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Dry Lips

Struggling with dry, itchy lips?

Dry lips are a common affliction, especially during the winter months when the weather is cold and dry.

Whether you have dry patches on lips, cracked lips or split lips, there are several over-the-counter treatments and home remedies that you can try.

Read on to discover:

  • What are dry lips?
  • What are the symptoms of dry lips?
  • What causes dry lips?
  • How are dry lips diagnosed?
  • What is the best dry lips treatment?
  • How to heal dry lips at home
  • What is the best lip balm for very dry lips?
  • When to see a doctor about dry lips
  •  How to prevent dry cracked lips
  • Dry lips FAQs

What are dry lips?

Dry lips or chapped lips, also known as cheilitis, manifest themselves as dry, chapped or sore skin on your lips. As the skin on your lips is thinner than on other areas of your body and because it does not contain oil glands, your lips are more prone to dehydration and dryness.

Dry lips can occur in anyone and at any age, although children and teenagers who lick their lips a lot are more susceptible to this affliction.In some cases, dry lips can be painful and extremely dry lips can make it hard to eat, especially when consuming citrus or spicy foods. 

Dry Lips

What are the symptoms of dry lips?

The most common symptoms associated with dry lips are:

  • Dry or scaly lips
  • Dry upper lip
  • Cracked lips
  • Lips sore and dry
  • Lips burning and dry
  • Split lips
  • Peeling skin
  • Itching
  • Mild pain

If you suffer from chronic dry lips, you are more likely to experience pain around the mouth and on the lips.

What causes dry lips?

There are several dry lips and chapped lip causes, including:


If you have spent too much time in the sun and not used a lip balm with SPF, then your dry lips may be a result of sunburn. Typically, you will notice other areas of skin on your face showing signs of sun exposure, such as red, dry or inflamed skin.

Cold weather

Cold weather can wreak havoc with your skin, and as the skin on your lips is thinner, it is more susceptible to dryness. A sudden change in weather can also cause dry lips.

Frequent lip licking

If you lick your lips a lot, this can cause moisture loss which can result in dry lips. Licking your lips can also cause the skin on your lips to become red, itchy and irritated.

Certain medical conditions

Medical conditions, such as allergies, thyroid disorders and autoimmune disorders, all increase your risk of developing constant dry lips.

Vitamin deficiency

If you are lacking in iron or vitamin B, you are more likely to suffer from dry skin, including dry lips.


When you are dehydrated, a lack of water in your body can cause issues with your skin, such as dry lips.


How are dry lips diagnosed?

In most cases, dry lips can be diagnosed without the need to see your doctor. If you are suffering from any of the above-listed dry lips symptoms, then it is highly likely that you have dry lips.

If you are worried about your dry lips or you would like an official diagnosis, your doctor will carry out a visual examination of your lips and the skin surrounding your mouth before making a diagnosis.

No tests are needed to diagnose dry or chapped lips.

What is the best dry lips treatment?

There are several over-the-counter remedies for dry lips that you can try. Most often, it is a case of trial and error to see which one works best for you and your dry lips. However, if you want a chapped lips cure, you could try:

Use a lip balm

When it comes to the best dry lips cure, a quality lip balm should be your first line of defence. With the ability to protect the delicate skin on your lips from the elements, look for a lip balm that contains petrolatum and dimethicone. The former helps to moisturise dry lips and the latter helps to seal cracks in the skin.

Avoid lip balms that are scented or flavoured, as these can irritate dry lips and cause further cracking and soreness.

Apply a moisturiser

Moisturising creams that are designed for use on the face or body can also be used to treat dry lips. For best results, look for a natural moisturiser that contains ingredients that are designed to soften and hydrate the skin.

CCS Foot Care Cream can be used to not only treat dry feet but also to hydrate and nourish the skin on other parts of the body, such as the lips. Apply once in the morning and again before bed for best results.

Use a lip sleeping mask

Lips masks are designed for dry cracked lips and are a highly effective dry lips treatment overnight. With the hydrating properties of a lip balm but with the added benefit of gently removing dead skin cells, lips masks can restore your lips in as little as 12 hours.

Look for lip masks that contain vitamin c and other powerful antioxidants.

How to heal dry, cracked lips at home

If you would prefer to treat your dry lips at home, without the need for any over-the-counter or prescribed medications, then try the below tips:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Apply a lip balm as and when needed
  • Use a lip balm with SPF when outdoors
  • Avoid licking, picking or biting your lips
  • Keep foreign objects, such as pens and jewellery, away from your lips
  • Use a humidifier
  • Cover your lips with a scarf when you are outside in cold weather
  • Do not exfoliate dry lips

What are the best natural remedies for dry lips?

