By Maren Stratte and Elizabeth G Stratte, MD
Coldness, dry weather, sun damage, and frequently licking your lips are just some of the reasons your lips might feel dry and chapped. Here are the tricks to have soft, supple lips year-round:
1. Reduce Irritants
Use non-irritating lip balm, lipstick, and other products that you apply to your lips. If your product tingles or stings, you’re actually irritating your lips, so switch to one that is simply soothing.
Ingredients to avoid while your lips are chapped:
Flavoring; Cinnamon, citrus, mint, and peppermint flavors can be especially irritating to dry, chapped lips
Octinoxate or oxybenzone
Phenol (or phenyl)
Ingredients that can help heal chapped lips:
Castor seed oil
Hemp seed oil
Sun-protective ingredients, such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide
White petroleum jelly
2. Avoid Exfoliants
A nice lip scrub might seem like it's just the trick for dry lips however, scrubs can do more harm than good. If a scrub is too abrasive, it can damage tender tissues and make make chapped lips worse. Apply a non-irritating lip balm (or lip moisturizer) several times a day and before bed. If your lips are very dry and cracked, try a thick ointment, such as white petroleum jelly. Be kind to your kisser.
3. Always protect
Use a lip balm that offers SPF 30 or higher with one or more sun-protective ingredients like titanium oxide or zinc oxide. Remember to apply the lip balm every 2 hours when out of doors.
4. Fight the urge
By following these tips...
When to see a dermatologist?
If the above recommendations don’t help, see a board-certified dermatologist. Your chapped lips could be caused by something aside from dry weather. An allergic reaction, yeast infection, or something more serious can make your lips feel dry and uncomfortable. Actinic cheilitis is a precancerous condition that turns one or both lips dry and scaly. Your dermatologist can diagnose the cause.