It happens every winter.
Cold temperatures and harsh winds suck all the moisture out of my lips, getting them all dry and chapped. It’s ugly. It’s uncomfortable. It’s painful. When they crack… Ouch!
Enough is enough. If you know something’s gonna happen, you can prepare for it, right? That’s what I do now. Over the years, I’ve learned a few tips to prevent and treat chapped lips, so that when winter strikes, I’m ready for it.
What Causes Chapped Lips?
Chapped lips happen when your lips don’t have enough moisture.
Here’s the deal: unlike the rest of your skin, lips have no oil glands. Plus, they’re thinner, too. This makes them more susceptible to dryness.
The common culprits that suck all the moisture out of them are:
- Certain medications
- Chemical peels (tell your aesthetician NOT to exfoliate your lips!)
- Licking your lips often
- Little humidity in the air during the cold winter months
- Unprotected sun exposure
- Using harsh ingredients, like Vitamin A, on the lips
Related: The Best Skincare Routine For Dry Skin
Need help creating the best skincare routine for you dry skin? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Dry Skincare Routine Cheatsheet” (it includes product recommendations, too!).
What Are The Best Chapped Lips Remedies?
Now you know what causes chapped lips, let’s see what you can do to prevent and treat them:
1. Never Lick Lips
When my lips are dry and cracked, I REALLY want to lick them. Just to get some relief, you know?
But it only makes things worse. *sighs* Licking your lips gives you instant relief… and two minutes later they feel even drier than before!
Blame it on saliva. Saliva makes moisture evaporate, drying out lips even more.
2. Wear Lip Balm
I’m a lip balm junkie. I have a dozen at home and use them every day.
But when my lips get chapped, I switch to richer formulas. Rich formulas use oils and butters that create a barrier on the skin that keeps moisture in + protects them from the harsh winter weather, germs and other enemies. This way, they heal faster.
I also steer well clear of anything with camphor, menthol, phenol, and alcohol. They all have one thing in common: they’re super irritating.
- Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 ($7.50): available at Look Fantastic, Sephora and Ulta
- La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Lips (£4.50): available at Feel Unique
- Lanolips 101 Ointment Superbalm ($16.95): available at Feel Unique and Ulta
Related: La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Lips Full Review
3. Wear Sunscreen Every Day
No, I don’t apply my face sunscreen to my lips. There may be ingredients in there that are totally safe for topical application, but dangerous when ingested. Don’t risk it.
But you need a way to get SPF on the lips. UV rays make chapped lips worse, so protecting lips from them is so NOT optional.
Bonus points if your lip balm has SPF. If not, don’t worry. Use a lipgloss or lipstick with SPF. They do the trick too.
The important thing is that you use it every day. UV rays can penetrate through clouds and windows and be reflected on snow. Just because you can’t see the sun, it doesn’t mean it’s not damaging your lips.
Oh, and reapply as often as you can during the day.
- CeraVe Healing Lip Balm Broad Spectrum Lip Balm SPF 30 ($4.97): Available at Walgreens and Walmart
- Coola Liplux SPF 30 Original ($12.00): Available at iHerb
- Paula’s Choice Lipscreen SPF 50 ($10.00): Available at Dermstore and Paula’s Choice
Related: Coola Liplux SPF 30 Original Full Review
4. Wear Hydrating Lippies And Glosses
Just because my lips are chapped, doesn’t mean that I’m willing to give up makeup. Feel the same?
If so, switch to more hydrating formulas. They plump up your lips with moisture so those cracks don’t look as obvious.
Instead, stay away from matte lips. They emphasise every line and crack. (Don’t worry, you can go back to them once your chapped lips have healed).
- Guerlain La Petite Noir Lipstick ($32.00): available at Feel Unique, Harrods, and Sephora
- Lancome L’Absolute Rouge Cream ($32.00): available at Nordstrom, Sephora and Ulta
- SUQQU Flawless Lip Gloss (£24.00): available at Harrods and Selfridges
5. When All Else Fails…
Go to the doctor. If you’ve tried everything and nothing worked, you need the help only a professional can give you. Go on and book an appointment.
I know you think I’m exaggerating this, but dry lips can also be a symptom of an underlying condition, such as a vitamin deficiency. Your doctor will be able to tell what’s wrong and prescribe the appropriate treatment to get you and your chapped lips well again.