9 Ways To Prevent Chapped Lips

by Jessica Willingham

In my personal hell, I’m stranded on an island without chapstick. Dry, chapped lips is the worst type of pain, right up there with paper cuts and canker sores. But fret not, there are ways to keep your lips from chapping with nine easy tricks, because even though you don't really think about it until it happens, the truth is chapped, dry, and sunburned lips are beauty blunders at best and downright painfully unattractive at worst.

Come fall, when the air is dry, your skin will begin to lose moisture. The thinner areas of skin — like your hands and lips — are particularly vulnerable to any type of damage. If you live in a super dry climate or are naturally dry, definitely try using a humidifier in your home.

If you’re suffering from dry lips already, be sure to gently exfoliate the dry, dead skin, and stock up on your lip moisturizers. Reapply often, and stay out of the sun and wind. Trust me!

If nothing I suggest to prevent or soothe dry lips works, you may be having an allergic reaction and may need to consult your doctor. But before it gets that bad, here are some ways to prevent chapped lips.

1. Protect your lips from face wash

Vow to apply lip balm before you wash your face. Face cleansers can dry out your lips, thanks to pH disrupting ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can dry out your lips.

2. Ditch lip wax

Believe it or not, this was the first piece of advice I received when I moved to Denver, CO. The air is drier here (we are a mile closer to the sun), and people have a nasty habit of slathering on Burt's Bees products or similar wax-based lip products to compensate for thirsty lips. But instead of healing, these products are meant as a barrier for dehydration for already healthy lips.

Also, the wax can amplify the affects of sunshine on your lips, resulting in a nasty burn. Avoid the burn and choose wax-free balms instead to lock in moisture. Ingredients like vitamin E, macadamia oil, and shea butter are good to look for.

3. Skip citrus

Citrus-based orange juice, or even salty and spicy foods, can dry out your lips. Pass on the grapefruit, hot wings, and chips and margaritas!

4. No more mattes

Not matter how "moisturizing" that tube of matte finish lipstick claims to be, the truth is that matte formulas are more drying than other glosses or lipstick.

5. Protect against wind

If you plan on being out on a windy day, protect your lips with a scarf. Wind and sun are equally damaging to lips.

6. Be careful with SPF

Use sunscreen on your lips (if you don't have sunscreen in your moisturizer) if you have healthy lips. If they're already damaged and chapped, sunscreen could irritate sensitive skin.

7. Forget fragrances and flavors

Balms, glosses, and lipsticks with fragrances and flavors can cause allergic reactions. Also, flavored toothpaste can be an irritant.

8. Breath through your nose

Sounds silly, but if you already have chapped lips, breathing through your mouth can be torturous and drying.

9. Don't lick your lips

It's natural to want to lick your dry lips, but saliva has acids that break down our food and irritate lips. Plus, constant licking can strip your lips of natural oils.