The Best Treatments to Heal Chapped Lips
No matter the time of year, one beauty essential never rotates out of our routines: lip balm. While the environment, especially the cold, dry weather we frequently experience during winter, can be the driving cause of chapped lips—making us ramp up our chapstick use—this ailment might be a battle you fight year round. If so, don't fret: Lip flaking and peeling is actually a normal bodily reaction. "The lip and vermillion border lack their own sweat or oil glands, also known as sebaceous glands (an exception are Fordyce spots, which are ectopic sweat glands located on the lip and oral mucosa)," Dr. Y. Claire Chang, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City says. "Given that they cannot produce their own protective lipids and oils, the lips are prone to becoming dry and chapped."
Luckily, you can take matters into your own hands to heal them. For starters, Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist, says to avoid over-exfoliating, picking or peeling, and licking (the saliva actually intensifies the dehydration). Start by upping your water intake and using a humidifier—and then work in a balm or salve that will lock in moisture. Ahead, several expert-approved treatments to revive and protect dried-out lips.
"Protecting your lips from too much sun exposure plays a huge role in avoiding chapped lips," New York City aesthetician Taylor Worden says. "EltaMD offers some amazing SPF products, and I love this one specifically created for lips."
Shop Now: EltaMD UV Lip Balm Broad-Spectrum SPF 36, $11, dermstore.com.
Cold weather can really take a toll on your lips. During winter, Dr. King and Dr. Chang both suggest the Aquaphor Healing Ointment to combat the conditions with the long-lasting petrolatum-based formula.
Shop Now: Aquaphor Healing Ointment, $8, bedbathbeyond.com.
While you might keep lip balms in regular rotation to heal your lips, exfoliating formulas are important, too; they'll remove those flakes, leaving a smooth surface behind. Nicole Hatfield, a certified esthetician for Pomp and the founder of Radiant Beings Wellness & Beauty Coaching, says using this product from Bite once per week will hydrate lips and also gently remove any buildup of dead skin.
Shop Now: Bite Beauty "Agave+" Weekly Vegan Lip Scrub, $24, sephora.com.
Stay away from lip products with harsh, irritating ingredients, like menthol, camphor, and phenol. Worden loves this lip product, which is also made for year-round lip protection sans irritants. "It is made with peptides and HILURLIP which hydrates, protects, and plumps up lip lines," she explains.
Shop Now: Alpha-H Absolute Lip Perfector, $32, alpha-h.com.
The perk of this lip oil? You can apply it on its own or on top of your lipstick. "It's an oil and makes your lips feel so hydrated and plump," Worden says. "It has natural red root oil, which is from the shikonin plant; it's very healing, soothing, and moisturizing for your dry, chapped lips."
Shop Now: INNBEAUTY PROJECT Glaze Lip Oil, $15, credobeauty.com.
Dr. King and Hatfield both suggest Vaseline Lip Therapy for a number of reasons, starting with the healing ingredients. "Glycerin, jojoba seed oil, petrolatum, shea butter, cocoa seed butter, castor seed oil, bees wax, and triglycerides hydrate, protect, and moisturize the skin," Dr. King explains. Hatfield adds that Vaseline has an occlusive ingredient, so it is especially helpful to use each night to keep your lips soothed and moisturized.
Shop Now: Vaseline Cocoa Butter Lip Therapy Stick, $5, amazon.com.
Looking for a healing lip treatment that is also lightweight? Then this LANEIGE balm is for you. Dr. Chang explains that this moisture-boosting treatment features shea butter to soften and protect the lips. Plus, it comes in an array of fun colors and flavors.
Shop Now: LANEIGE Glowy Lip Balm, $17, sephora.com.
This product doubles as a lip mask and balm. "Papaya enzymes gently exfoliate so other ingredients can better penetrate," Dr. King explains. "Hyaluronic acid hydrates, salicornia boosts hydration, and mango butter supports the skin barrier and locks in moisture."
Shop Now: ILIA "Lip Wrap" Clean Hydrating Lip Mask, $26, sephora.com.
There's no better time to heal lips than overnight, when you're in a state of rest. Thanks to hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and antioxidants, this mask should be applied before bed, says Worden; do so, and you will wake up with hydrated and supple lips. "It also comes in different scents, but my all-time favorite is the berry one!" adds the aesthetician.
Shop Now: LANEIGE Lip Sleep Mask, $22, sephora.com.
"With petrolatum, castor seed oil, shea butter, bees wax, cocoa seed butter, avocado oil, sunflower seed oil, and olive oil, this product is able to hydrate, moisturize, and support the skin barrier," Dr. King says.
Shop Now: eos "The Hero" Extra Dry Lip Balm Treatment, $4.89, target.com.
This cream offers several nutrients for lip recovery. "Sucralfate helps facilitate the recovery process by protecting the compromised skin from the environment, and a zinc sulfate complex promotes a healthy skin environment" shares Dr. King. "It also contains castor seed oil, beeswax, triglycerides, and mineral oil to moisturize and support the skin barrier."
Shop Now: Avène "Cicalfate LIPS" Restorative Lip Cream, $18, ulta.com.
This balm includes shea butter and vitamin E to help soften and condition skin—and it boasts even more key benefits, too. "Antioxidants like green tea help soothe and repair the skin barrier while petrolatum prevents against water loss," notes Dr. Chang. "Importantly, this lip balm provides sun protection for the lips, which are thin and prone to sun damage."
Shop Now: Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25, $8, ulta.com.
Dr. King notes that this vegan lip mask includes olive, argan, rosehip, sunflower seed, and raspberry seed oils to hydrate and moisturize your mouth.
Shop Now: Tarte Cosmetics Lip Therapy Lip Mask, $20, tartecosmetics.com.
"Dr. Dan's Cortibalm is a medicated lip balm that is formulated with petroleum jelly and mineral oil to lock moisture into the lips; it also includes one-percent hydrocortisone for those with severely chapped, inflamed, or irritated lips," Dr. Chang says.
Shop Now: Dr. Dan's CortiBalm Lip Balm, $16, amazon.com.