How To Get Rid Of Dry Lips

Colder weather means cozy sweaters, crackling fires, soothing warm drinks and other seasonal pleasures. Unfortunately, it also means dry, cracked, and even bleeding lips, which can interfere with our enjoyment of the season — or anything else, for that matter. 

Lips are one of those areas of skin that we tend to forget about when we think about pampering and moisturizing during frigid autumn and winter months. The combination of cold, windy air outdoors and heated dry air indoors combine to damage the thin, delicate skin on our lips. Other chapping culprits include spicy foods and exposure to saliva when licking your lips. Certain health conditions — such as underactive thyroid and IBS, or a deficiency of vitamins, such as B complex and iron — also dry out the mouth, according to Everyday Health. You may also be using the wrong lip balm; some have ingredients that irritate your lips and make matters worse, per the American Academy of Dermatology.

Apart from being an annoyance, chapped or cracked lips can have an effect on your entire oral health. As Colgate points out, you're less likely to brush and floss thoroughly if it makes your lips hurt – and that, in turn, can have serious consequences for your teeth and gums. Fortunately, making a few simple fixes to your lip care routine can help keep dry lips from spoiling your cold-weather fun.

Check the ingredients in your lip balm, to start

As with any dry skin, the key to keeping chapped lips under control is to practice consistent daily care. Start by choosing a lip balm containing at least 30 SPF sunscreen, plus petrolatum or glycerine, which help seal in moisture, per WebMD. But not all lip balms are the same: Avoid ones containing phenol, menthol, salicylic acid, or flavorings, which can actually damage your lips even more, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Apply the balm regularly throughout the day, and especially before bedtime, which allows the moisturizers to do their work all night.

Protecting lips also comes from the outside in. Drink plenty of water during the day, and consider using a cool-mist humidifier in your bedroom at night to keep the air moist. If your lips do start drying or chapping, avoid the temptation to pick at the loose or stiff skin, and don't lick or bite your lips, which also robs them of moisture. And, suggests Cosmopolitan, use a lip scrub at least once a week to remove dry skin and maintain softness.

When you're outdoors in cold weather, keep the chill winds from damaging your lips. WebMD recommends using a scarf to cover your mouth. Or get back in the habit of wearing a mask outside, which also protects your lips from the elements.

Following these guidelines will keep your lips soft and comfortable all winter long. However, if you still notice excessive dryness despite regular moisturizing and exfoliation, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends seeking medical attention.