You know that awful feeling when you run your finger along your lips and it feels like alligator skin. For such a small surface area, it can really cause a tremendous amount of pain and discomfort when your lips get so dry they start cracking and peeling. The skin on your lips is much thinner than elsewhere on the face and body, and because they have no sebaceous glands, are far more likely to dry out.

There are 7 more (at least) common causes for dry lips:

 7 Reasons Your Lips Are So Dry

  • Exposure to dry winter air
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Dehydration
  • Frequent lip licking
  • Nutrient and vitamin deficiency
  • Adverse reaction to toothpaste or irritating foods
  • Vitamin deficiencies

As with dry skin, there are plenty of tips, tricks and treatments recommended by dermatologists for healing dry, cracked lips. It may take some time until you find the right products that work best for you, and you may need to try a few in combination or rotation to achieve complete healing.

Best Ways to Treat Dry Lips

One of the most obvious ways to treat dry lips is to apply a moisturizing lip balm or cream liberally and frequently. If lips  are kept moist, they shouldn’t ever get to such a severe state. Using a more intense product overnight, such as a super moisturizing lip mask can do wonders by the time you wake up the next day.

Following are just a few other ways to get the dry lip situation under control quickly:

  • Stop licking - biting and licking your lips is a bad habit and you probably don’t even realize you’re doing it, but the sooner you stop, the better your lips will feel.
  • Hydrate - yes, drinking plenty of water daily will also help keep your lips and other areas of the body well hydrated.
  • Humidify - running a humidifier in the bedroom at night can do a lot of good to combat dryness.
  • Don’t touch - if you catch yourself picking and peeling your lips, find a way to stop. Create a personal signal like wearing a bracelet or ring on the opposite hand to remind yourself to STOP. 

Healing Ingredients for Dry Lips

When choosing a product to help with dry and cracked lips, look for ingredients that are healing and can deliver deep moisture. Surprisingly, some products on the market that are meant to help damaged lips have ingredients that do the exact opposite. Focus on products that are hypoallergenic and have minimal fragrance and flavor. 

  • Beeswax
  • Dimethicone
  • Hemp Seed Oil
  • Mineral Oil
  • Safflower Seed Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc  or Titanium Oxide—great for sun protection

Most self-care treatments to heal dry, chapped lips should work quite well within a few weeks. If your problem persists after a good effort at home, then it may be time to make an appointment with a dermatologist to see if there may be an underlying cause for this problem and they can prescribe an effective path to healing.