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Dry Lips This Winter?

  • Posted on: Feb 26 2023
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Dry lips are one of the most irritating things about winter. The combo of dry air inside and outside can cause lips to start to flake and peel. Nasal stuffiness from viruses doesn’t help as it increases mouth breathing at night which can further dry your lips. Lips don’t have oil glands so they get dry and cracked sooner then regular skin.

Lips have some of the thinnest skin found on the body. Heres what you should and shouldn’t do.

For mild cases, the lip balm of your choice may be sufficient. For moderate to severe cases,  Aquaphor lip balm which is fragrance and preservative free is preferred by many dermatologist. Even Vaseline or other petrolatum based ointments can be helpful. Vanicream moisturizing ointment is silicone based. The key is using it 5 or more times a day.

Whatever you do, don’t pick or scrub the dead skin off your lips. That dead dehydrated skin is still protecting whats underneath and peeling the dead skin off exposes the deeper layers before they are ready. Dermatologist don’t generally recommend flavored chap sticks as fragrances can be irritating or even cause an allergy. Beeswax can also be irritating and as it contains propolis, a more frequent allergen.

i encourage my patients to go through a couple days of dry looking lips almost like a purge knowing that the flakes will fall off and lips will be healed underneath. I cringe when i see lip peels like those with brown sugar that only give a temporary benefit. The intense redness afterwards is really your lips cry for help. The now denuded lips will soon parch and the dry lips cycle begins anew

Also don’t lick your lips to wet them. Saliva can be irritating to the lips and surrounding skin causing inflammation. Consider getting a humidifier. Slugging is a newer trend where people put Vaseline or a thick ointment all over the face. Dermatologist have been recommending this for the lips for years.  A newer trend I call triple lip slugging involves apply fresh water to the lips, applying a light fragrance free moisturizer like Cetaphil or Cerave lotion and then an occlusive layer with Vaseline or Aquaphor.


If your lips continue to peel, see your dermatologist.

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