The do's, don'ts of healing your dry, chapped lips


When the temperatures drop, it's very easy to find yourself with dry, chapped lips.  And experts say when trying to keep your lips moist, make sure not to lick them.

"Saliva, once you put it on the lips it dries out and makes our lips even more dry. Plus the enzymes that are in saliva that are meant to digest food are actually irritating to the lips," said Cleveland Clinic Dermatologist Dr. Melissa Piliang.

She recommends using a lip balm that is ointment based. She says this will lock in the moisture and help to heal any cracks or splits. A healing ointment will typically contain petrolatum (petroleum) or glycerin. Both are good ingredients for your lips.

But she says, avoid lip balms containing things like camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol because they can dry out your lips even more and make the problem worse.

Piliang says you should also avoid brushing, or touching your lips when they are flaky or peeling.

"It's better not to scrub them or pick that off with your teeth or your fingers. That just makes cracks and sores on your lips and can make things worse. Instead, apply a very heavy ointment-based balm that will be soothing and help to heal it," Piliang explained.

She says to treat cracks right away because if you let them go they can become infected or lead to a cold sore.