Cracked, Chapped and Dry Lips

Cracked and chapped lips are usually a result of dryness. The skin of the lips may also peel off in some cases. When the lips become too dry, tiny tears may appear on the surface and this can lead to bleeding and considerable discomfort. Chapped lips are rarely a serious problem and mainly develop during the cold winter months, and due to wind exposure or sunburn. Those who have a habit of constantly licking the lips may also develop chapped lips. Breathing through the mouth can also cause your lips to become dry. In some cases, certain mild health conditions such as a common cold, nutritional deficiencies, allergies and dehydration may cause the lips to become dry and cracked. It is very easy to care for chapped and dry lips and there’s a lot that you can do to reduce the severity of the problem, such as increasing water intake, avoiding cold or sun exposure and using simple home remedies. Under the rarest of circumstances, cracked, chapped and dry lips may require medical care. This mainly occurs when the body is severely dehydrated. If the condition is accompanied by other symptoms such as confusion, cold skin and lethargy, it would be a good idea to seek medical attention.

Cracked Chapped and Dry Lips Picture

Symptoms of Cracked, Chapped and Dry Lips

The lips are so prone to chapping and dryness because the skin is very thin and does not have any protective hair growth. There are also no sweat or oil glands present beneath the surface. Therefore the lips are stripped of moisture much faster than other areas of the body. The common signs and symptoms of chapped lips include:

  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Rough skin
  • Bleeding
  • Peeling and flaking
  • Oversensitivity

Causes of Cracked, Chapped and Dry Lips

Following are the causes of chapped, cracked or dry lips Over exposure to the cold or windy conditions, Over exposure to the sun, Allergies to cosmetic products, Infections, Drugs, Dehydration, Kawasaki disease, Macrocytosis, Riboflavin deficiency, Sjogren's syndrome, Frequent use of soaps and other chemicals, Deficiency of vitamin A, B and C, Smoking, History of skin disorder When the lips are chapped or dry do not attempt to lick them, this will make you feel better only for short time. Once the saliva evaporates the condition will worsen. Your lips could be in problem because of your ill-fitting dentures, in such case consult your dentist. In severe cases, where there is excessive cracking, dryness and redness, one can use a medicated lip balm. It is best to avoid using flavored chap sticks and balms as this could induce frequent licking. One can also protect the lips from sun exposure and cold, dry winds by covering the mouth with a scarf when going outdoors. Increasing the humidity in the house can also alleviate chapped lips. It helps to wash the mouth frequently and then follow it up with an application of lip balm. In some cases, the condition may worsen so much that bleeding may also occur. In such cases, one must consult a doctor. Prescription lip balms may then be used to treat the condition.

The lips may become chapped and dry due to various factors. Most cases of chapped lips are due to the following:

  • Exposure to harsh winds
  • Sunburn
  • Dehydration
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to harsh chemicals contained in soaps and other skin care products
  • Intake of certain strong medications such as those which help to treat acne
  • Exposure to allergens present in the environment, foods, cosmetics and skin care products
  • Deficiencies of the vitamins A, B and C
  • Wearing dentures that do not fit properly
  • Fungal infection known as angular chelitis which results due to deficiencies of iron, zinc and the vitamins A and B. It results in cracking at the corners of the mouth.

Remedies for Cracked, Chapped and Dry Lips

Cracked, chapped and dry lips can be managed through a range of different treatments. Some important tips to care for chapped lips and prevent the condition from worsening are as follows:

  • Drink plenty of water daily
  • Apply sunscreen over your lips whenever you step outdoors to protect from sun damage
  • Apply a good lip balm which contains beneficial ingredients that help to moisturize and nourish the lips. Ensure that your lip balm also contains sunscreen.
  • Refrain from licking the lips often as this can aggravate dryness
  • If you are prone to dry skin and lips, it is a good idea to use a humidifier to add moisture to the air
  • Protect the lips with a scarf when there are harsh winds
  • Sometimes the lips may become dry and chapped due to the ingredients present in toothpaste. Try changing your toothpaste brand to alleviate the problem.
  • Avoid using lipsticks and other lip cosmetics which contain strong chemicals. Always buy such products from reputed brands and check their expiry date.

Described below is a beneficial cracked lips remedy which helps to alleviate dryness and discomfort.

  • Warm water helps to relieve dryness and also improves blood flow in the lips. Take some warm water in a bowl and soak a clean washcloth in it. Squeeze out the excess water and place the cloth against your lips until it cools down. Repeat this 3 to 4 times until the lips become softer and less rough.
  • You can then gently rub the cloth against your lips a few times. This helps to get rid of dead and dry skin.
  • Next take dip a clean cloth in cool water and hold it against your lips for a few seconds. Then gently pat dry.
  • Apply some petroleum jelly to the lips and allow it to remain for about 20 minutes. This helps to soften the lips and also forms a protective layer.
  • Apply a thick coat of a moisturizing lip balm. Keep the lip balm with you at all times so that you can use whenever you feel your lips becoming chapped or dry.

