CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) – Everyone has felt the pain of chapped lips before. It’s also the worst season for chapped lips, with dry winter weather contributing to the effects.

If you’re having more trouble than usual with chapped lips, here are a set of tips that can help you fight the pain in 2023.

According to the dermatology experts with the American Academy of Dermatology, there are seven key tips to dealing with chapped lips.

  1. Use a non-irritating lip balm, lipstick, or lip product. Many people mistake discomfort like burning, stinging, or tingling, as a sign that the active ingredients in a product are working. It’s actually a sign of exactly what you think it is.
    • You’re irritating your lips, so its important to stop using any product that has that effect like:
      • Camphor
      • Eucalyptus
      • Flavoring: Cinnamon, citrus, mint, and peppermint flavors can be especially irritating to dry, chapped lips
      • Fragrance
      • Lanolin
      • Menthol
      • Octinoxate or oxybenzone
      • Phenol (or phenyl)
      • Propyl gallate
      • Salicylic acid
    • Instead use these more gentle ingredients:
      • Castor seed oil
      • Ceramides
      • Dimethicone
      • Hemp seed oil
      • Mineral oil
      • Petrolatum
      • Shea butter
      • Sun-protective ingredients, such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide
      • White petroleum jelly
  2. Apply a non-irritating lip moisturizer several times a day and before bed. If your lips are very dry and cracked, a thick ointment, such as white petroleum jelly will work the best. Ointment seals in water longer than waxes or oils.
  3. Slather on a non-irritating lip balm with SPF 30 or higher before going outdoors. Even in the winter, the sun can burn dry, chapped lips which could worsen the dryness and trigger cold sores. To protect dry, chapped lips from the sun, use lip balm that contains offers SPF 30 or higher and one (or both) of these sun-protective ingredients every 2 hours:
    • Titanium oxide
    • Zinc Oxide
  4. Drink plenty of water. Water is important to restore and maintain moisture in the skin. Sodium and Potassium are also important components of hydration.
  5. Stop licking, biting, and picking. When lips feel dry, it may feel natural to wet them by licking them, but most people will know this isn’t a solution. As saliva evaporates, lips become drier. Picking or biting your lips also irritates them, which can prevent proper healing.
  6. Avoid items made of metal near your lips. Paperclips, jewelry, and any everyday products made of metal can irritate your already sensitive lips.
  7. Plug in a humidifier. A humidifier in your living room, bedroom, office, or any space you occupy can be especially helpful to ensure the air you breathe has moisture.

If your lips continue to stay chapped after implementing all these strategies or for too long, it may be time to see a dermatologist.

Irritated, dry, or flaky lips may not simply be chapped lips. The flakiness “can be a sign of chronic sun damage,” says Kavita Mariwalla, MD, a board-certified dermatologist from West Islip, New York.

If your lips are always chapped, see your dermatologist, who may want to rule out precancers or other chronic conditions.