Chapped Lips: Causes and Treatment of Cracked Lip


Dry, chapped lips are unattractive to look at, shredded, and therefore very irritating. When you have dry and damaged lips, you tend to lick with the tongue.

A ruptured lip can cause talking, eating, and kissing to hurt. An icy wind outdoors and a dry heating air indoors: especially in winter, your lips suffer a lot.

Chapped Lips

The result of hardship is dry, brittle, or even chapped lips. This is not just a cosmetic issue as chapped lips can be very painful too. Unlike the rest of your skin, the sensitive skin on your lips is devoid of sebaceous glands. The lips do not contain glands that keep the skin supple and oily.

Since your lips lack this fat layer, they dry out faster. Cold weather, icy wind, or heating air cause the skin and therefore your lips to quickly lose moisture and thus dry out and become brittle. The second cause of chapped lips can be a vitamin deficiency. Especially the lack of vitamin B2. And lip-licking dries out the lips too.

Causes of chapped lips

The cold and damp winter weather, the dry indoor heating air, the habit of licking the lips at every opportunity, or a lack of vitamin B2, are all causes that rob the very sensitive skin of the lip of its moisture. The lips dry out and the results are dry, cracked, and burning lips, which can make laughing especially painful.

It is very important to do something about it. Not only is it irritating and cosmetically disturbing, but chapped lips can lead to complications.

Damaged lips are an ideal breeding ground for pathogenic bacteria, which, once established, can also easily penetrate into the body and cause further infections. Also, cold sores may flare up if the lips are affected.

The culprit, the herpes simplex virus, can become active in poor weather, severe freezing weather, exposure to bright sun, and reduced resistance of the body. So there are plenty of reasons to keep lips healthy and moist.

Complications from chapped lips

Dry, chapped lips, in and of itself, is not a troubling situation. However, various complications can arise, which in some cases must be treated by the doctor.

Affected persons with dry and brittle lips often have a problem with cracked corners of the mouth. In that case, there can be significant complications with food intake or speaking.

Under certain circumstances, it can also lead to inflammation of the corners of the mouth. This condition should definitely be investigated by your doctor so that the inflammation can be relieved by appropriate medication.

Consult your doctor

In case of dry or brittle lips, you normally do not need to consult your doctor. The complaints are of little importance and you can easily solve the problem with self-care measures. Dry, cracked lips are more common with a seasonal change. With a decreasing temperature, the skin on the lips requires more intensive care.

UV protection is necessary for bright sunlight. Pharmacies and drug stores offer various products that provide the lips with sufficient moisture and protection.

People who often suffer from a viral disease such as herpes should pay attention to timely care of the lips. Often times, the virus becomes active when you get dry and cracked lips. Using dental care products or drinking too little (water)can also cause dry and cracked lips.

A change of products and adequate fluids often leads to significant symptom relief within days. Therefore, no visit to the doctor is necessary in these cases.

If the symptoms persist despite taking various measures to combat chapped lips, it is best to make an appointment with your doctor. The doctor will include inflammation or the complaints are partly caused by a fungus or bacteria.

A broken corner of the mouth can be treated with zinc oil, an anti-fungal cream will help with a fungal infection and a bacterial infection the doctor will prescribe a cream with an antibiotic.

Self-care and home remedies

You can treat dry, cracked lips in the following ways.

Stop licking your lips

By permanently exposing the lips to saliva by licking it continuously, the lips become drier and eventually damaged. This is due to the enzymes contained in saliva, but also because the water evaporates from the saliva, drawing water from the lips during this process.

Lip balm + chapped lips

Choose a safe lip balm that you can use without any health risk. Many lip balms contain harmful substances such as endocrine disruptors. [1] MOSH (Mineral Oil Saturated Hydrocarbons) and MOAH (Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons) are safe in skincare products, but in lip balms, they are potentially harmful to health as consumers can ingest them.

These substances can be recognized on the ingredients list under these names:

  • Cera microcrystalline
  • Ceresin
  • (Hydrogenated) Microcrystalline wax
  • (Hydrogenated) Polyisobutene
  • Mineral oil
  • Ozokerite
  • Paraffinum (liquid)
  • Petrolatum
  • Polyethylene

Almost all lip care products are waxy and spreadable, and their effectiveness is aimed at maintaining the moisture of the lips.


Plain petroleum jelly also protects your lips and keeps them moist and supple.

Honey on the lips

Natural honey has moisturizing and nourishing ingredients. Before going to sleep, apply some honey to the lips and leave it on overnight.

Use of lipstick

A skin-friendly lipstick provides the lips with the necessary moisture, makes them beautifully shiny, and protects against ultraviolet rays from the sun. Lead is found in many lipsticks, but the concentrations are terribly low, so you don’t have to panic.

Check toothpaste

To rule out allergic reactions to your lip problem, it is recommended that you check or test the mouthwash or toothpaste as a possible trigger for allergies. It helps to change the hygiene products you use to see if the complaints are getting better.

Avoid certain foodsChapped Lips

Certain foods can also make existing lip complaints and chapped lips worse. Certain foods such as pepper, mustard, barbecue sauce, orange juice, and alcoholic drinks can irritate the skin of the lips even more. It is therefore best to avoid such ingredients until your lips have healed.

Watch out for sun rays

The ultraviolet rays of the sun, in particular, can damage the sensitive skin of the lips and rob it of necessary moisture. The lips are especially at risk because they do not contain skin pigment (melanin), which protects them from these dangerous rays.

