One of the first skin-related symptoms many people experience when the weather changes is chapped or cracked lips. Cold, dry weather, sun damage, and frequently licking your lips are just some of the reasons your lips might feel dry and chapped.

Certain medications, such as antihistamines, chemotherapies, diuretics, and topical acne medications that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxidecan can cause the lips to become dry, red, and chapped. If this is the case, Dr. Monique S. Cohn. may recommend switching to a different medication.

Some people may develop a more severe form of chapped lips called cheilitis. Cheilitis can be caused by an infection, characterized by cracked skin at the corners of the lips. It’s typically treated with anti-yeast medication, anti-inflammatories, or skin protectants overnight, says Dr. Monique S. Cohn at Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery.

The lips lack oil glands and so cannot produce their own moisture, but natural moisturizers can help. To prevent and treat dry, chapped lips at home, follow these tips.

1. Use lip balm, lipstick, and other non-irritating products. Stop using any product that burns, stings, or tingles when applied. While some ingredients can irritate dry, cracked lips, others can help them heal. When looking for products to use on your chapped lips, Dr. Monique S. Cohn Recommends ones that contain one or more of the following:

  • Castor seed oil
  • Ceramides
  • Dimethicone
  • Hemp seed oil
  • Mineral oil
  • Petrolatum
  • Shea butter
  • Sun-protective ingredients, such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide
  • White petroleum jelly
  • It also helps to use products that are fragrance free and hypoallergenic.

2. Stay away from products that contain fragrance, camphor, menthol, and salicylic acid, because these ingredients can cause irritation of the skin. Avoid exfoliating lips that are already dry and irritated.

3. Apply non-irritating lip balm or lip moisturizer several times a day and before bed. Using a thick ointment such as white petroleum jelly or coconut oil will help if you are experiencing very dry and cracked lips.

4. Look for a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher since lips need sun protection all year round. Even in the winter, it’s important to protect your lips from the sun.

5. Stop licking, biting, and picking at your lips. Saliva evaporates and can make your lips feel drier and worsen the situation.

6. Avoid salty or spicy foods which can irritate the lips.

7. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. When the body is dehydrated, it pulls water from certain areas to ensure that the cells stay hydrated. This can cause dryness in the skin, including the lips.

You can usually treat dry lips with these simple treatment and preventive measures. If your lips continue to be severely dry and cracked, set up a consultation with Dr. Monique S. Cohn. She and her staff would be happy to answer any questions you have and help you find the best routine and products for you. Contact us today for more information or call 330-425-7600 to book an appointment.