Chapped Lips – Causes and Cures


Varya Kluev

Winter is here. This season we all enjoy spending time with our loved ones, celebrating various holidays, watching snow fall silently through the window while we warm up by the fire. But, alongside the magical moments, the bitter and cold atmosphere can bring some problems. Some issues may be more severe than others, but one definitely is the most annoying—chapped lips. We’ve all gone through the trauma of waking up one morning, yawning, and feeling our lips explode into millions of tiny, painful cracks. It’s not pleasant. Chapped, or dry, lips can occur for a variety of reasons, the biggest being cold, dry weather, and lack of moisture inside and outside of the body.

Why our lips, in particular? Our lips don’t have oil glands, while other parts of the skin do. Therefore, lips are more prone to becoming dry and cracked. The lack of humidity in the air in the winter months accounts for our annual pain. Moisture evaporates from the lips quickly, leaving them flaky and dry. The wind dries out our lips, especially if we breathe through our mouths often. Continuously licking one’s lips make the effects worse, as well as forms a bad habit. It might seem like it’s helping at the moment, but in the long run, it will only worsen the condition. Dehydration and lack of self-care add to the problem. Luckily, chapped lips can be noticed quickly and treated easily. Dry lips can disappear in a couple of days, to a week at most. Just remember a few of these points and soon your lips will be back to their soft, natural state.

  • Drink plenty of water.  Not enough water causes dehydration, which will only worsen your chapped lips.
  • Use a humidifier.  Air can be dry inside as well as outside. Placing a humidifier in your room will increase the moisture in the air, keeping it damp and helping your skin and lips stay healthy.
  • Use lip balms and moisturizers.  Instead of licking your lips, apply lip balms or moisturizers throughout the day. Saliva will only dry out your lips more, while lip balms are specifically made to help the cause. Don’t have any lip balm? Sunscreen can be a good replacement.
  • Resist picking at your lips.  Lips, when chapped and dry, can become flaky. It can be tempting to pick the flakes off, but instead, use moisturizer or lip balm to soften them. In time, they will fall off naturally.
  • Breathe through your nose. If possible, try not to breathe through your mouth. This will dry your lips more.
  • Wear scarves around your mouth.  This can help stop the problem before it emerges. Even if chapped lips are already present, covering your mouth from the harsh winds can help the condition.

Don’t worry! You’re not alone. Chapped lips are very common and usually not a very severe condition, although they can be uncomfortable and annoying. Fortunately, they can be treated easily and quickly. Let’s stay healthy and happy this winter.