Cold winters bring comfy sweaters, hot chocolate and cozying up in front of a warm fire. Unfortunately, with that may also come chapped, dry and cracked lips. But no need to worry. Here are seven natural chapped lip remedies that’ll leave your lips feeling smoother and softer in no time.
Prevention is the best medicine for chapped lips
The skin on your lips is thinner and more delicate, making them vulnerable to the wind, spicy foods and even toothpaste. Surprisingly, even vitamin deficiency can contribute to chapped lips. According to Institute for Integrated Health Care, certain nutritional deficiencies cause insufficient cellular hydration. So, apart from upping your nutrients, what else can you do to prevent dry, chapped lips?
Stop licking your lips
Chronic licking only aggravates the delicate skin on your lips. While you may want to lick away dryness, your saliva will only further irritate the skin. Human saliva contains two compounds that promote dryness — amylase and maltase. These digestive enzymes strip away the sensitive skin of your lips, leaving them exposed to dry air. So, instead of moisturized lips, you’ll end up with dry, cracked and chapped lips. In addition, avoid flavored lip balms that can tempt you into licking your lips.
Breathe through your nose
It’s something that we don’t really think about when we’re going about our day. But even something as simple as breathing through your mouth can dry out your lips. Instead, try breathing through your nose to give the skin on your lips a much-needed break.
Stop picking your lips
When your lips are dry and flaky, resist the urge to pick at them. It will only make matters worse and could create painful, bleeding areas.
Avoid lip balm with peppermint oil
Peppermint oil is cool and refreshing. But when it comes to your lips, it’s one of the most irritating ingredients in lip balms. A dermatitis study from Canada tested sensitivity to propolis, lanolin, coconut oil, almond oil, vitamin E and peppermint oil in lip balm. It seems out of all the ingredients, peppermint oil tested most likely to contribute to acute contact dermatitis.
Pass on the matte lipsticks
Matte lip colors can be drying on the lips. But if you must wear a matte color, use a natural lip conditioner underneath.
Avoid spicy, salty and citrus fruit
Certain foods can cause chapped lips, including spicy and salty foods. Even some citrus fruits can do some damage, like oranges. While your lips are healing, it’s best to avoid these types of foods.
Don’t expose your lips to wind
Freezing wind is an aggravator for dry lips. During the cold and windy months, cover your lips with the scarf you normally wear around your neck. You need all the protection you can get!
Avoid petroleum-based lip balm
At first, a petroleum-based lip balm may hydrate your lips. But repeated use can make you dependent on it for moisture. Petroleum stops the skin from breathing, which creates cell dehydration. In turn, your lips will continue to dry out even worse between applications.
Try a natural toothpaste
Artificial flavors and synthetic ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate can cause your lips to become irritated and dry. In fact, according to a study, sodium lauryl sulfate is one of the most widely used synthetic detergents in toothpaste. And it comes with some side effects. For dry, chapped lips, natural toothpaste is a better alternative.
Natural chapped lip remedies
If you’re plagued with chapped lips —no matter how hard you try to remedy it — then it’s time to focus on all all-natural chapped lip remedies. Here is a handful of ideas to get you through winter.
1. Sugar sweet lip scrub
Exfoliating your lips occasionally is a great way to remove dry, dead skin. Gently, rub a little of this scrub on your lips to exfoliate and reveal your smooth skin underneath. Follow up with a natural emollient.
- 1/2 tsp raw honey
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp organic unrefined coconut sugar
- Small container
1. Mix together honey, coconut oil and vanilla in a small mixing bowl.
2. Add the coconut sugar and blend gently.
3. Fill a small container and store for future use.
2. Aloe vera
Aloe vera has been used for centuries as a healing medicinal plant. It stores water in its leaves and is commonly used in many beauty products. Aloe vera is a natural moisturizer with anti-inflammatory properties. The water-like gel in the leaves also contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants that will work wonders for your lips. Simply squeeze the gel from one fresh aloe leaf and rub onto your lips. Leave it on until it dries and then wash it off. Repeat this process regularly to alleviate chapped lips.
3. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is one of the best natural chapped lip remedies. It’s rich in medium-chain fatty acids that easily absorb into the skin. Best of all, it serves as a softening agent and a moisturizer. Coconut oil also allows for easier absorption of vitamins, including the fat-soluble vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that reduces the formation of free radicals that damage cells. Just rub a small amount onto your lips several times a day.
Raw cucumber is 90 percent water and therefore acts as a great natural moisturizer for dry, chapped lips. Cucumber is also rich in vitamin C, which enhances collagen production. Collagen provides resilience to the delicate skin tissue on the lips. Cucumber also contains caffeic acid. Caffeic acid is an organic antioxidant that helps prevent free-radical damage from the sun. Rub a small slice of cucumber over your chapped lips. Leave the juice on your lips for 15 to 20 minutes, then wash it off.
5. Honey lip balm
Honey has the power to moisturize and heal, making it an ideal treatment for chapped lips. It also has antibacterial powers, which helps prevent infection. Simply apply lip balm with finger or brush and leave on.
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Small container
1. Blend ingredients together in a small bowl.
2. Fill a small container for future use.
6. Mango butter
Mango butter is derived from the kernels of a mango. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin E. The fats in mango butter are mostly triglycerides, oleic and stearic acids. This makes mango butter ideal for adding softness and moisture to the lips. Rub a small amount of mango butter on your lips. Allow it to dry and then wash it off.
One of the cheapest and easiest natural chapped lip remedies is water. Dehydration is a major cause of chapped lips. Lips can reflect your health, suggests Food World News. If you’re well hydrated, then your lips will be well-hydrated. And when your lips are chapped and sore, it’s a good indication that you need to increase your fluid intake. Remember, soda, tea, juice, and coffee don’t count. In fact, they can exasperate the problem. In addition to water, up your moisture with fruits and vegetables. For soft lips, stay well hydrated and moisten the air in your home with a humidifier, suggests the Mayo Clinic.
The key is to moisturize your chapped lips as soon as possible. Remember, keep hydrated, avoid the sun and add a little natural emollient. If chapping is severe and persistent, and self-care remedies don’t seem to help, consult a doctor. Occasionally, chronic chapped lips may indicate an underlying problem, such as a vitamin deficiency, fungal infection or even an allergy.
— Katherine Marko