Wind, colder weather, and even the sun take a toll on our skin, including the lips. If you have experienced this, then you may wonder how to get rid of chapped lips. You can slather chapstick on all day and still suffer from it. QC Morning asked our own, Dr. Ashley Chandler, for suggestions on how to treat chapped lips.
Chapped lips are not only unattractive, but they can also be painful. Some symptoms include pain, peeling, and cracking of the lip skin.
What Causes Chapped Lips
Dr. Chandler explained that the air is much less humid during the winter, so our lips (and skin) have less moisture to draw from. Indoor heating further contributes to a dry environment which is also why you notice static cling more in the winter.
Most of the skin on our faces and bodies has sebaceous glands that produce the natural oils that help keep our skin moisturized. Unfortunately, the skin on our lips doesn’t have those glands, so they are especially vulnerable.
How to Prevent Chapped Lips
Try these tactics recommended by Dr. Chandler to prevent chapped lips and even treat them.
The lips benefit from gentle exfoliation just like the rest of the skin. This removes the dead skin, which is often dry and flakey. Dr. Chandler recommends exfoliating once a week during the winter. A light exfoliating polish does the trick, but please don’t rub or scrub the sensitive skin on the lips, especially when they are chapped and peeling.
Run a humidifier to correct the dry winter air in your bedroom or home. A humidifier can also help soothe your sinuses, lungs, and skin during the dry season. The EPA has a few recommendations for using and maintaining your humidifier:
- Consider using distilled water to minimize the risk of cross-contamination and mineral buildup.
- If your humidifier has the option of using demineralization cartridges or filters, be sure to use them.
- Clean and dry your humidifier every two-three days to prevent mold from growing in it.
- Avoid letting the area around the humidifier become wet or even damp. You may need to avoid placing it too close to absorbent textiles or carpeting or even turn down the level of humidification.
Coat your lips with a moisturizer, like a moisturizing lip balm, throughout the day to protect them from the dry air. Don’t forget to apply a moisturizing balm each night before going to bed to help lock in moisture.
Many people overlook the importance of sun protection for their lips. For daytime use, look for a lip balm with a broad-spectrum SPF. Wear it daily and frequently reapply it, especially after eating, drinking, or kissing. Dr. Chandler commented that these days people have gotten better at applying sun protection to their faces since it is in so many cosmetic products, but the lips are often overlooked. If you want to know what spf do you need for your face check out our article on SPF for your face.
When buying lip care products, look for the following beneficial ingredients:
- Ceramides help repair and protect the skin’s natural barrier
- Shea butter moisturizes with a variety of antioxidants and other vitamins
- Panthenol (Vitamin B5) promotes wound healing, repairs the skin, and hydrates
Not all balms are equal; some include ingredients that may dry or irritate your lips. Avoid harsh or drying ingredients like peppermint or eucalyptus oil since the lips are already vulnerable to a dry environment. Other common lip balm ingredients to avoid include camphor, cinnamon, menthol, oxybenzone, and octinoxate. Some of these ingredients are beneficial when used in other cosmetic and skincare products; we just don’t recommend them for the lips.
Another drying ingredient to avoid in your lip balm is alcohol which has some tricky ingredient names. Each ingredient variation of alcohol is named after its chemical compound. You might see SD alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, or even denatured alcohol.
Be strategic and mindful when using humectant ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid. Many regard Hyaluronic Acid as a wonder ingredient for skincare products since it draws moisture from the surrounding air. Sadly, left alone, sometimes it can further dry the lips during the dry winter months. Dr. Chandler recommends layering a barrier moisturizer over hyaluronic acid. Otherwise, it may pull moisture out of the lips, not just into them. Try using a product with an occlusive base ingredient like Aquaphor, beeswax, various kinds of butter, or petroleum jelly to trap the moisture.
About Dr. Chandler
Dr. Chandler is the Charlotte area’s go-to expert for everything related to skincare and plastic surgery. She practices at Charlotte Plastic Surgery and The Skin Center by CPS. She frequently shares her expertise through local media, and you may have seen her on WBTV, QC Morning, and other regional media.
With so much misinformation out there about beauty and skincare, she aims to do whatever she can to help people avoid some of the dangerous TikTok DIY beauty trends and focus their time and resources on safe and effective products and skincare services.
She discovered her love for surgery when she was just 11 years old. She accompanied her father, an orthopedic surgeon, for “Daughters to Work Day.” From that point on, she knew that she wanted to touch people’s lives through medicine and surgery. During her training, she felt drawn to plastic surgery; the rest is history. Her professional expertise includes breast reconstruction, aesthetics, skincare, and more.
During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Josh, and two sons, Jack and Rhett. She loves to cook and travel and enjoys running, walking, sailing, or kayaking outside. You can almost always find her walking or running in the evening with her family and their dog, Bailey.
Schedule Your Consultation Today to Learn How to Get Rid of Chapped Lips
The Skin Center by CPS sells effective, high-quality skincare products, including exfoliating polish and balms that can help prevent or manage chapped lips. Our team can help you navigate the tough choices so you can invest in skin care products and services that give you results.
Contact us today for a consultation or to learn about today’s best products.