6 Ultra-Soothing Chapped Lip Treatments Dermatologists Swear By
Painfully cracked, chapped lips can seem as synonymous with winter as a warm, faux fur jacket, but fortunately, solutions exist to heal the driest of lips. Even in the dead of winter, you can keep those smackers flake-free and perfectly soft—if you follow a few basic tips and utilize the right lip balms, of course. We asked five beauty and skincare experts to reveal the best lip balms and skincare tips they rely on season after season to keep skin feeling soft and soothed.
Chapped Lips Causes
Sure, the combo of blistering winds and frigid temperatures can quickly equate to excessively dry lips, but chapped lips are actually an inflammation of the lips, also known as cheilitis, according to Dr. Barbara Sturm, a German aesthetics doctor and founder and CEO of Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics. "Lip skin is much thinner and more delicate than the rest of your body, and it has a smaller concentration of oil glands than the rest of the skin," she says. "Because they're constantly exposed to environmental factors, such as cold weather, makeup, UV, and pollution, the skin barrier function of the lips is constantly under siege, leading to inflammatory dryness, irritation, and flaking."
Chapped Lips Remedy
In mild cases, chapped lips can repair themselves with a quick swipe of a hydrating lip balm applied both throughout the day and before bed. However, in severe cases that result in peeling, chapped lips, you'll want to (very gently) use a scrub to help remove existing flakes before applying an emollient lip balm. This quick step will gently slough away any excessive dry skin before the application of an ultra-soothing lip balm.
When it comes to lip care products, swipe on a balm and reapply it generously (and often). The secret to preventing dry lips is to keep them covered and hydrated at all times, even after eating and drinking. And don't forget to slather on a thick amount of product right before hitting the hay.
While most lip balms help heal peeling lips, there are a few ingredients to avoid. Lesley Rabach, MD, a double board certified facial plastic surgeon and co-founder of LM Medical NYC, recommends avoiding lip products that include alcohol. "Many products for lips have alcohol hidden in the ingredients, which will actually make them even more dry," she says. Also, look out for bold synthetic fragrances and flavorings in lip balms, like menthol, peppermint, and cinnamon because they can further dry out lips.
"Most lip balms and treatments are actually designed to dehydrate over time," says Sara Happ, founder of The Lip Scrub. "That's why you're constantly needing to reapply throughout the day; the more you need, the more you use, and the more you buy." Instead, reach for any of the foolproof, nourishing options below to heal peeling lips over time.