Preventing chapped lips can be tricky, since it’s hard to know when you’re about to get them. Even worse, once you have them, they seem impossible to get rid of! But before your mouth gets too dry, take these precautions to keep your lips moist and prevent chapped lips. Here are the five steps you need to take before winter sets in.

What causes dry, chapped lips?

Excessive exposure to sun, wind, and cold are common causes. Dehydration is also a frequent culprit. In addition, conditions like eczema can cause dry skin on your lips that makes them more prone to cracking. To prevent chapped lips, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and eating foods that are rich in antioxidants such as berries and leafy greens. Some fruits also contain high amounts of lipids (fats) that help keep your lips soft and supple. Lip balm with sunscreen is another good way to protect your lips from harmful UV rays; check out our favorite lip balms . If you're already dealing with chapped lips, applying a thick layer of petroleum jelly or shea butter is an effective remedy—at least until they heal.

What can I do to prevent dry, chapped lips?

The best way to prevent chapped lips is to protect them from drying out in the first place. So, first and foremost, don’t lick your lips! This will lead to excessive dryness. Also be wary of lip balms that use ingredients such as camphor or menthol because they tend to temporarily soothe a dry-feeling but actually make it worse in the long run. Lastly, there are several home remedies you can try that work like a charm: Rub some fresh honey on your lips (don’t eat it). Try rubbing vitamin E oil onto your lips with a cotton swab before going out.

Does drinking water help with dry, chapped lips?

Drinking water can help you hydrate your body, but it doesn’t do much to keep your lips moist. While it might feel soothing in that dry, parched way when you sip, water will often evaporate before it has a chance to really get down deep into your skin cells and moisturize them from within. Instead, reach for an oil-based product like Vaseline or Aquaphor. It won’t feel as good at first (oil doesn’t have a high water content), but these moisturizers can trap moisture inside your skin better than water does and also have other perks such as preventing infection.

Common questions about lip products during pregnancy

Can I still use chapstick if I am pregnant? It depends on why you are using it. While there is no definitive research suggesting that chapstick causes birth defects, it does contain a small amount of salicylic acid (the main ingredient in aspirin) which can be potentially harmful during pregnancy. If you’re using lip balm because your lips are dry and cracked, or because you suffer from cold sores or dermatitis and would like to soothe your lips with lip product, then applying olive oil directly can be an effective way to moisturize without ingesting chemicals. Though if you have severely chapped or damaged lips, application of any product could actually do more harm than good until they heal.

January 06, 2022 — Frank Lucas