Chapped Lips and How You Can Prevent or Treat Them
There can be several reasons why our lips become dry and chapped.
There is even a medical name given to this condition - cheilitis simplex or common cheilitis - which is characterized by cracking of the lips. The lower lip usually becomes inflamed. There may also be burning or the formation of large, painful cracks when the lips are stretched. Chronic cheilitis simplex can progress to crusting and bleeding.
What causes chapped lips?
While it can sometimes be related to an underlying condition, it may be caused by:
- Exposure to dry winter air
- Frequent lip licking
- Mouth breathing
- Inadequate healthy fat in the diet
- Nutrient and vitamin deficiency
- Reaction to toothpaste or lip products
- Irritant foods
- Spending time in hospital after surgery or other procedures
While it is usually possible to treat the condition yourself, please see a doctor if you notice: Chapping that doesn't heal as it can be a sign of infection or a more serious problem like actinic cheilitis.
- Avoid licking your lips. When lips feel dry, it may feel natural to wet them by licking them, but this can worsen the problem. As saliva evaporates, your lips become drier.
- Keep the lips moisturized with a natural product.
- Never pick or peel your lips as this can irritate them and prevent healing.
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Chapped lips are dry lips.
- Avoid allergens such as perfumes, dyes and more, ensuring that any cosmetic you apply to your lips is as natural as possible. For example, if your lips burn, sting or feel uncomfortable when you apply a product to your lips, it means you’re irritating your lips so stop using that product.
Avoid holding items made of metal with your lips. Paperclips, jewellery, and other everyday products made of metal can irritate your already sensitive lips.
Plug in a humidifier at home. A humidifier in your bedroom can be especially helpful, especially if you breathe through your mouth at night.
Avoid these ingredients in products that you might be tempted to apply to the lips:
- Flavoring: Cinnamon, citrus, mint, and peppermint flavors can be especially irritating to dry, chapped lips
- Octinoxate or oxybenzone
- Phenol (or phenyl)
- Propyl gallate
- Salicylic acid
The following are ingredients that can actually help to heal chapped lips:
Castor seed oil
- Hemp seed oil
- Shea butter
- Sun-protective ingredients, such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide
- Remember to use products that are fragrance free and hypoallergenic.
Our own Simply Vitamin Skin Oil is the perfect remedy for treating chapped lips being one of a kind nutritional blend of oils to feed the delicate skin on your lips (and other areas). Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and Omega fatty acids - all essential for the balance and nourishment of your skin. This rare formula is made from a blend of pure natural cold pressed and expeller pressed precious oils with a small molecular structure so they can penetrate the skin. Use to nourish and heal chapped lips several times a day and at bedtime.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017). Dehydration: Definition.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/basics/definition/con-20030056. (Accessed August 2, 2021)
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1949217/ (Accessed August 2, 2021)
Gibson LE. (2016). Chapped lips: What’s the best remedy?
mayoclinic.com/health/chapped-lips/AN01440 (Accessed August 2, 2021)