Everything You Need to Know About Chapped Lips

Everything You Need to Know About Chapped Lips
Everything You Need to Know About Chapped Lips

It's easy to forget how sensitive our lips can be until they become chapped. Chapped lips are never a fun thing to deal with, especially since they are so common. Sometimes it feels like one gust of dry air can instantly dry up your lips and leave you scrambling to find a tube of lip balm. Plus, severely chapped lips can be quite painful and affect the way you move your lips. Lips that are peeling, cracked and dry can be irritating and make it difficult for you to smile or talk. Learn all about what causes chapped lips and how you can get your lips to feel supple and smooth again.

What Causes Chapped Lips?

In order to prevent your lips from getting chapped, it's important to be aware of what factors can cause your lips to dry out. By knowing what can cause your lips to chap, you can avoid having to deal with cracked and peeling lips.

Dry Air

This may be kind of a given, but dry air can really do a number on your lips. While it's a well-known fact that cold weather is a common cause of dry skin and lips, hot weather is not so forgiving either. Dry and cold wind can cause dry and cracking lips, and hot weather and dry wind can dry out your lips as well. 1 Be mindful of your lips before stepping out into dry weather, especially if you know you're going to be outside for a while.

Additionally, breathing through your mouth will dry out your lips easier because they come in contact with air more. 1 If you can, try to breathe through your nose more to keep your lips from chapping. Talk to your doctor about treatment options if you have a condition like sleep apnea or a cold. 1

Licking your lips

Licking your lips to keep them moist may be helpful in the moment, but it is only a temporary solution. Saliva coating is only effective for a few seconds before the water evaporates and dryness returns, so when saliva evaporates you will lose more moisture from your lips. 1 If you have the tendency to lick your lips often when your lips are chapped or peeling, it would be best to refrain from doing so.


Sunburn is another sneaky way to get chapped lips. When you're applying sunscreen on your body before a day out in the sun, it's easy to forget about protecting the skin on your lips. It's important to protect your lips from the sun during the winter as well, because the sun can burn dry, chapped lips more easily. 2

Skin Irritants

Some toothpastes contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is an irritant for lips that can cause dryness. 1 Check the ingredients of your toothpaste for sodium lauryl sulfate to see if that is the cause of your chapped lips. Acidic fruits like citruses can also be an irritant for your lips. 1 Be sure to avoiding touching acidic fruits to your lips when your lips are dry to avoid irritating the skin.

Metal Objects

Avoid holding objects made of metal with your lips, as they can further irritate your already sensitive lips. 2 Some metal objects that you might touch your lips to without thinking include paperclips, jewelry and metal straws.

Remedies for chapped lips

A good way to prevent or care for dry, chapped lips is to apply a non-irritating lip balm or lip moisturizer several times a day and before bedtime. 2 Try using ChapStick Classic Original lip balm that's designed to soften your lips and keep them from getting chapped. Keep your lips protected from the sun with ChapStick Moisturizer Original, an extra-protective lip balm that has 15 SPF.

Water is another important component to prevent chapped lips from occurring and keeping your lips moisturized. Chapped lips are dry lips, so you need to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water to keep the skin on your lips soft. 2 Always keep a glass or a bottle of water at your side to remind yourself to stay hydrated. Since dry air is a big cause of chapped lips, you should try to keep the air around you moist as well. Plugging in a humidifier in your bedroom can be especially helpful when caring for your lips, especially if you breathe through your mouth at night. 2 Humidifiers are devices that release water vapor or steam to increase moisture levels in the air, and can soothe other problems caused by dry air like dry sinuses and dry skin. 3

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