Lip Care | Why are My Lips so Dry?

5 Things to make your chapped lips worse from Lavender Herb Farm in New Zealand

Understanding the Resilience of Our Lips

Our lips must maintain a delicate balance between softness and resilience, enduring exposure to various environmental factors and daily activities. Despite their delicate appearance, they serve as a protective barrier between our external environment and the sensitive tissue lining our mouths.

Positioned at the intersection of facial skin and oral tissue, our lips feature a unique structure akin to mucous membranes, fortified with an additional protective skin layer. Unlike the surrounding skin, lips lack hair follicles and glands for sweat, saliva, and oil production.

This distinct composition leaves them vulnerable to dryness, as they have a limited capacity to retain moisture compared to facial skin.

Habits to Avoid for Healthy Lips

Keeping dry lips soft and smooth may seem like a constant battle. Here are a few things that you should not do to keep your lips healthy.

1. Dehydration

Staying hydrated is essential for preventing chapped lips, as it helps maintain moisture levels in the skin, including the delicate lip area. Drinking eight glasses of water per day ensures hydration, reducing the likelihood of dryness, cracking, and chapping. Keeping a water bottle handy can help you meet your daily water intake, supporting overall skin health and keeping chapped lips at bay.

2. Lick your lips

A lot of people who have chapped lips are lip-lickers. It might feel better momentarily, but you are actually harming your lips. Repeated licking can take out the oily surface film that protects the lips from the skin. It makes you lose the moisture from the skin and leads to lips cracking. 

3. Pick or bite your lips

It can be tempting to pull off an annoying flake from already-chapped lips but people who frequently bite or pick at their lips may cause further irritation. The behavior leads you to soothe the lips by touching or licking your lips. The never ending cycle of dry, chapped, pick and lick makes your lips hard to heal.  

4. Breathing through your mouth

Because your lips are already prone to dryness, open mouth breathing while sleeping eliminates moisture and leads to chapped lips even worse. It is a tendency for mouth breathers to lick their lips frequently. 

5. Irritating ingredients

Use irritating lip balm will make your chapped lips worse while it is struggling to heal. Some ingredients can irritate dry lips that you would like to avoid while your lips are chapped.

  • Fragrances: Fragrances added to lip products can contain chemicals that may irritate sensitive lips, leading to further dryness and discomfort.
  • Flavours like mint, citrus, vanilla, and cinnamon: Flavored lip products often contain additional ingredients that can cause irritation or allergic reactions, exacerbating chapped lips.
  • Shiny glosses, which can worsen sun damage: Glossy lip products may attract more sunlight to the lips, increasing the risk of sunburn and further drying out the delicate lip skin.
  • Colors, which may cause irritation without providing any benefits: Artificial colorants in lip products may irritate chapped lips without offering any therapeutic benefits, potentially prolonging the healing process.
  • Menthol, phenol, or salicylic acid, known to exacerbate dryness: These ingredients are often used in lip balms for their cooling or exfoliating properties, but they can strip the lips of natural moisture, worsening chapping.
  • Additional ingredients such as camphor, lanolin, octinoxate, oxybenzone, or propyl gallate: These ingredients may have potential irritant or drying effects on chapped lips, hindering the healing process and causing further discomfort.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends specific ingredients in lip balms to aid in healing chapped lips:

  • Castor seed oil: Known for its moisturizing properties, castor seed oil helps to hydrate and nourish dry, chapped lips, promoting healing.
  • Shea butter: Shea butter is rich in vitamins and fatty acids that provide intense hydration, helping to repair and soothe chapped lips.
  • Ceramides: Ceramides are lipid molecules that help to restore the skin's natural barrier function, preventing moisture loss and promoting lip healing.
  • Dimethicone: Dimethicone forms a protective barrier on the lips, sealing in moisture and preventing further dehydration, which can aid in healing chapped lips.
  • Hemp seed oil: Hemp seed oil is rich in omega fatty acids and antioxidants, offering nourishing and anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate chapped lips.
  • Mineral oil: Mineral oil acts as an occlusive agent, trapping moisture in the lips and preventing water loss, thereby supporting the healing process.
  • Petrolatum: Petrolatum forms a protective barrier on the lips, sealing in moisture and preventing external irritants from aggravating chapped lips, promoting healing.
  • White petroleum jelly: White petroleum jelly provides a protective layer over chapped lips, locking in moisture and shielding against environmental factors that can worsen dryness and irritation.
  • Sun-protective ingredients, such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide: Sunscreen ingredients like titanium oxide or zinc oxide offer protection against harmful UV rays, preventing further damage and allowing chapped lips to heal without exposure to sunburn.

    5 Things You Should Avoid to Keep Your Lips Soft and Smooth

    To recap, keeping your lips soft and smooth can be a struggle. Here are some things to avoid in order to keep your lips healthy.

    1. Stay hydrated by drinking eight glasses of water per day to prevent dehydration and chapped lips.
    2. Avoid licking your lips as it removes the natural oils and leads to moisture loss and cracking.
    3. Refrain from biting or picking at your lips to prevent further irritation and promote healing.
    4. Breathing through your mouth while sleeping can worsen chapped lips due to moisture loss and increased licking.
    5. Avoid using lip balms with irritating ingredients such as camphor, eucalyptus, and fragrance, and opt for healing ingredients like shea butter, ceramides, and mineral oil.

    Moisturize Chapped Lips with Home Remedies

    Combat chapped lips effectively with these natural remedies:

    1. Petroleum Jelly: Seal in moisture and nourish chapped lips with petroleum jelly like Vaseline. Dermatologists recommend applying throughout the day and before bedtime for best results.
    2. Honey: Harness the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of honey to prevent infections and soothe dry, itchy skin around the lips. Apply organic honey with a cotton swab or finger as needed, unless allergic to bee products.
    3. Aloe Vera: Extract aloe vera gel from the plant's leaves or use store-bought gel to moisturize lips. Be cautious with its mild exfoliating effects and limit use to a few times daily.
    4. Coconut Oil: Soothe chapped lips with natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial coconut oil. Apply liberally throughout the day as needed.
    5. Avocado Butter: Create soothing avocado butter by blending avocados, or use store-bought organic avocado butter to generously moisturize lips throughout the day.
    6. Sugar Exfoliation: Incorporate sugar exfoliation into your routine to combat chapped lips. Dead skin cells can accumulate, hindering moisture absorption. Using a gentle sugar scrub helps slough away these cells, promoting smoother, more hydrated lips.

    Lavender Backyard Garden is a New Zealand herb farm. We grow lavender, rosemary and use steam distillation to produce our own brand of essential oils. Our lavender lip balm is one of our all-time favourite in our shop. It contains natural oils with shea butter which makes your lips feel soft with pleasant lavender scents. If you would like to learn more about our farm click here to discover our farm.


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