The secret to healing dry, cracked and chapped lips is to never let your lips go naked. Using lip balms that hydrate and seal in moisture will accelerate the healing process, as moist skin heals faster than dry skin. In addition to using the right lip balm, drink plenty of water to keep lips healthy and nourished and use a humidifier in your home.
Hydrate and Nourish Cracked Lips
When choosing a lip balm, pick one that includes ingredients known to hydrate lips. Hydrating ingredients include shea butter and vitamin E. The natural nourishing power of vitamin E, when combined with shea butter, will do double duty in protecting lips by simultaneously hydrating and nourishing lips. Other nourishing ingredients to look for include petrolatum, castor seed oil, sunflower seed oil and squalane.
Seal in Moisture
An emollient lip balm or ointment will create a barrier, which will help seal cracks to prevent moisture from evaporating. Lanolin and beeswax are natural substances that help prevent moisture in the lips from escaping. Petroleum jelly, glycerin, mineral oil, aloe, lactic acid and sorbitol are also great sealants.
A lip balm with an SPF will protect lips from sun damage, which will accelerate the healing process. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends protecting lips with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Ingredients to Avoid
Alcohol-based ingredients may provide immediate relief but can create lip balm dependency by drying out the lips with each use. Avoid ingredients like menthol, camphor and eucalyptus, which may provide a temporary cooling sensation and pleasant scent but can make lips drier in the long run. Salicylic acid is an exfoliating ingredient, and cracked lips will be irritated by this ingredient. In addition, avoid irritants such as fragrance, which will accelerate drying.
References and ResourcesWebMD: Why Your Lips Are Chapped
MayoClinic.com: Chapped Lips: What's the Best Remedy?
WebMD: How to Get Beautiful Lips
Doctor Oz: The Cure for Chapped Lips
American Academy of Dermatology: Skin Cancer: Tips for Preventing and Finding