Wondering how to fix chapped lips? While you can go out and purchase lip balm, you can also get similar or even better results with a few home remedies. Chapped lips happen to a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean you should put up with them.
Symptoms and Causes of Chapped Lips
Since your lips don’t have oil glands and the skin in the lip area is thinner than the skin on the rest of your body, it is relatively easy for your lips to chap. Several things can cause dry, sore lips, and the problem isn’t limited to the winter or colder months of the year. Here are a few causes and signs of dry, cracked lips.
The outer layer of your lips and the lipid layer contain molecules known as humectants. When the outside air is humid and moist, the humectants pull moisture into your lips. But when the air outside is dry, it’s easier for the moisture to evaporate. You end up with dry lips.
Not getting enough water can also lead to dry, crusty lips. Make sure you drink plenty of water or other hydrating fluids daily. If the air in your home is particularly dry, investing in a humidifier can help, according to WebMD.
If you have a chronic condition that requires that you take medicine, that medication might be behind your chronic chapped lips. Drugs that treat high blood pressure, acne, and nausea can also dry out the lips.
It’s also possible for you to have an allergic reaction to a medication that makes your lips sore and dry. For example, some people have an allergy to the medicine that treats an underactive thyroid and end up with puffy, dry lips as a result.
On the surface, licking dry, chapped lips to soothe them makes sense. Your saliva is wet, and your lips are dry, it’s the perfect solution.
But your saliva contains enzymes that break down the materials your lips are made out of–proteins and fats. So, when you lick your lips, you’re making the chapping much worse.
Chapped Lips: Remedies
If you have chapped lips, don’t automatically reach for a tube of lip balm. There are many home remedies for chapped lips that work just as well, if not better, than the stuff you can buy in a tube.
Almond oil is full of nutrients, such as vitamins A, E, and B2. Since it is high in antioxidants, it can also offer some level of protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When used on the lips, almond oil creates a barrier that protects the area from dry air, and that helps soften the lips.
Wondering how to get rid of chapped lips with almond oil? First, look for a variety labeled “sweet almond oil.” Next, apply a few drops of the oil to your lips. Repeat throughout the day, as your lips begin to feel dry.
Flaky skin is often a sign of severely chapped lips. When your lips are flaky, the best thing to do is exfoliate that dead, dry skin to reveal the smooth surface beneath. While you can buy a lip scrub or exfoliator, it’s also easy to make your own at home.
For very delicate and sensitive lips, the best option is to use a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove the flakes. Don’t wet the toothbrush when using it to exfoliate the lips. Use a gentle back and forth motion to slough off the dead skin.
Another option is to make a scrub out of sea salt and oil, such as coconut oil. Sea salt contains minerals that can help strengthen and soothe your lips. Look for a coarse variety that doesn’t contain iodine. Mix it with an equal amount of oil, then gently rub on your lips.
For a sweeter way to exfoliate your lips, use sugar. You’ll often see pricey sugar-based lip exfoliants for sale. But it is super easy to make your own at home. Just combine equal parts coarse sugar and oil (such as coconut or almond oil) in a small dish. You can add a bit of lemon juice for enhanced flavor and to help improve exfoliation.
Rub the mixture on your lips, then wipe off.
Shea butter contains the same types of oil as the sebaceous glands found in your skin, making it an excellent all-around moisturizer. It also works well as a remedy for chapped lips.
Wondering how to heal chapped lips with shea butter? Just apply a thin coat of it to your lips several times a day.
People often use aloe vera, or a lotion containing aloe vera, to help soothe sunburn pain. The aloe helps calm and cool the burn. When applied to your chapped or sunburned lips, it can do the same thing. Although you can put the gel directly from the plant to your lips, you might get better results using a lotion with about 10 percent aloe vera in it.
Petroleum jelly works as a chapped lips remedy not because it helps to heal or treat the lips, but because it works to protect the lips from the elements. When you apply a layer of the jelly to your lips, you are effectively sealing them off from dry, cold air.
There are two drawbacks to using straight-up petroleum jelly on your lips. One is that it doesn’t taste so great. Two is that it can give you some digestive trouble if you swallow it. So, go ahead and apply the jelly to your lips, just make sure not to lick them afterward.
Honey is a humectant, meaning it naturally pulls moisture out of the air. It’s also slightly antibacterial, thanks to the presence of glucose oxidase. When you apply honey to sore, chapped lips, it helps to moisturize them and can protect against infection.
Castor oil has a long history. People have used it for centuries to ease constipation and to protect the skin. It’s also a common ingredient in lipsticks and lip balms, for a good reason. One of the unsaturated fatty acids found in castor oil, ricinoleic acid, is known for its ability to keep the lips hydrated.
How to cure chapped lips with castor oil? Simply mix an equal part of pure castor oil with an equal part of coconut oil. Apply to the lips and leave on.
Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, but it contains a different type of saturated fat than any other oil. Its medium chain fatty acids are readily absorbed by the skin and lips, making coconut oil an excellent moisturizer.
