Everybody has had cracked lips, usually in the winter. Lips become dry and not only flake, but split open, revealing painfully raw, tender skin exposed to the air. Cracked lips can be cured through a series of lifestyle changes, including proper hydration, and paying attention to cosmetics usage. If your cracked, chapped lips do not seem to heal with self-care measures, talk to your doctor.
Lip moisturizers can help soothe the pain of cracked lips and can protect them from future fissures and flaking. Tube-based lip emollients that contain ingredients like petroleum, paraffin or beeswax can be especially soothing, according to the Mayo Clinic. Lipstick may also be a good fix for cracked lips, as long as you do not experience allergic reactions to the cosmetics. The creamy consistency of the makeup can relieve the pain, and the dark colors can protect lips from the sun.
Antibiotic lip products may be recommended by a physician to heal severe fissures in the lips.
Hydration is both a preventative measure and a cure for dry, cracked lips. Dehydration is a leading cause of chapped lips, explains the Mayo Clinic. Drinking water can restore the proper moisture balance in the body. Taking care to breathe through the nose rather than through the mouth can also keep the lips moist and less prone to cracking. Avoid licking your lips, as this will also dehydrate them.
Installing a humidifier in the home can be a more permanent cure for cracked lips that recur every year. When the moisture level in the house is elevated, cracked lips can have a chance at repair more easily.
Limited Cosmetic Use
University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences faculty member Dr. Thomas Goodman Jr. reports in “The Doctors Book of Home Remedies” that some instances of chapped and cracked lips can stem from allergies to toiletry products, including toothpaste, lip products and skin care cosmetics. Keeping a journal of products you use and the intensity of lip cracks and dry skin can help you determine if limited cosmetic use may be a cure for the condition.
Protection From the Elements
Cracked lips are most common in cold weather because the air is dry and contributes to the chapping of the sensitive skin of the lips. Lips that become sunburned can also blister and crack. Using a lip balm that contains sunscreen–no matter what time of year–can help protect lips from sun damage and can help them heal.
Limiting exposure to the cold in favor or a more humid environment can help prevent and cure cracked lips. When participating in outdoor activities such as skiing or just building a snowman, apply a lip moisturizer and wear a scarf that covers most of the face.
About this Author
Erica Roth has been a freelance writer since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a college reference librarian for eight years. Roth earned a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Brandeis University and Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science.