you could be having an allergic reaction to these medications, causing your lips to dry out and puff up. Try applying Aquaphor around your mouth before bed at night and see if it helps with the problem. If this technique or simple balm doesn’t work as a solution, consult your doctor and ask how to treat chapped lips.
Top 5 Tips for Getting Rid of Chapped Lips
If you’re wondering how to treat dry lips, exfoliation could be the answer. A good, occasional buffing is necessary for shedding that dead, peeling skin. Moreover, by eliminating the dead skin just sitting on your lips, your go-to lip gloss or lipstick will glide on smoothly—and look better. It’s a quick and easy process, taking up no more than a minute of your time, and should be done at about three times a week. There are a few different ways how to treat a chapped lip via exfoliation, including brushes, products, and natural home remedies.
Stop Biting Your Lips
Learning how to get rid of dry lips might mean taking a look at your own bad habits. Are you constantly gnawing or nibbling on your lower lip? Whether it’s done out of boredom or a nervous habit, it’s time to stop. Correcting this bad habit is critical step when treating dry lips. The skin on our lips is thinner and more delicate than the other areas of our body; even applying gentle pressure can cause cracking. What’s worse, you could create long-term damage with lasting lesions. If you’re compulsively biting your lips out of dryness, keep a moisturizer on hand to keep your urge at bay.
Protect Your Lips from the Sun
People often apply sunscreen to the face and body, but neglect to protect their lips. Fun fact: the skin in your lips contains almost zero melanin, a natural pigment that helps screen out the sun’s harmful rays. This means lips rarely tan, but they often burn from sun exposure, causing them to turn hard and brittle—prime conditions for cracking and breaking. Long-lasting damage can stem from the sun’s rays, including wrinkling and premature aging. Next time you head outdoors, be sure to apply a lip care product containing sun protection at least a half hour before.
Don't Pick Act Dead Skin
It’s borderline irresistible to pick off those stubborn, clingy flakes that tremble when you speak. Peeling off a flake may seem harmless—it’ll stand out under your coat of lipstick, and it’s dead anyway, right? In truth, picking at these flakes is comparable to peeling off a scab that isn’t yet ready to go; it can exacerbate the problem by prolonging the healing process, make the dryness worse, and potentially create long-term harm.
Moisturize Your Lips
Weather can wreak havoc on your hair, skin, and lips. This is true in blustering winds, on hot, arid days, and especially in colder environments, explaining why so many people suffer from chapped lips in the winter. Depending on your environmental condition, moisture can quickly evaporate from the thin sheath of skin protecting the outer layers of your lips. Even the stuffy office air can be contributing to cracking. Consider investing in a humidifier so that the weather around you isn’t too dry. Before you go outside, be sure to slather on a layer of thick, saturated moisturizing balm to prevent weather dehydration. The best practice is to use a moisturizer on your lips regularly, both indoors and outdoors, to keep them supple and elastic.
You don’t have to resign yourself to a life of dealing with dry, cracking lips. With these tips in your arsenal, you can make chapped lips a thing of the past.