9 Tips to Get Rid of Chapped Lips This Winter Copy

Stop letting cold, dry air sabotage your lips.

If you live somewhere with cold winters, you probably automatically associate wintertime with chapped lips. The two are an iconic duo, like peanut butter and jelly, popcorn and movies, or wine and cheese…you get the point. It’s just hard to imagine one without the other.

Except, you should. While flaky, chapped lips are a natural consequence of cold, dry, and windy weather, you don’t have to just sit and suffer through months of it. Let’s be honest: We’re casually sending people to space these days—you best believe that our society has also figured out a few chapped lips remedies that work.

The best news? “Simple things work well,” Amy Fox, M.D., associate professor in the department of dermatology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, tells SELF. “You don’t need anything elaborate.” Of course, there are some luxurious lip-care products out there that come in nice packaging and maybe smell heavenly or have a nice tint to them, and they can certainly work. If that’s your style, we won’t hold you back. But we want to make it clear that inexpensive chapped lips remedies really can do the trick and give you summer-smooth lips all year long.

Like most things, it’s best to prevent chapped lips before they hit if you can. But if you don’t mobilize your prevention efforts in time and end up with dried, flaky lips this winter, a few simple fixes will get your lips feeling soft and hydrated again. You definitely don’t need to just (painfully) grin and bear it.

We asked dermatologists to explain the most common chapped lips causes, how to prevent chapped lips, and the easiest chapped lips remedies that work. Here’s all of their advice for maintaining plush and smooth lips no matter what Mother Nature throws your way.What causes chapped lips? | How can you prevent chapped lips? | Here’s how to heal chapped lips fast. | What does it mean if chapped lips won’t heal?

What causes chapped lips?

Chapped lips—especially in the wintertime—can be caused by environmental changes that lead the water on the top layer of your lips to evaporate. “In colder, less humid environments, people often get irritation to the lips,” Dr. Fox says. Wind just makes things even worse.

The skin on the lips is more sensitive than most other skin on the body, Dr. Fox adds. “We think of the lips as more susceptible to a lot of changes but certainly to environmental changes,” she says. And if you already have underlying causes of chapped lips (like being dehydrated), a cold and windy climate can make chapped lips even worse.

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How can you prevent chapped lips?

The best thing to do is to get in front of it early, Dr. Fox says. “Once lips get super dry and chapped and cracked, it’s a little bit longer of a healing process,” she says. The best ways to keep lips moisturized during winter and prevent them from getting chapped, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:

  • Apply lip balm or ointment (with SPF if it’s in the daytime!) before going out into cold dry weather, and reapply often.
  • Cover your lips.
  • Avoid licking your lips.
  • Drink enough water throughout the day. (Here’s how to know how much water is right for you.)
  • Use a humidifier in your home.
  • Avoid allergens in skin-care products and makeup.
  • Breathe through your nose versus your mouth.