The Best Tips to Avoid Dry and Chapped Lips

Chapped Lips: Unpleasant and Uncomfortable

Dry, chapped lips are an unpleasant and very visual reminder of what the weather conditions are like outside. Too hot, too cold or too windy and your lips can act as your own little weather beacon becoming flaky, rough and sore, much to your embarrassment and discomfort. There's a lot you can do to relieve the misery of chapped lips.

The best policy is to prevent chapped lips before they happen. Diet, lifestyle and some minor additions to your skincare regime can go a long way to stopping your lips drying out. If your lips do get chapped, you can easily remedy the situation.

Here are some great tips for chapped lips.

Sometimes you just have to cover up to avoid chapped lips
Sometimes you just have to cover up to avoid chapped lips | Source

Lip Skin Facts: Why Our Lips Get Chapped

  • Most of the skin on our faces has around 16 cellular layers. Our lips, however, have only 3 to 5.
  • The lips have no sweat glands or oil producing glands, so no natural protective layer is produced.

Tip #1: Put Up A Barrier

The skin on your lip is thinner than the rest of your skin and lacks a natural barrier of its own (see box opposite). In addition, our mouths are generally always exposed to the elements. These two facts are what cause our lips to often become dry. Fortunately, it's simple to sort this out.

Firstly, invest in a lip balm or lip salve (see below). You may be tempted by petroleum jelly, it's a cheap and effective barrier after all. However, whilst petroleum jelly can stop moisture loss, it won't actually moisturise or repair the skin. Instead, opt for a balm that contains lanolin or natural ingredients and essential oils. A sunscreen is a great ingredient in a lip balm too.

Secondly, cover your lips when the temperature plummets. Pull up your scarf around your mouth and keep the wind at bay. If hot, sunny weather is the problem, shade your face with a wide-brimmed hat.

2 Ways to Exfoliate your Lips

  • Put a generous dab of petroleum jelly on your lips. Gently brush your lips with a very soft toothbrush (ie a baby's toothbrush).
  • Mix equal amounts of sugar and olive oil. Put on to your lips. Gently remove with a soft cloth (watch the video below!)

How to Make a DIY Lip Scrub

Tip #2: Tweak Your Lifestyle and Diet

Our lifestyle and diet impact on all aspects of our health, lips included. Whilst dry lips isn't the most serious health concern you are likely to face, you could perhaps see your chapped lips as a wake-up call to make some changes to your life. Here are some tips that will boost your lips and your health.

It should come as no surprise that smoking has an adverse effect on the appearance of our lips. Smokers' lips tell their own story; they are particularly dry and lined. Dragging on a cigarette not only robs the lips of what little natural oil they have, but the constant pursing of the lips encourages deep lines. Another good reason to give up.

Keeping hydrated makes a major contribution to clear, healthy skin, lips included. Dehydration shows up quickly in your lips. Make an effort to drink plenty of clear liquids throughout each day.

A great diet makes for great health and great lips too. Stock up on Omega 3 rich foods to keep your lips looking plump and luscious. Walnuts provide a good source of Omega 3; a serving is about an ounce or 14 shelled halves.

Tip #3: Avoidance Tactics

If you want to avoid chapped lips, avoid these habits and medications.

Lip licking can become a major problem in the battle against sore lips. If your lips are dry, licking them is an almost involuntary action. Whilst it provides short lived relief it actually adds to the problem and a vicious cycle is started. Make a conscious effort to stop this habit and, if you know that it is something you are prone to do, don't choose a flavoured lip balm - it will be counter-productive!

Some people's chapped lips are caused by contact dermatitis. If you suddenly get dry lips and have switched skincare products, the two may be linked. You may need to use products for sensitive skins.

Certain medicines can dehydrate the lips. There have been reports that some acne treatments will cause chapping to the mouth. If this happens, see your doctor to discuss alternatives.

Lip Balm Quick Quiz

Fabulous Lip Balms

If you spend a lot of time outside you really do need to invest in a lip balm to prevent chapped lips. Popular ingredients for balms are lanolin, beeswax, Vitamin E, Shea or Cocoa butter and Olive or Almond Oil.

My advice would be to choose a balm that you can afford in plentiful quantities. This allows you to have a tube or tin in every handbag, every coat pocket, the car, the office drawer - you need never be without one. When I have found my lips particularly uncomfortable there is one cream I turn to: Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream. It's expensive for a lip balm, but it has a multitude of other uses and a long shelf life. Well worth the money.

© 2011 Judith Hancock

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Comments 26 comments

gchicnotes 5 years ago

Nice hub! My son suffers from dry lips year round and uses chapstick to help. I enjoyed your tips especially about exfoliating lips. Voted up and useful.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi gchicnotes - so pleased that you found this hub useful, hope that it helps your son out.

