How to treat chapped lips

Do you dread winter because it wreaks havoc on your lips? Dry, cracked, irritated lips are much more common than you think. Discover what causes them and the best remedies for your symptoms.

Man applying an effective lip balm to his chapped lips.

What causes chapped lips

Lips are generally more vulnerable to dryness than other parts of the body because they lack certain protective elements.

For starters, they don’t have the fatty hydrolipid film that covers the rest of your skin. This film acts as a protective barrier against external aggressors and keeps the tissues hydrated. Lips also lack melanin, a pigment that protects your skin from the sun. For these reasons, they’re much more sensitive to all external aggressors—hence the need for daily lip care!

Below are the main causes of chapped lips:

  • The cold
  • UV rays
  • Pollutants (e.g., cigarette smoke and air pollution)
  • Acidic or spicy food
  • Breathing through your mouth rather than your nose
  • Alcohol consumption

Dry lips during pregnancy

Dry mouth is very common during pregnancy due to hormonal changes and increased water needs. It’s completely normal!

Solutions for dry, chapped lips

Many people aren’t aware that certain habits contribute to dry, cracked lips. Here are three to avoid:

  1. Licking your lips. Licking your lips may relieve dryness temporarily, but it will ultimately make your symptoms worse. This is because saliva contains digestive enzymes that are harsh on your lips, causing redness, irritation, and chapping.
  2. Rinsing your lips with warm water. This habit promotes dryness because hot water strips the skin of its natural oils. It’s recommended to bathe and wash your face using lukewarm rather than hot water.
  3. Chewing your lips and peeling off dead skin. This is a surefire recipe for chapped lips!

For healthy lips, there are a few good habits you should aim to incorporate into your routine, such as drinking lots of water and using a humidifier on cold, dry days. There are also treatments you can try to help keep your lips looking their best!

Lip balm

Applying lip balm three times a day is the best remedy for dry or chapped lips. But how do you choose the right product?

Look for a lip balm whose main ingredients are moisturizing agents like coconut oil, shea butter, and jojoba oil, all of which are deeply nourishing for your skin. You should also check that it contains beeswax or a similar ingredient that allows it to form a protective layer over your lips (a bit like a hydrolipid film!). The balm will lock in moisture and protect your lips from external aggressors. If you have sensitive lips, avoid products that are scented or that contain silicones or parabens.

On particularly sunny days, use a lip balm that provides UV protection (i.e., that contains SPF) if possible.

Tinted lip balm

Want something that will moisturize your lips while adding a pop of colour? Try tinted lip balms, which come in numerous shades. There are even glossy varieties if you want a more glamorous look!

Lip scrubs

Used weekly, lip scrubs buff away dead skin and leave your lips feeling pillowy soft. This step allows lip balms to adhere better and hydrate more effectively. Lip scrubs are also great for removing any imperfections before applying lipstick.

Choose products made with ultra-nourishing ingredients like honey, which has outstanding hydrating, healing, and softening properties.

Be careful: if you have extremely chapped lips, don’t use scrubs. The granules may be too abrasive.

What about chronically dry lips?

If no amount of dedication to using lip balms and scrubs seems to make a difference, there may be a deeper issue.

If you’re experiencing symptoms such as chapped lips, perlèche, a red tongue, and/or digestive problems, you could have a vitamin B deficiency. A diversified diet is normally all you need to meet your vitamin B requirements. If this isn’t the case for you, consult your pharmacist for advice.

Chronically dry lips can also be a symptom of fungus or an allergic reaction to a lip balm. If you have any questions about this topic, visit a Brunet store to speak with a health care specialist.

Last updated on November 14, 2022

Still dealing with chapped lips despite following our advice?

Talk to your pharmacist. They can help you identify possible causes and offer advice.

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How to treat chapped lips

Do you dread winter because it wreaks havoc on your lips? Discover the best remedies for your chapped lips.
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