Winter skin therapy: chapped lips

The reason your lips are so dry and how to treat it.

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas
Oct 20, 2021 · 3 min read

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Man applying moisturizing lip balm to lips
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Our sweet kissers can be super vulnerable in the winter, when dry air leads to dry lips. Sometimes, frigid temps and harsh winds can lead to cracked lips that might be inflamed. For chapped lips, it's best to seek out lip balms with ingredients that add moisture to the skin and lock it in — without anything extra. Here’s what you should know about home remedies for chapped lips.

What causes chapped lips?

While your skin type might cause your lips to be prone to dryness, chapped lips result because of lip inflammation. The most common causes of chapped lips are environmental factors, such as sun exposure and exposure to dry air — which is one reason why lips seem to get chapped more easily in the winter.

Constantly chapped lips (or cheilitis) may be an indication of a vitamin B deficiency, infection, or autoimmune disease. If standard home remedies for chapped lips aren’t improving scaly, itchy, or severely dry lips within 2–3 weeks, you should see your in-person dermatologist.

Woman with purple lipstick

Some of the best treatments for dry lips

If your lips are chapped, you need a lip balm that can lock in moisture while soothing irritated skin. Not all lip balms are created equally, though! When it comes to chapped lips, the ingredients in your lip product might actually be making them worse.

You might not realize, but added flavors or dyes in lip products may be making your skin worse. Additionally, some lip balms contain healthy-sounding ingredients that can cause more irritation. Look out for lanolin, menthol, or eucalyptus which are fine for healthy lips but can be irritating to already-chapped lips.

To prevent chronic dry, crusty lips, use a moisturizing lip balm or lip mask with occlusive ingredients like castor seed oil, dimethicone, and beeswax.

Curology lip balm in mint

The best lip balm for chapped lips

The lip balm by Curology

You need a simple moisturizing product that soothes and nourishes lips.  That’s why our dermatologists helped create a non-greasy product without pore-clogging ingredients. The lip balm by Curology is:

  • Plant-based and vegan formula with moisturizing ingredients picked by dermatologists for those with acne-prone or sensitive skin

  • One-handed applicator for super easy use

  • Comes in 4 varieties, including mint, passionfruit, vanilla and flavor-free original, made with chapped lips in mind

If you're a Curology subscriber, you can add the lip balm to your next order.

Curology lip balm collection

We know Curology isn’t for everyone, so here are a few other options for dry, chapped lips.

Vanicream Lip Protectant/Sunscreen SPF 30

  • Active ingredients include dimethicone, which helps to restore hydration in lips

  • Protects against UV damage with physical sunscreens, which tend to be non-irritating

  • Specially formulated without ingredients known to irritate chapped lips

  • Flavor-free and non-comedogenic

Vaseline Lip Therapy Original Tin

  • Petrolatum and shea butter restore moisture to the lips

  • Gender-neutral packaging makes this a good lip balm for men, women, or all/none of the above

  • Fragrance-free, flavor-free and non-comedogenic

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Custom skincare for kissable you

You can try it all for free: the Curology lip balm, our cleanser and moisturizer set, and, of course, your Custom Formula with a mix of active ingredients chosen for you by a dermatology provider. Just take a quick skin quiz and send us some selfies; if Curology is right for you, we’ll send you a 30-day supply of our recommended products for just $4.95 to cover the cost of shipping and handling. Start your Curology free trial now.*

• • •

This article was originally published on December 12, 2019, and updated on October 20, 2021.

Product Links: Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).

*Cancel anytime. Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Trial is 30 days + $4.95 shipping and handling.

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas

Nicole Hangsterfer Avatar

Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C

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