There are many simple and quick ways to treat dry lips. Here are some popular home remedies for chapped lips.lips. Keep in mind that most of these home remedies are not subjected to rigorous scientific studies and they can vary greatly in their effectiveness.

  • Coconut oil is one of the best home remedies for dry lips. Apply a small quantity of coconut oil to the lips frequently during the day. This must especially be done in cold weather.
  • Take a slice of cucumber and gently rub it over the lips. This helps to soothe dry lips and relieves tenderness.
  • Aloe vera is a highly beneficial natural remedy which is effective in treating a variety of skin problems. You can also use it to cure chapped lips. Extract the gel from aloe vera leaves and apply it to the lips daily. Aloe vera gel is also available in many drug stores today.
  • You can also apply a small amount of clarified butter to the lips to relieve dryness
  • To remove dead skin from the lips, apply fresh milk cream before going to bed at night
  • Soak a few rose petals in fresh milk. A few hours later, grind them into a paste and apply to the lips.
  • Add a few drops of honey to some petroleum jelly and apply to the lips. Keep it on for about 15 minutes and then wipe it off.
  • You can make an effective ointment for chapped lips by combining a teaspoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of castor oil and a teaspoon of glycerin. Mix well and apply to the lips.
  • Olive oil is a popular remedy for skin dryness. It is extremely moisturizing and helps to keep the lips soft and supple. You can add a small amount of sugar to a teaspoon of olive oil. Rub the mixture over the lips and keep it on for ten minutes. Then rinse with lukewarm water. This is a great way to naturally exfoliate the lips.
  • Cocoa butter helps to moisturize the lips and also reduces discoloration. Apply cocoa butter to the lips and allow it to remain for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Papaya can be used to naturally exfoliate the lips. Apply mashed, ripe papaya to the lips and then rinse off after 10 minutes.
  • A moisturizing natural ointment for chapped lips can be made by combining a few drops of nutmeg essential oil, mandarin essential oil and vitamin E oil.

Diet for Cracked, Chapped and Dry Lips

Much like the skin on the rest of the body, the lips also must be kept hydrated. Here are some dietary tips which help in relieving cracked and chapped lips.

  • Ensure an adequate intake of water and other fluids on a daily basis.
  • Follow a healthy and balanced diet comprising of a variety of different foods. The body requires a steady supply of several vitamins and minerals in order to stay healthy. Consume lots of fresh fruits and vegetables as these are rich in antioxidants. This helps to protect the body from the adverse effects of free radicals which affect the cells. In case you are unable to obtain all your nutrients from the diet, speak to your doctor regarding the intake of nutritional supplements.
  • Vitamin A is an especially important vitamin for good health of the skin as it helps in repair and maintenance. You can obtain vitamin A from foods such as milk, apricots, carrots and milk.
  • Vitamin C which is contained in citrus fruits and several vegetables helps to protect the body from sun damage and also aids in tissue repair. Vitamin C even increases collagen production and this makes the lips fuller and suppler.
  • Nuts, leafy vegetables and eggs contain high amounts of vitamin E which helps to prevent lines and wrinkles. Ageing can also cause dryness of the lips and hence it is important to supply your body with adequate amounts of this vitamin. Vitamin E is also present in many skin care products.

Suggestion for Cracked, Chapped and Dry Lips

In some cases, dryness and cracked lips may be due to a dental problem such as disease or poor alignment. It is advisable to visit your dentist for an examination. Individuals who wear braces often complain of chapping and irritation of the lips. Your dentist may recommend applying a special wax to the edges of the braces so that they do not cause any discomfort.


  1. Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;

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15 Cracked, Chapped and Dry Lips remedies suggested by our users
don't make it worse!!
suggested by leslie on Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Using anything containing petroleum jelly such as carmex or vaseline continuously will only dry your lips out more and make them even worse. I found out the hard way. My lips have been severly chapped for the last month due to cold weather. I stopped using carmex 2 DAYS AGO and my lips have improved more than they have in the past month!!

Chapped Lips
suggested by Paul on Sunday, May 4, 2008

Most chapped lips are actually because the saliva has digestive enzymes that "eat" the skin on the lips. Then bacteria takes over, causing the itching and irritation. I've found that balms actually extend chapped lips conditions. The best cure I've found is applying hydrogen peroxide to the lips. Sometimes the lips are cured and silky smooth the next morning.

dry lips
suggested by yashpreet on Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Clean your lips with rose water n just put a thick layer of boro-plus in the night before sleeping and in the morning wipe it will see the difference whole day.

cracked lips
suggested by dr sindhu on Friday, December 28, 2007

Just apply milk cream to your lips at bedtime for atleast 15 mins, and then wash it off. This will give a soothing effect, prevent cracks on the lips. If you want to add color to your lips, add a small drop of turmeric to the cream. The colour of lips will be maintained.

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