- The best home remedies for chapped lips include petroleum jelly, aloe vera, honey, coconut oil, and sugar exfoliation.
- Applying petroleum jelly after lip balm can help lock in moisture on your lips and keep them hydrated.
- Putting honey on your lips can help moisturize them and relieve sores caused by chapped lips.
- This article was medically reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with a private practice in New York City.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.
Chapped lips commonly occur when your lips are dry, sore, or cracked. You may get chapped lips when the weather is cold and dry, or when you are dehydrated. Unlike the rest of your skin, your lips don’t have oil glands and can’t produce any natural oils to prevent it from drying. This means without proper care, your lips may dry out often.
If your favorite lip balm isn’t doing the trick to get rid of chapped lips, then you should try out these five easy home remedies instead.
1. Petroleum jelly
Petroleum jelly is a key ingredient in many lip balms because it helps provide the skin with a protective barrier to lock in moisture. This is essential because it prevents your lips from drying out.
But petroleum jelly is an occlusive, which means that it will only protect your lips from moisture loss, rather than providing moisture itself. The best way to use petroleum jelly for chapped lips is to:
- Apply lip balm first, to provide moisture to your lips.
- Lock in the moisture with a layer of petroleum jelly.
In rare cases, some people might encounter an allergic reaction to petroleum jelly. If you experience any swelling or stinging when using it, you might be allergic and should discontinue use immediately.
2. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is a succulent plant that produces a moisturizing gel. It works by pulling moisture from the air into the surface of the skin. This helps to keep your lips hydrated and prevents them from drying out.
Aloe vera also contains molecules called polysaccharides, which helps moisture bind to your skin, keeping your lips hydrated. It is especially helpful for cracked lips since the polysaccharides encourage the skin to generate new cells, which helps sores to heal quickly.
You can grow your own aloe vera plant and get the gel from its leaves, or buy some aloe vera gel at your local beauty store. Some people experience allergic reactions to aloe vera, so it’s advisable to do a patch test for possible allergic reactions first.
Honey is a great remedy for chapped lips because it’s a humectant, meaning that it pulls moisture from the air into your lips. Honey is also known for its healing properties and may help relieve sores and cracks caused by chapped lips.
In addition, honey has antibacterial properties that prevent you from developing an infection from these cracks and sores, says Konstantin Vasyukevich, MD, a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon, and skincare expert, affiliated with Beth Israel Medical Center and Jacobi Medical Center.
“Honey works as a mild exfoliator and can help remove dry, dead skin from the lips,” says Vasyukevich.
Here’s how you can use honey to moisturize your lips:
- Use a clean finger or a cotton swab to put a thin layer on your lips.
- Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes and then wipe it off.
Honey is sweet, so resist the urge to lick it off, as this will only worsen your chapped lips. A great way to avoid this is by applying it before you go to sleep, and leaving it on overnight.
4. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is an emollient, which means it’s great for locking in moisture in your lips and preventing them from drying out.
Coconut oil also has anti-inflammatory properties. This means that it can help relieve the pain and discomfort that sometimes accompanies cracked lips. Coconut oil’s antibacterial properties also help to keep your lips germ free, preventing you from getting an infection from the open sores. You can also combine it with some sugar and use it as a gentle exfoliant to help you get rid of the dead skin cells on your lips.
5. Sugar exfoliation
When dead skin cells build up on your lips, they prevent your lips from getting the moisture they need. Gently exfoliating your skin with a sugar scrub helps to remove dead skin cells caused by chapping.
Making a sugar scrub is easy. All you need to do is follow these steps:
- Put one tablespoon of sugar and one tablespoon of coconut oil or honey into a bowl.
- Mix thoroughly and use a clean finger to apply the scrub onto your lips.
- With the scrub, gently rub your lips in a circular motion for a minute.
- Wipe off the excess scrub when you are done.
- Apply petroleum jelly or some coconut oil, to restore moisture.
Make sure to always follow a sugar scrub with a moisturizing treatment. “If you forget to moisturize following lips scrubs, it can actually worsen chapped lips,” Vasyukevich says.
How to prevent chapped lips
Your lips get chapped when they are dry, which is why keeping them well moisturized at all times is the best way to prevent chapped lips.
You also want to avoid licking your lips when they are dry. While using saliva to moisten your lips might seem like a logical way to combat dryness, it actually causes your lips to dry out even quicker. Instead, use a lip moisturizer or one of the homemade remedies above.
“The best way to prevent chapped lips is to be consistent with the lip moisturizing treatments you use,” says Vasyukevich. “Ensure that you are applying moisturizer multiple times throughout the day, and adjust applications based on the climate or weather conditions. If you are living in colder, dryer temperatures, it is best to use these treatments on a more regular basis.”
Chapped lips can be a pesky problem. But to get rid of them, there are many natural remedies you can whip up at home, with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. You can also use a combination of these home remedies to help you get rid of your chapped lips permanently.