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Protect your lips this winter

Dec. 12, 2022—When the thermometer takes a dip, your lips can take a hit. Winter's colder temperatures and lower humidity can leave your lips feeling dry and chapped.

Ready to kiss chapped lips goodbye? Some simple steps may help prevent and treat chapped lips.

Start by choosing—and using—the right lip balm or lipstick to protect your lips. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), here's what to keep in mind:

  • Choose products that soothe. To help heal chapped lips, choose products with non-irritating ingredients, such as mineral oil, shea butter or white petroleum jelly. Check the label and look for the words fragrance free and hypoallergenic.
  • Moisturize often. Apply lip balm throughout the day and before bed. If your lips are still dry and cracked, apply a thick ointment, such as petroleum jelly, which is tops at sealing in moisture.
  • Skip the tingle. Lip products that burn, tingle or sting irritate the lips. Avoid lip products that contain camphor, eucalyptus or menthol.
  • Don't forget sunscreen. Sun damage is another leading cause of chapped lips, and it can happen year-round. If you're spending time outside, make a lip balm with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide part of your cold-weather arsenal. Use lip balm with SPF 30. When you're out and about, reapply lip balm every two hours.

Lip products are not the only way to help keep your lips healthy throughout the winter. The AAD also suggests that you:

  • Don't lick your lips. It may feel soothing at first. But as it evaporates, your lips can become drier. If you catch yourself licking your lips, apply lip balm instead.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. It may help fend off chapped lips and dry, itchy skin all over your body.
  • Get humid. To counter dry air, consider using a humidifier in your bedroom.

Chapped lips aren't usually a cause for concern. But if these tactics don't help after two or three weeks, see a dermatologist. Chapped lips that don't heal could be a sign of a medical condition, such as actinic cheilitis, which could develop into skin cancer.

To find more ways to stay healthy this winter, check out the hot topics in our Winter health topic center.


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