Chapped lips can happen to anyone. While they are typically more common in the colder, dryer months and tend to impact most people in the winter—they can literally strike at any time. Certain people are more prone to chapped lips than others, and it can leave the lips looking and feeling dry, flaky, unhealthy, and unattractive.
Your lips actually don’t have any oil glands. This is why lips are more prone to becoming chapped than any other area on the face. While there are temporary fixes to chapped lips, such as lip balms and chapsticks, these remedies are not permanent solutions to actually fixing your chapped lips. There are things that you can do to actually repair your lips and have them look new, typically in less than an hour.
If you are worried about chapped lips impacting your look and distracting your smile, there are things that you can do in order to fix your chapped lips and keep them looking vibrant, healthy, and moisturized. Here are a few different ways to make a major difference in your chapped lips.
Cleaning and Exfoliating to Treat Chapped Lips
One of the most proven ways to fix chapped lips and restore the look of dry, flaky lips is to clean and exfoliate the lips. First, you will need a few supplies:
- Cotton balls
- Moisturizing cleanser
- Homemade lip scrub with equal parts sugar, water, and honey
- Natural lip balm
- Carefully wash your lips with a cotton swab and a moisturizing cleanser. This will help soften the skin and remove any chemicals that may be irritating your already chapped lips.
- Rinse the lips off with cool water.
- Mix together your lip scrub. Use a wet washcloth, dip in the scrub, and gently exfoliate the lips until the patches of dry skin are gone. Rinse away excess scrub. Never use an exfoliant with salicylic acid in it. It is a common ingredient in store-bought exfoliators, and it can actually dry out the lips and make them worse.
- Instantly apply a natural lip balm. This will act as an emollient layer to keep the lips soft and hydrated and to prevent further chapping. Since the lips have just been exfoliated, you will want to avoid balms with fragrances, mint, or menthol in them. This includes citrus balms. These will only act as irritants and can aggravate your lips while in this sensitive state.
- Drink several glasses of water right away. Drinking 3-4 glasses of water in short succession will instantly hydrate the lips. It will keep them plump and smooth looking and will prevent re-chapping from occurring.
Using Aloe Vera
When lips are both cracked and dry, Aloe Vera can help repair the damage left behind by chapped lips. When lips are in this bad of a condition, regular cleansers may irritate the cracks and cuts in the lips. Instead of cleaning with a store-bought cleaner, use coconut oil and swab it over the lips. It will clean and begin moisturizing the lips without harming them.
Use a cotton swab or your finger to gently apply Aloe Vera onto the lips. Repeat this process three times per day. It will help soothe the pain almost instantly and will help heal the small cracks in the lips.
Applying Night Creams
Applying creams at night is a great way to cure chapped lips so you can wake up to a healthier-looking mouth. Many times, people with chapped lips may be biting, licking, or irritating their lips while they sleep without even realizing it. This is why night creams are so effective. They not only keep the lips hydrated and healthy while you sleep, but the taste of these creams will often prevent you from unknowingly licking or biting your lips.
Hydrocortisone cream is a great option for those who have really dry, rough, and cracked lips. It shouldn’t be used for a long period of time as it can cause a rash around the mouth, but if you use it nightly for 5-7 days, it will typically do its job and restore lips to their normal state. You shouldn’t have to use the cream for long.
Another alternative to hydrocortisone cream that can be used as frequently as needed is a topical moisturizer such as Aquaphor. It can deeply moisturize the skin over the lips and is best applied at night as it may impact the way certain foods taste.
Tips to Prevent Chapped Lips From Returning
No matter what approach you take in order to fix your chapped lips, there is always the possibility that your chapped lips will return. This is why it is important to know a few tips that can help keep your lips looking healthy and to prevent the chapping from returning.
- Drink as much water as possible. The more hydrated you are, the more hydrated your lips will be. This is the best way to keep lips looking healthy and plump and to keep the chapping at a minimum.
- Protect your lips in the winter. If you tend to get chapped lips when the winter weather worsens, these extreme conditions may be the cause of your issues. Use a scarf to protect your lips on cold winter days, especially when the winds are high.
- Consider a humidifier. If chapped lips continue to be an ongoing problem, then you may want to consider a humidifier to start adding moisture into the air. This is something you can have running at night. While you sleep, your lips and your entire skin will absorb the moisture from the air, and you will awaken with more plump and healthy-looking lips.
- Use cucumbers. Cucumbers are known for their moisturizing properties. Cut up a cucumber and hold it to your lips for 10 minutes for some instant hydration.
- Know your medications. If dry lips have become a chronic issue for you, then your medications could actually be the cause of your problems. Plenty of medications are known to cause dry mouth, which can increase lick-lipping and make chapped lips worse. There are also medications, such as high blood pressure medications, that can dry out lips completely.
- Protect Your Lips from the Sun. If you tend to get chapped lips more in the summer than in the winter, chances are sunburn is actually to blame. The skin on your lips is very thin and sensitive and needs to be protected from the sun. Apply a lip balm with SPF 15 sunscreen in it daily to prevent lips from burning and chapping.
Things That Make Chapped Lips Worse
There are many things you can do to help keep your lips healthy and prevent chapped lips from returning. There are also plenty of things that you should avoid when trying to fix your chapped lips, as they can make this condition worse. Here are a few major things to avoid when trying to cure chapped lips.
- Avoid Citrus. Citrus fruits are extremely acidic, and they can actually chap lips worse. If your lips are already chapped or irritated, don’t eat citrus fruits. The same rule actually applies to spicy foods as well.
- Avoid licking the lips. For most people, when they have chapped lips, their first reaction is to lick their lips to get them wet and moist right away. It is a natural tendency, but saliva evaporates almost immediately, meaning your lips will be even drier. Plus, saliva is filled with digestive enzymes that can leave your lips feeling more sore and irritated.
- Avoid kinds of toothpaste with artificial ingredients. Strong kinds of toothpaste that are filled with artificial ingredients are often to blame for chapped lips. Swap them out for a more natural toothpaste that won’t irritate easily-chapped lips.
- Avoid lip waxes. Lip waxes are often marketed as a natural solution for irritated lips. However, lips are going to heal better and faster when they are moist. This is why you should avoid waxes, which provide a protective layer but don’t hydrate as well, and stick with balms.
- Limit salt intake. High salt intake can actually dry out the lips and irritate them. If your lips are chapped, pass on the chips, nuts, and salty snacks.