How To Prevent Dry, Flaky Lips

Dry, flaky lips are perhaps one of the most common, yet most under-treated, skin conditions. It is frustrating as it can bleed, burn, and affect the overall look of your lips. In addition, the skin on the lips is thin and more prone to damage such as dryness, cracks, redness, and peeling (via Everyday Health). There is also a lack of oil glands in the lips, according to Joyce Carslaw, founder of Smart Ass Beauty, which can also cause lips to get much drier than the surrounding skin (via Livescience).

No matter the exact cause, dry lips always stem from a lack of moisture. There can be many causes of this dehydration, from environmental stressors to using the wrong products. Reaching for the lip balm every five seconds is annoying. Many people with chapped lips believe there will never be any other true relief and choose to cope with the symptoms. In reality, no matter the cause, there are simple solutions to preventing dry, flaky lips.

Exfoliate them

It is important to remove dry, dead skin from the top of your lips before applying any lip moisturizer. Exfoliation is the key to lip prep, as, without exfoliating, the dead skin can block the moisturizer from being properly absorbed into the lips (via Medical News Today).

To exfoliate the lips, it is best to use a physical exfoliant. You may already have the ingredients to make a physical lip exfoliant and not even realize it. A common exfoliant mix includes sugar, cinnamon, and petroleum jelly. Scrub this onto your lips to remove dry skin approximately twice per week.

Try lip masks

Overnight lip masks are a great way to give your lips a big boost of hydration. They work similarly to lip balm but with longer-lasting results (via BioRepublic). Many of the most popular lip masks, such as the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, are made from ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. The body is best at healing itself overnight, so this is the optimal time to use a lip mask. Plus, nothing is better than waking up with plump, soft, and moisturized lips. Lip masks often need to be used once or twice per week.

Apply non-irritating lip moisturizer

While it can be tempting to pick up the yummy-smelling, bubblegum-flavored lip balm at the grocery store checkout, these are often filled with artificial fragrances and flavoring that can irritate the lips rather than heal them (via AAD). 

Whereas some ingredients can irritate dry lips, others are non-irritating and should be looked for in your next lip moisturizer. These ingredients include but are not limited to, petroleum jelly, hemp seed oil, ceramides, and mineral oil. If your lips are extra dry, you might even consider an ointment, as it will seal in moisture longer than a wax lip balm.

Use lip moisturizer with SPF

If you are chronically in the sun, most likely, that is the reason behind your dry lips. If your dry lips are caused by sun exposure, the condition actually has its own name. Actinic Cheilitis is damage to the lips due to UV exposure (via WebMD). This condition essentially sunburns your lips and carries the risk of causing skin cancer. You can lower your risk and prevent the effects of chapped lips by using a lip moisturizer with SPF.

Stay hydrated

While it can start to sound like a broken record, drinking more water really does improve any dehydration problems, including dry skin and dry lips (via Pacific Dermatology Specialists). Dehydration isn't the only cause of dry lips, but it can certainly be a factor and prevent cracked lips from healing as fast. To help in the fight against dry, flaky lips, ensure you carry a water bottle around and are drinking at least eight glasses of water each day.