This way one can quickly get a sunburn. During a longer stay in sunny areas, you should protect the lips with a special sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 25.

Chapped LipsNatural resources

  • There are several effective natural remedies for cracked lips. To soothe and moisturize s choral lips, apply the following directly to lips:
  • Aloe vera: This gel forms in the leaves of aloe vera plants. It contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories that soothe and rehydrate damaged skin.
  • Coconut Oil: This oil fights inflammation and is an emollient, meaning it can soften and moisturize the skin.
  • Honey: It is very moisturizing which makes it a great treatment for dry lips. Honey also contains antioxidants and has antibacterial properties, which help prevent infections from developing in extremely dry or cracked lips.
  • Cucumber: It can moisturize the lips and also contains vitamins and minerals that can improve the appearance of the lips.
  • Green tea: Rich in antioxidants and minerals, green tea also contains polyphenols, which reduce inflammation. Soak a green tea bag in warm water and rub gently on lips to soften and remove dry skin.

Drink plenty of water

Dehydration is a major culprit when it comes to chapped lips. You often don’t notice if you are a little dehydrated and it is, therefore, wise to drink water throughout the day.

When the body dries out, it draws water from certain areas to ensure that the cells remain hydrated. This can cause skin drying, including that of the lips.

Other symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Chapped LipsHumidifier

Spending too much time in dry air can remove moisture from the skin. This is a very common problem in winter. Drinking plenty of water is a good way to keep the body well hydrated all year round. You can also use a humidifier for good indoor humidity.

Do not smoke

Tobacco smoke can irritate the sensitive skin around the lips, causing them to dry out and cause them to crack. Smoking can also cause other problems in the mouth, such as canker sores and gum pain . People may find that their lips recover after they stop smoking as the skin begins to heal.


You can prevent cracked lips by using sunscreen and avoiding scented lip products. In addition, it is important not to lick your lips. This dries out the lips.

You can prevent chapped lips by:

  • Using products that contain sunscreen
  • Avoiding scented or flavored lip products
  • Avoiding lip products that contain known allergens
  • Gently exfoliate regularly
  • Stay hydrated
  • To quit smoking

what can I do about chapped lips?

Lips are vulnerable, especially when exposed to cold, sun, or wind. Then they get damaged, dried out, or cracked. Cracked lips not only give an unkempt look but also hurt!

Lips are more sensitive to external influences than the rest of the body. They are covered by very thin and fine skin (only the skin around the eyelashes is even finer) and they do not contain any sweat or sebaceous glands that could prevent the skin from drying out.

Plus, lips contain very little of the precious melanin that protects the rest of our body from UV rays. All these restrictions make your lips extra sensitive to the weather and the climate in your home or workplace.

What you absolutely shouldn’t do …

Do not moisten the lips with the tongue

Unfortunately, saliva does not have the desired effect, on the contrary: the lips naturally produce a fine layer of fat and saliva takes away this protection a little more and more.

Result: the lips dry out even more and eventually crack. You really should get rid of this habit!

Do not tear off dead sheets

Of course, dead sheets are disfiguring and annoying. We are then quickly tempted to pull them off.

You should absolutely not do this: if you peel off the skins, the skin layer underneath will be exposed (and will bleed, this hurts and is certainly not more beautiful.

Develop new and good habits

Use lip care in all circumstances; you may even become addicted to it!
The best thing you can do to treat and prevent dry, chapped lips is to protect them with an emollient, mild lip balm or gloss.

Dry lips can be repaired with a lot of patience and consistent care, but it won’t get rid of it in a day, and skipping even one day can mean starting all over again.

In the evening before going to sleep

After brushing your teeth, apply lip balm: it will keep your lips hydrated while you sleep. At night, use a soothing lip balm or colorless, thick gloss as part of your skincare routine.

Avoid products with many fragrances and/or irritating ingredients such as menthol, camphor, peppermint, or citrus. Such ingredients don’t do anything to benefit your lips and only make the problem worse.

chapped lipsExfoliate gently

Cracked or damaged lips show a lot of dead skin.

Don’t pull it! Wait until you are in the shower to gently remove them: the water will make the sheets supple and with a washcloth, a light scrub, or a soft toothbrush you can gently rub the sheets off.

Protect your lips from UV

The skin of the lips is very thin and most sensitive to cold and sun. To prevent premature aging, you can protect the lips with sun cream. Apply a lip balm on top and repeat this treatment several times a day.

Drink lots of water

Drink plenty of water throughout the day and have little to no caffeine and alcohol. That way you moisturize your body, face, and lips.

Winter sports

Are you going skiing soon? Then choose a lip balm with a UV filter. This prevents the burning and drying of the lips from bright sunlight.

Other unknown factors that can cause dry chapped lips:

  • Matte lipstick or long-wearing lip color (especially in a dry or cold climate).
  • Lip plumpers with irritating ingredients such as pepper, menthol, menthoxypropanediol, ginger, or mint oil.
  • Vitamin B2 deficiency, which can cause chronic cracks in the corners of the mouth in addition to chapped lips.
  • A lack of niacin or vitamin B6 can also lead to chronic cracking along the lips.
  • Fungal infections (such as candida), which must be treated with prescription oral medications.
  • Excessive intake of vitamin A (more than 25,000 IU per day) as an oral supplement.
  • The use of anti-acne agents is notorious for their extremely drying effect on the lips. lip balm for.

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