To use coconut oil to treat dry lips, spread a small amount of the oil on the lips. Using straight coconut oil is a messier chapped lip remedy than other options, so have a washcloth or tissue nearby to blot away any excess.
The fat content of milk cream helps it soothe and relieve dry, sun or wind burned lips. To use it to treat sore lips, brush a layer of the cream on your lips and let it sit there for at least 15 minutes. Gently wipe it away after the 15 minutes are up.
Rose petals don’t only look beautiful and smell nice. They also provide some health benefits. One of those benefits is helping to heal chapped lips. The oils in rose petals are moisturizing, the antioxidants in the petals help protect against sun damage, and the anti-inflammatory compounds help soothe and calm irritated lips.
To treat chapped lips with rose petals, steep the petals in milk or water for several hours. When the petals are soft, smash them up in the water or milk, creating a paste. Coat your lips with the paste and leave it in place for up to 10 minutes, then gently wipe off.
Aloe vera gel
If you don’t have an aloe plant at home, aloe vera gel can be an effective way to soothe sun or wind burned lips. In fact, aloe vera gel might be more effective at treating sore lips than pure aloe vera. Aloe vera straight from the plant might be too thick and heavy. A more dilute form can help calm and cool the lips while still allowing them to breathe.
The inside of a cucumber is cooler than the air outside. If your lips are not only chapped but also stinging and burning, placing a thin slice of cucumber on top of them for about 10 minutes can help ease any discomfort.
Chapped Lips: Tips
What can you do to prevent chapped lips in the future? Following these tips can help your lips stay soft and comfortable.
Avoid Certain Lip Products
Some types of lipsticks–particularly matte lipsticks–dry out the lips. If you love wearing lipstick and are particularly fond of intensely pigmented, matte products, but you also have chapped lips, it might be time to change up your products.
Either choose a more moisturizing lip color, such as one that contains vitamin E or apply a lip balm or conditioner before you put on the matte color.
If you do currently have chapped lips, you’ll want to avoid any potentially irritating lips products until the dryness and flaky skin have gone away. Skip the lip plumpers, matte lipsticks, and flavored lip balms.
Don’t Pick at Your Chapped Lips
If your lips are flaking, it can be awfully tempting to pick at and peel away the little bits of skin. Resist the urge to do so, though. You can end up hurting your lips a lot more if you pick at them.
For example, you can wind up peeling off a larger piece of your lip, leading to bleeding and possibly infection. You also want to be careful not to over-exfoliate lips that are chapped and peeling. Using a scrub or exfoliant once a week is usually sufficient to help heal chapped lips. Any more and you risk irritating the lips.
Only Use Lip Balm With Both Emollients And Protectants
Some lip balms are better than others at healing chapped lips. Look for a product that contains emollients, which help soften the lips, and protectants, which can protect against sun damage and infection.
Also be aware that some people can have an allergic reaction to certain lip balms. The brand EOS had to settle a lawsuit after several people claimed that its lip balms caused rashes, blistering, and cracking. If your lip balm hurts more than it helps, stop using it.
Use an SPF Sunscreen
Yes, your lips can get sunburn and sunburned lips often feel like chapped lips. For the most protection, choose a lip balm that also contains an SPF, preferably at least SPF 15. Apply the product anytime you go outdoors during the daytime.
Understand What “Medicated” Lip Balms Really Means
Some lip balms claim to be “medicated,” meaning they contain ingredients like camphor, menthol or eucalyptus. Those aren’t really “medicines,” and they can do more harm than good for some people. For example, camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol are often very drying. Use a medicated lip balm with caution and stop using it if makes your lips worse.
Stay Hydrated (a.k.a. DRINK WATER)
The amount of water you bring into your body influences how hydrated your lips will be. If you’re not getting enough fluids, your lips and skin will dry out. Keep a glass of water handy at all times and remember to drink even when you don’t feel thirsty.
Apply A Balm to Your Lips Before You Wash Your Face
Your facial cleanser most likely contains ingredients that are great at deep cleaning your skin, but terrible for your lips. Salicylic acid and alpha hydroxy acids are too tough for your delicate lips. To protect your lips, always put on lip balm before you wash your face. The balm forms a protective barrier against whatever is in your facial cleanser.
Turn on A Humidifier At Night
If the air in your home is dry (less than 45 percent humidity) in the winter, a humidifier in your bedroom can do wonders for your lips and skin. Turn it on while you sleep and wake up to softer, better-moisturized lips.
Your Lips Will Change
Your lips won’t stay the same throughout your life. What helps to soothe chapped lips today might not work tomorrow. If you notice any change or irritation from the lip balm or another home remedy you’re using, change things up. If a remedy is hurting you, there’s no way that it’s helping you.
Chapped Lips: Conclusion
There are many reasons why you may get chapped lips and the condition is quite common, particularly in the colder months. In this article, we have highlighted some of the most common causes of chapped lips and the best ways to relieve or cure your chapped lips.
Do you have any tips of your own for relieving or curing chapped lips? We would love to hear your ideas and experiences. Please leave us a comment in the comments section below this article.