Dry lips: causes, treatment options, and tips for prevention

Dry lips

Whether on cold winter days, after sunbathing or after a stressful day at work: dry lips and their unpleasant consequences are familiar to many. But what is behind chapped lips that may also be cracked and painful? And what measures help in acute cases to make your lips silky and soft again? In the following, we will clarify the most important causes of dry lips and present proven treatment methods. 

Why are dry lips so common?

The most important reason why the lips are particularly often affected by dryness is their structure. In contrast to other skin areas, there are very few sebum glands with the body’s own fat deposits in the lips. Your body can therefore only poorly compensate for fluid and fat losses, so that the smallest disturbances have an immediate effect on the lips.

Accordingly, dry lips can be traced back to a wide variety of external and internal influences:

  • Dry lips are particularly well known and widespread in winter, when the air is very dry and you are also frequently in heated rooms with low humidity. Just like on hot summer days, when the air can also be very dry, the lips lack moisture from the outside and they dry out.
  • Another externally effective factor that can lead to dry lips are cosmetics. Conventional lipsticks without lipid replenishing ingredients, if used frequently, have the opposite effect that moisture is removed from the lips. 
  • Licking your lips, often done intuitively, can also help dry out your lips. If you bring moisture to your lips in this way, you may feel less tension at first, but later have to struggle with even drier lips. When the saliva evaporates on the lips, it removes even more moisture from the skin.
  • In addition to external influences on the sensitive moisture balance of the lips, internal causes must also be taken into account. Above all, insufficient fluid intake has a harmful effect on your lips. In addition, an unbalanced diet that is missing important vitamins and minerals, as well as stress or various infections can also trigger dry lips.
  • A lack of vitamins and trace elements can also lead to dry lips. If vitamin B2, zinc or iron are missing, the lining of the mouth can become inflamed and the corners of the mouth cracked. Vitamin B2 is contained in dairy products, fish, but also in vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus and spinach. Zinc and iron are found in legumes, oat flakes and pumpkin seeds, among other things, and there is a lot of iron in offal such as liver. 

How can dry lips be treated effectively? 

Based on the causes of dry, chapped and chapped lips, a simple principle for the treatment can be derived: The lips must be supplied with moisture again. A first important step and, at the same time, a long-term measure to prevent dry lips, is therefore the adequate fluid intake. Depending on the season and activity, you should drink between 1.5 and 3 liters daily in order to adequately supply your body and thus your lips ensure. 

But what specifically helps if, for example, you wake up in the morning with uncomfortably dry lips? Various home remedies and products from the pharmacy or drugstore can be used to provide your lips with short-term moisture. A traditional classic among home remedies for the problem is honey. Simply massage this into your lips and then leave it on for at least 10 minutes. Important: After the exposure time, you shouldn’t lick the honey off, but instead carefully dab it off. Otherwise, licking the lips would dry out again. Other proven home remedies for treatment include aloe vera, petroleum jelly, cocoa butter, olive oil and marigold ointment. In addition to their moisturizing properties, all of these agents have additional ingredients, 

If you would like to use products from the pharmacy or drugstore to treat your lips, for example when you are out and about, a wide range is available to you. High-quality lip care sticks , lip balms or lip creams provide the lips with lasting moisture and fat. However, caution is advised when choosing a suitable care stick: Some products available in Germany contain potentially harmful substances such as mineral oils. If, on the other hand, you choose a lip balm with only natural ingredients, you can be sure that no harmful substances get on your lips. 

Zinc is particularly effective: with a zinc ointment you can prevent the sometimes painful cracks in the corners of the mouth . Special creams with the active ingredients dexpanthenol, zinc or witch hazel are suitable for treating lips that have already been injured.

Effectively prevent dry lips with the right behavior and an extra dose of care 

The most important preventive measure against dry lips has already been mentioned: Drinking enough is extremely important to supply the lips with the necessary moisture. In addition, in rooms with dry air, you can, for example, use bowls of water to increase the humidity and thus prevent it from drying out. If you would like to treat your lips to additional care, an occasional lip peeling in conjunction with a lip mask is a good idea. The beauty industry has also recognized this potential. You can buy these ready-mixed in the drugstore or you can make them yourself. 

Even in summer we can get chapped and dry lips – they are caused on the one hand by the sun’s rays and on the other by salt and chlorinated water when bathing. Therefore, use appropriate lip care with a sun protection factor in the summer months so that the lips stay beautifully supple. Avoid using perfumed products!

Tip: If you don’t want to do without lipstick despite dry lips, you should rely on nourishing lipsticks with moisturizing ingredients such as aloe vera or shea butter.

What to do if the corners of your mouth are torn?

Torn corners of the mouth not only look ugly, they usually also hurt a lot. There are many reasons for this. Sometimes the skin is simply overused, for example in winter when it is cold, after eating sour or salty foods or after catching a cold . Unfortunately, the torn areas on the lips tend to heal slowly, because if you yawn or brush your teeth , it quickly happens that they tear again.

You can treat the torn areas well with lip balm or an ointment, so that they should have subsided after a few days. However, if the problem recurs and care does not help, you should consult a doctor. They can take a closer look at the cracks, examine them and make a diagnosis.

Sometimes there can be more behind torn corners of the mouth, for example iron deficiency, skin diseases, infections, autoimmune diseases or diabetes mellitus.

DIY peeling for smooth lips

You can easily make your own lip scrub for delicate lips at home. All you need are olive oil, honey and brown sugar.

Mix one tablespoon of honey with 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and one tablespoon of olive oil in a small container. The sugar shouldn’t dissolve as it acts as a scrub. Put the mixture on the lips and massage them in gently. Then rinse off well with clear water and apply a rich lip balm.

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