Prevention and Cure of Chapped Lips

The lips may easily become chapped and sore, especially after exposure to hot, cold or windy weather – for example, when taking part in outdoor sports. They are particularly vulnerable to chapping because, unlike skin elsewhere, they have no sebaceous (oil producing) glands and therefore lack a protective oily barrier.

Hot or windy weather dries out the skin, while cold weather reduces the blood circulation in exposed areas. These adverse weather conditions can lead to sore, cracked, rough skin on the lips. Constantly wetting lips is also likely to cause chapping. It is often tempting to lick sore lips to soothe them, but this will give only short term relief. Not only is the prolonged wetting of skin likely to dry it out and worsen the chapping, but as saliva dries, it can irritate the lips and increase their soreness.

Always protect your lips against the harsh weather elements, especially if they are already dry. This means applying a barrier, such as lip balm or salve, every time you go outdoors. Reapply frequently, especially after eating, drinking, brushing your teeth or washing your face. On sunny days, especially during the summers, use a sunscreen or sun block formulated to use on the lips. Lipstick can act as a barrier, but some types, especially those designed to last all day, can be drying. So, buy only those lipsticks that contain moisturizers. In winter, use a humidifier or place bowls in a safe place near heaters to counteract the drying effect of heated air on the skin and lips.

Massage dry lips with a generous dab of petroleum jelly. Then leave it on for two minutes to soften the skin. To remove the petroleum jelly together with any loose flakes of dry skin, sub your lips with a warm, damp face washer or gently brush them with a soft toothbrush dipped in warm water. Apply a little olive oil, which has soothing properties and makes the skin suppler. Combine rosewater with the same quantity of glycerin, which also has soothing properties and can reduce irritation and inflammation. Apply two or three times a day to chapped lips. Puncture a vitamin E capsule and apply the oil directly to the skin.