6 Simple Solutions for Chapped, Dry Lips

Harsh weather often leads to rough, flaky lips. But you can prevent or treat this condition for next to nothing.

6 Simple Solutions for Chapped, Dry Lips Photo by Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock.com

It’s that time of year for snowstorms, icy roadways, heating bills — and chapped lips.

Fortunately, those rough, dry lips are a Jack Frost hallmark that can be prevented or treated at little to no cost.

Following are simple but effective tips for restoring chapped lips easily and cheaply. They require little more than some diligence and a few bucks.

1. Exfoliate

Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, a dermatologist based in Washington, D.C., tells Prevention magazine that exfoliation is “a good first step against chapped lips.”

Tanzi’s no-cost suggestion for sloughing away dead skin is to brush your lips with your toothbrush after brushing your teeth.

Other inexpensive methods include gently buffing your lips with a wet washcloth while in the shower, and making your own scrub with table sugar and petroleum jelly.

2. Keep lips covered

After exfoliation, apply a moisturizing lip balm. Regular application is key. That means six to eight times per day, according to WebMD. I keep a stick in my purse, desk, bathroom and nightstand to help me remain diligent.

The following products typically can be found at drugstores and big-box retailers for less than $5:

  • Aquaphor Lip Repair from Eucerin (also available from online retailers like Amazon, CVS, Target and Walgreens)
  • Yes To’s Coconut Naturally Smooth Lip Balm (also available from online retailers like Target and Walgreens)

3. Use SPF

Sun damage — which can happen even when it’s cloudy — is a major cause of dry lips, according to Paula Begoun, a skin care expert and author also known as “the Cosmetics Cop.”

So, for the daytime, look for a lip balm with what’s known as broad-spectrum sun protection. We explain this in “3 Simple Steps to Protect Your Skin Without Burning Your Budget.”

4. Watch out for irritants

Some common lip balm ingredients are actually skin irritants. These include:

  • Camphor
  • Citrus
  • Fragrance
  • Menthol
  • Peppermint

Not only do such ingredients have no benefit for lips, Begoun says, they could make dry or chapped lips worse. She continues:

“The classic example that’s sold almost everywhere is Carmex Lip Balm. This contains potent irritants that will have you reaching for more Carmex as your lips become drier, perhaps never realizing that it’s the lip balm itself that’s contributing to the problem.”

5. Drink enough water

Drinking enough water helps to ward off the dehydration that leads to chapped lips, according to WebMD.

How much water do you need? The general recommendations of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine are:

  • 2.7 liters (about 0.7 gallons) per day for women
  • 3.7 liters (about 1 gallon) per day for men

These amounts include water from all beverages and food. The National Academies say about 80 percent of folks’ total water intake comes from water and other beverages, including caffeinated drinks. The other 20 percent comes from food.

6. Avoid licking your lips

Licking your lips repeatedly can actually cause their thin skin to dry out.

Dr. Barbara Reed, a dermatologist based in Denver, tells U.S. News & World Report:

“If you’ve ever seen a desert after rain comes, you know the surface gets very flaky. The same thing happens to our lips.”

What’s your best tip for preventing or treating chapped or dry lips? Share it by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More

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