If you would prefer a more natural chapped lips remedy, then there are several ones that you can try. It is worth noting that these may not be as effective as OTC treatments.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera works by pulling moisture from the air into the surface of the skin, which can help to hydrate dry lips.

You can grow your own aloe vera plant and extract the gel from its leaves or buy aloe vera gel at your nearest pharmacy. Apply directly to your lips for a cooling and healing effect.


Honey is known for its healing properties and has been used for centuries in wound care. This is a good chapped, cracked, or split lips treatment.

Apply organic honey directly to your lips, gently massage it in and leave for 20 minutes before washing off with warm water.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce redness, irritation and inflammation of the lips. It also has antibacterial properties, which help to prevent infections.

To use coconut oil to treat dry lips, massage into the lips or mix with sugar to create a gentle exfoliator.

What is the best lip balm for very dry lips?

If you suffer with very dry or extremely dry lips, then you need a lip balm that is specially formulated as a cracked lips remedy.

Look for a lip balm that is:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Contains petroleum jelly or glycerine
  • Contains oils such as mineral oil or castor seed oil
  • Contains ceramides
  • Offers sun protection

When it comes to lip balm as a chapped lips treatment, you should avoid balms that contain artificial fragrances or flavourings, as these can irritate sore chapped lips.

If you use a lip balm and your lips start to sting or burn, stop using the product immediately and gently wash your lips with warm water.

How often should you apply lip balm to dry lips?

Lip balm should be applied to dry lips as and when it is needed for an effective cracked lips treatment. Depending on the consistency of the lip balm and whether you have chosen an ointment or cream, you may need to apply it more frequently.

If you often wake up with dry lips, you should look for a lip balm that is designed for use overnight. If your dry lips are caused by cold or hot weather, then make sure you apply a lip balm before going outside and reapply once every two hours.

When to see a doctor about dry lips

In most cases, you do not need to see your doctor about dry lips. However, if your chapped lips won’t heal or are not responding to treatment or they are getting worse, you should make an appointment with your GP for a more advanced treatment plan for a dry lips remedy.

If your lips are hot, painful or swollen, this could be a sign of an infection and you need to seek professional medical care.

How to prevent dry cracked lips

There are several steps that you can take to prevent dry lips including:

  • Do not lick your lips
  • Avoid lips balms that contain camphor and menthol
  • Moisturise your lips regularly
  • Make sure your lip balm contains sunscreen
  • Stay hydrated
  • Use a humidifier at night
  • Apply a lip balm before bed
  • Avoid spicy foods if you have sensitive skin on your lips
water bottle

Frequently asked questions

Why are my lips so dry?

Dry lips are most commonly caused by either very hot or very cold weather. You can also experience dry lips as a result of frequent lip-licking or due to a vitamin deficiency. If you are dehydrated, this can also cause your lips to become dry or chapped.

Why are my lips always dry?

If your lips are always dry, you most likely need to start applying a lip balm. The skin on your lips is thinner than on other parts of the body and does not have oil glands, which makes dryness more likely. Living in a cold or hot climate can also cause dry lips.

What causes dry lips?

A change in weather is the most common cause of dry lips. Very cold weather can cause your lips to become sore and chapped, and hot weather can leave your lips dehydrated and more at risk of sunburn. Other causes of dry lips include a vitamin deficiency, certain medical conditions and frequent lip licking.

Can chapped lips be a sign of something serious?

In most cases, dry lips are nothing to worry about and can be treated with an over-the-counter chapped lip treatment. However, persistent or severe chapped lips could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. If you are worried about your chapped lips, book an appointment with your doctor.

Why are my lips peeling?

The most common cause of lips peeling is sunburn. If you have been out in the sun and not applied a lip balm with SPF to your lips, then this can result in peeling, soreness and dryness. Other causes of peeling lips include dehydration and exposure to cold weather.

Why are my lips so red?

Red lips are often caused by an allergic reaction, sun exposure or an iron deficiency. Exposure to cold weather can also make your lips turn red and become sore. Most causes of red lips can be treated with an over-the-counter remedy, such as a lip balm or moisturising cream.

Why do my lips burn?

Burning lips could be a sign of an allergic reaction or sunburn. They can also be caused by sensory nerve or skin damage in the lips and surrounding tissues. If you are worried about your burning lips, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.