Chapped lips: What's the best remedy?

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Chapped lips: What's the best remedy?

Question

I seem to have chapped lips all winter. Is there anything I can do to prevent or treat chapped lips?

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Answer

Most people get chapped lips from time to time. There's much you can do to treat — and prevent — chapped lips. Consider these tips:

  • Protect your lips. Use an oil-based lubricating cream or lip balm containing petrolatum or beeswax. Before going out in cold, dry weather, apply lip cream or balm that contains sunscreen — and then cover your lips with a scarf. Reapply often while outdoors.
  • Avoid licking your lips. Saliva evaporates quickly, leaving lips drier than before you licked them. If you tend to lick your lips, avoid flavored lip balm — which may tempt you to lick your lips even more.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids, and moisten the air in your home with a humidifier.
  • Avoid allergens. Avoid contact with irritants or allergens, such as fragrances or dyes, in cosmetics or skin care products.
  • Breathe through your nose. Breathing through your mouth can cause your lips to dry out.

If chapping is severe and doesn't respond to treatment at home, consult your doctor. Rarely, persistent chapped lips may indicate an underlying problem.

Last Updated: 2010-10-05
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