Chapped lips, a condition medically known as cheilitis, is a common and uncomfortable issue. Although it’s most common in winter, it can also occur in fair weather. It’s characterized by dry, irritated, and peeling lips.
According to Dr. Joshua Ziechner, MD, of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, it happens due to disruption of the outer skin layer and inflammation. This often results in flaky and sometimes red or bloody lips, which can be uncomfortable or even painful.
Dr. Ziechner says that environmental exposures that lead to irritation are the main cause. Exposures may include saliva and licking your lips. Spicy foods and cold, dry weather can also expose you to chapped lips.
Some people also get chapped lips from common cold and sun damage, while others get it from medications such as cholesterol-lowering agents. Although less common, you may also get chapped lips from allergic reactions.
However, chapped lips may also be a sign of an underlying condition. For instance, many people with thyroid disease and vitamin deficiency have chapped lips. Cheilitis is especially common in people with low thyroid function and those lacking B complex vitamins.
Other medical conditions that may cause chapped lips are;
- Low zinc levels
- Low iron levels
- Crohn’s disease
- Angular cheilitis
Get Rid of Chapped Lips Naturally
If your favorite lip balm isn’t doing the trick, you can take steps to get rid of chapped lips naturally. Consider the following five remedies;
1. Coconut oil
Carrier oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, and castor oil are natural moisturizers containing healthy fatty acids that hydrate and condition the skin. They also function as lubricants that can make your lips soft and supple. You can combine them with essential oils such as tea tree oil or grapeseed oil to speed up the healing process.
Make a blend by adding 1-2 drops of the essential oil to your carrier oil and apply the mixture to your lips. We recommend applying the blend two or three times daily until the problem goes away. Make sure also to apply it when going to bed.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera contains antioxidants, enzymes, Vitamin A, and vitamin C – all of which are critical to healthy skin. It also has inflammatory properties, which makes it practical for burns, acne, and dry skin. The enzymes in the plant are critical to get rid of chapped lips naturally. They help exfoliate the skin to make it smoother. It’s also an excellent moisturizer, which makes it even better for dry, chapped lips.
Cut the Aloe Vera leaf sideways and scoop out the gel into a container. Then, apply a little gel to your lips every day before you go to bed.
3. Honey + Vaseline
You’ve likely tried Vaseline before to make your lips softer and suppler. The same Vaseline can also help treat chapped lips. However, for the best outcome, you want to mix it with honey. Honey has natural antibacterial properties and is one of nature’s best healing agents. It’s also an antiseptic, which explains why it’s used to treat acne. We recommend raw honey.
Begin by applying a layer of honey on your lips, then follow up with a layer of Vaseline. Then leave for 15 minutes and wipe with a damp tissue or cloth. Repeat the process once a day until the problem goes away.
You might have heard or seen people use cucumber facemasks to improve skin texture. Some also use it as a remedy for skin conditions such as acne. It’s because cucumber, which is 96% water, cools down blood temperature and reduces swelling. It also contains vitamin C and caffeic acid, both antioxidants that help repair the skin.
For chapped lips, you only need a slice of cucumber. Rub the cucumber slice gently on your lips for a minute or two and leave the juice on your lips for about ten minutes. Then rinse or wipe off the juice with a damp cloth. Repeat the process 1-2 times daily.
Finally, when dead skin cells build up on your lips, it can prevent your lips from getting the moisture they need to stay hydrated and supple. This can cause or worsen cheilitis. Gently exfoliating the lips can help remove the dead tissue. Sugar is one of the best natural exfoliants around. When mixed with honey, it becomes an excellent moisturizing lip scrub.
To make a sugar exfoliant at home, mix one tablespoon of sugar and one tablespoon of honey (coconut oil is another excellent option) in a bowl and apply it gently onto your lips. Then, gently rub your lips in a circular motion for a minute before wiping off the excess scrub. It would be best if you did this at least once daily. Always apply petroleum jelly after the session to preserve moisture.
Other home treatments you can get rid of chapped lips naturally, include green tea bags, cocoa butter, vanilla extract, and beeswax.