Why Your Lips Are Chapped in Winter—and How to Prevent It

Photo by @cwellpics for Twenty20

Your lips can become dry and scaly any time year, but it’s most common to suffer from chapped lips in the winter. (Are you licking your lips in agreement right now?) Thankfully, by paying some special attention to those puckers, you can have healthy lips in no time. Read one for the three reasons your lips may be chapped—and how to prevent it.

#1: They’re Unprotected

Much like your hands, your lips are almost always exposed to the elements. However, your lips don’t have oil glands, so they don’t have a natural buffer from the elements. This is where lip balm comes in. You should look for one that is high in emollients (moisturizers) to seal in hydration; beeswax and lanolin are great natural emollients.

If you use lip gloss or lipstick, apply lip balm before any color; this will seal in the moisture. Reapply frequently throughout the day—six to eight coats per day is advised, but keep one handy on your desk or in your pocket and reapply not only as needed but also preemptively.

When you’re outside in the winter, especially in extreme temperatures, cover up! Wear a scarf around town or a ski mask if you’re engaging in outdoor activities to protect your lips from the elements.

#2: They’re Dehydrated

While chapped lips can certainly be caused by a chilly winter breeze or cold temperatures, they can also be caused by general dehydration. Fighting the dehydration that causes chapped lips is one of the many benefits of drinking water, so drink up. If it’s not part of your routine, here are a few easy ways to trick yourself into drinking more water.

Winter air is dry, so you should also invest in a humidifier (or two) to moisten the air in your home and office. Turn one on while you sleep, or while you’re working, and it will infuse the air with the moisture that your skin and lips crave.

#3: They’re Irritated

If your lips are chapped, follow the steps above and do nothing to irritate them. Exfoliating your lips can actually cause further damage to your lips, and peeling or biting them will cause even more irritation as well as slow down the recovery process.

You should also avoid ingredients that may aggravate them further; For instance, camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol are all known to cause dryness. (Big hint: don’t smoke!) If you’rve followed all of the above steps and find your lips are still chapped, you may have an allergy. Consult a doctor. Even recommended natural emollients like shea butter or soybean oil may irritate your lips if you have an allergy.

Ready for healthy lips? Try our hint® lip balm and keep your lips safe from the cold.