Chapped lips, also known as cheilitis, is a common and uncomfortable issue. Home remedies can help get rid of chapped lips without drying them out further.
The skin on the lips is much thinner and more delicate than that on other parts of the body. The lips are also exposed to the elements, including the sun and cold, dry air, making them prone to dryness, cracking, flaking, and peeling.
The lips lack oil glands and so cannot produce their own moisture, but natural moisturizers can help.
1. Use a good lip balm
Some lip balms are better than others, and popular brands may contain ingredients that dry the lips out.
For example, many lip balms contain menthol or another mint flavoring. This can provide a cooling sensation, but mint is very drying and can leave the lips more chapped than before.
Common drying ingredients in lip balms include:
Avoid scented and flavored lip products, as these ingredients can also dry out the lips.
Look instead for lip balms that contain soothing and moisturizing ingredients, such as:
- Petroleum. These are available to buy in pharmacies, health stores.
- Lanolin. These are available to buy in pharmacies, health stores.
- Beeswax. These are available to buy in pharmacies, health stores.
- Ceramides. These are available to buy in pharmacies, health stores.
2. Try natural lip remedies
There are several effective natural remedies for chapped lips. A person may even have some in their kitchen.
To soothe and moisturize chapped lips, apply the following directly to the lips:
- Aloe vera: This gel forms inside the leaves of aloe vera plants. It contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories that soothe and rehydrate damaged skin.
- Coconut oil: Made from the flesh of coconuts, this oil combats inflammation and is an emollient, which means that it can soothe and soften the skin.
- Honey: It is highly moisturizing, which makes it a good treatment for dry lips. Honey also contains antioxidants and antibacterial properties, which help prevent infections from developing in extremely dry or cracked lips.
- Cucumber: It can gently moisturize the lips and may contain vitamins and minerals that could improve the lips’ appearance.
- Green tea: Rich in antioxidants and minerals, green tea also contains polyphenols, which reduce inflammation. Soak a bag of green tea in warm water and gently rub it over the lips to soften and remove excess dry skin. This technique is more gentle than traditional exfoliation.
Aloe vera, coconut oil, and honey all have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help prevent infection while moisturizing and soothing the skin on the lips.
Most supermarkets stock these products, but people can browse through a range of harder-to-find ingredients online, including aloe vera gel and coconut oil.
3. Exfoliate the lips
Chapped lips are covered in a layer of dry skin that can prevent healing ingredients in lip balms from reaching the right area.
People can use lip scrubs that contain sugar or baking soda to gently exfoliate away this dry skin.
When shopping for a lip scrub, look for products that contain ingredients that will soothe and moisten the lips. People can buy these lip scrubs in drug stores or find a range of natural options online.
4. Drink water
Dehydration is a major culprit when it comes to chapped lips.
People may not notice when they are slightly dehydrated, so it is a good idea to make a habit of drinking water throughout the day.
Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluid than it takes in. When the body is dehydrated, it pulls water from certain areas to ensure that the cells stay hydrated. This can cause dryness in the skin, including that of the lips.
Other symptoms of dehydration include:
- feeling thirsty
- dry mouth
- a headache
The recommended daily water intake varies, depending on many factors, including a person’s age, sex, and level of physical activity.
5. Use a humidifier
Spending too much time in dry air can remove moisture from the skin. This is a particularly common issue in winter.
Drinking plenty of water is a good way to keep the body well-hydrated all year round. However, people may want to consider using a humidifier during the winter to add some much-needed moisture back into the air.
6. Avoid smoking
Tobacco smoke can irritate the sensitive skin around the lips, causing them to dry out and become more likely to crack.
Smoking can also cause other problems in the mouth, such as mouth ulcers and gum pain.
People may notice that chapped lips clear up shortly after they stop smoking, as the skin begins to heal.