Chapped Lips

You’ll never find a love letter with the simile, “Your lips are like the forlorn moonscape of a dried-up river bed.” Chapped lips are not sexy. Your paramour will see your cracked and scaly kisser and wonder, “Am I going to get cut on those things? Will I get a sliver?” But beyond vanity, chapped lips can be quite painful. When lips become dry and irritated, nerve endings are exposed and cold sores can develop. Bacteria also love to gather in the fissures and crags of your once-luscious lips. Fear not, for below you can learn how to get rid of chapped lips using practical home remedies, safe and natural lip balms, as well as medical treatments for severely chapped lips.

Quick fix for chapped lips:

Some petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) will create a good barrier to the elements, while also giving a bit of moisture and helping the pain from cracked lips.

What causes chapped lips?

Outside of very cold weather, the following are all to blame when it comes to chapped lips:

  • Licking your lips
  • Constant exposure to wind, sun, or cold, dry air
  • Dehydration
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Allergies to cosmetics or skin care products

Best Ways to Relieve Dry, Chapped Lips

Don’t lick your lips

Though this is difficult for the ladies when I’m around, licking one’s lips will dry them out. It only provides momentary satisfaction while the evaporation of the saliva serves to further dehydrate your lips. And don’t forget that saliva contains digestive enzymes. Marinated in your slobber all day, chapped lips become more painful and agitated. Stay away from tasty, flavored lip balms that intrigue your tongue. You’re better off buying feces-flavored products.

Get rid of chapped lips with lip balms

Lip balms act as a shield to protect your lips from drying elements, and moist lips heal much faster. Apply liberally and as often as needed. However, there is some controversy as to what makes for the best lip balm. The ingredients in some flagship products are said to cause irritation, and I did find some anecdotal evidence to support this. White petrolatum (pure petroleum jelly) and beeswax are often recommended to get rid of chapped lips, and they’re both neutral and safe. We’d recommend Jack Black Intense Therapy (sold at Amazon).

Keep your body and living quarters well hydrated

Cracked, chapped lips can be warning sign that your body isn’t properly hydrated. In that case, getting rid of chapped lips is pretty easy – drink more water and use lip balms until your lips heal. A dry atmosphere can also take its toll on your lips. In colder climates, furnaces and heating units sap indoor air of all moisture. If you live in a god-forsaken land as I do, get yourself a nice humidifier.

Protect your lips from the elements

If you’re going to trudge through a blizzard or brave arctic air, sling a scarf around your face. You cover up the rest of your skin – why not shield the thinnest, most sensitive skin on your body? If you plan on spending some time in the sun, use a lip balm that contains sunscreen and put on a nice, amply-brimmed hat. That golden tan won’t do you any good if your lips resemble a pair of cured slugs.

Protect and heal your lips at night

A night of mouth breathing exposes your lips to the drying effects of your own respirations. Whether you’re a chronic mouth breather or just have a cold, this cause of chapped lips is easily avoided. Before going to bed, apply a generous amount of lip balm such as white petrolatum (Vaseline) and use a breathing aid like nasal strips. Your lips will be vastly more kissable by morning

Getting Rid of Severely Chapped Lips


Really? Yes. This stuff has an oil base and will moisturize your chapped lips, reduce inflammation, and fight off bacteria hiding in cracks and fissures. Its smell and taste is – not surprisingly – very offensive. You won’t be licking your lips for awhile.

Hydrocortisone ointment

There’s nothing like a topical steroid to speed up the healing process. You’ll want to apply a thin layer of a 1% hydrocortisone ointment and seal it in with an emollient like Vaseline. If this doesn’t work after a week or two, talk to your doctor about getting a stronger (2.5%) solution.

Rosen’s Ointment

Often used for children with chapped lips, most pharmacists will mix this stuff up for you without a prescription. It consists of Burow’s solution, zinc oxide, and Aquaphor. You probably won’t use this paste during the day unless you want to look insane and possibly contagious. However, nighttime applications can get rid of severely chapped lips in a matter of days.

Best Natural Ways to Get Rid of Chapped Lips

Skin Deep

Skin Deep is a cosmetics database created by the Environmental Working Group – a consumer advocate organization. The cosmetics industry – to which lip balms and moisturizers belong – is comically, even tragically under-regulated. Skin Deep rates products and ingredients on their known or suspected toxicity, so you’ll know if you’re putting a potential poison on your lips. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than relying on the industry to police itself.

Vaseline Lip Therapy

Pretty basic here. White petrolatum with a little flavoring – this product scores a “2” on Skin Deep on a 10-point scale, 10 being the most toxic. In comparison, the most popular lip balm, Carmex, received a “7”. Vaseline will simply protect your lips and keep them moist to speed up the healing process.

ChapStick 100% Naturals

ChapStick makes a variety of natural lip balms for discerning consumers, including Botanical Medley, Lip Butter, and a product simply called All Natural. Each of these products scores an impressive “2” on Skin Deep. All and all these are a great natural alternative for those who love their lip balm in stick form.

Dolce de Limone Lip Balm

Made from beeswax, honey, and various essential oils, this stuff will protect and hydrate your lips. It also smells nice, enticing your lover for some smooching. Downside – it comes in a tin so you’ll want to wash your hands before using. Also, its intoxicating aroma may cause lip licking.


It stands to reason that if chapped lips happen due to dryness, there might be an issue in your house. So, consequently, employing a humdifier may help with the moisture content in your house. Amazon sells a few single-room units like this humidifier from Pure Enrichment that has a lot of cool features. However, just remember the larger your home the larger a humidifier you’ll need.

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About the Author

Julianne Ragland

Julianne Ragland