Thank you for your comments, much appreciated :-)


Beth Pipe profile image

Beth Pipe 5 years ago from Cumbria, UK

My love of hiking means I'm always battling dry and chapped lips - I do need to remember to keep them covered more! Great advice.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Beth - yes, walking the dog along the coastal path may be having a positive impact on my butt, but it doesn't do much for my lips. Have considered a balaclava, but now putting these tips into practice instead ;-)


gchicnotes 5 years ago

You're welcome Judi!


Sneha Sunny profile image

Sneha Sunny 5 years ago from India

Useful hub. I've never leave my lips dry. But each time I put something (or even if I don't) I keep on licking my lips. Which ultimately leave my lips dry! I'll try to control this. But I exfoliate my lips the using the same method-- petroleum jelly and brush.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Sneha Sunny - it's a difficult habit to break, I know. Hope the exfoliation is helping!

Thanks for your comments, really appreciated :-)


Evylyn Rose profile image

Evylyn Rose 5 years ago from Colorado, USA

My lips have been particularly dry this year more so than the past few, so your hub is coming at a great time for me. Thanks for the tips! I'll be sure to put them to practice. ;)


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Evylyn Rose - glad to have been of service! Be sure to try the exfoliation tip - it works well.

Great to hear from you :-)


Evylyn Rose profile image

Evylyn Rose 5 years ago from Colorado, USA

I certainly will. ;) Now if I can just stop licking!


NiaG profile image

NiaG 5 years ago from Louisville, KY

Great hub! I never leave home without my moisture. I love my Carmex.


DonnaCosmato profile image

DonnaCosmato 5 years ago from USA

Good tips and advice; I'm amazed that I did not realize that adequate hydration would help chapped lips. Excellent recommended products as well...it is hard to find a better lip balm than Burt's Bees. Voted up and useful.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York

Good advice. Most of us do believe vaseline is the best but I have to agree with DonnaCosmato, Burt's Bees is great! Timely subject, well written. Voted up.


SanneL profile image

SanneL 5 years ago from Sweden

Judi, great tips to keep our lips happy!

I do consume a lot of walnuts and drink a lot of water. Now I just have to try the olive oil and sugar exfoliator.

Voted up and very, very useful.

Thanks!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Great tips Judi, I hate dry, sore lips.

I will certainly give the olive oil and sugar exfoliator a go, many thanks for sharing and voting up.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Ladies, just got in from work and found your comments - what a nice welcome home!

@ Nia - thanks for the compliment and your gorgeous smile is a great endorsement for Carmex!

@ Donna - another beautiful smile, so Burt's Bees must be doing a great job too!

@tillsontitan - thank you for your comment. Great pout on that profile picture, another Burt's Bees triumph!

@Sannel - I really wish I liked walnuts, but I just don't - my Omega 3 has to come from fish. The exfoliation works really well.

@Movie Master - my pleasure, hope you find the olive oil and sugar effective, I certainly have.

Many thanks to you all :-)


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

I love Burt's Bees and an all natural citrus one from Tropical Traditions (contains coconut oil). I think most of us probably don't even think about diet but you are so right, that does play a big role! Great hub:)


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Kris - I haven't heard of Tropical Traditions, don't know that we have it in the UK - sounds delicious though!

Thanks for your comments, I appreciate it :-)


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

I always put chapstick on when I am driving with the heat on in the car or when I am at work. The building I work in does not have a humidifier running along with the heat so lip balm helps tremendously! And like you said, drinking plenty of water is important too. Nice hub!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi ktrapp - yes, dry heated air is the enemy of moisturised skin. I never sleep in a heated room to avoid waking up looking like a shrivelled old prune!

Thanks for your comments :-)


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

Great tips. It seems like I always struggle with this during the winter but I've been proactive this year and it seems to be working. I just hope I can remember these tips!


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Alecia - sometimes it seems that our lips are never happy - dehydrated by cold in the winter and the sun in the summer! Hope that you can make use of some of these tips.

Thanks for stopping by, much appreciated :-)


Thundermama profile image

Thundermama 3 years ago from Canada

What a timely hub for me, my three girls really struggle in our cold, Canadian winters with chapped lips and your hub has given me some great tips. More water, walnuts and scarves for all. Voted up and sharing.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 3 years ago from UK Author

Hi Thundermama - glad my hub was in the right place at the right time! Wishing you and your girls a smoother winter - thanks so much for reading and comments, I appreciate it.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Canadian winters can be brutal and your hub is not only perfect for me but for my boys as well. They all love this time of year with snowboarding and skiing. I'll pass this onto them as well as others.


Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 3 years ago from UK Author

Hi Susan - just had an email from Canadian cousins to say that they are quitting their winter wonderland for sunny South America for a while. Hope that your boys find the hub useful!

Thanks very much for your comments and shares, always appreciated.

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