Can You Really Use Olive Oil To Treat Chapped Lips?

Cold weather may be cozy — if you're indoors that is — but freezing temperatures are also damaging to the skin. According to Medical News Today, colder weather often coincides with lower humidity and increased use of indoor heating. Both variables deplete moisture from the skin, leading to itchiness and an irritated, cracked outer barrier. Those with preexisting conditions are particularly vulnerable to wintertime dryness. For example, you may notice a worsening in symptoms of psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema during the colder months (via Geisinger).

To prevent possible irritation, Medical News Today recommends investing in a humidifier, limiting hot showers, and avoiding prolonged exposure to your fireplace or heater. Wearing gloves, too, will prevent your hands from drying out during a cold weather hike or shoveling session. Fortunately, there's no shortage of treatments for dehydrated skin – it's all about replenishing the moisture that a chilly climate depletes.

Lips are a particularly-susceptible area of the body in the wintertime. According to Healthline, the majority of people experience some form of chapped lips, a condition exacerbated by dehydration and certain scented products. Olive oil is a proven natural treatment for chapped lips — who knows, the solution to your wintertime ailments just might lie in your pantry.

Olive oil hydrates irritated lips

Jennifer Lopez has famously attributed her seemingly-ageless skin to one ingredient: olive oil. "It's a secret I've used over the years because it really does work," Lopez claimed in 2021 while promoting her new olive oil-based skincare line (via InStyle). Though most dermatologists maintain a level of skepticism, many of the oil's natural benefits remain undisputed. As noted by board-certified dermatologist Neda Mehr, M.D. via Real Simple, "Olive oil is an excellent skin moisturizer, especially when applied to wet skin when the pores are open, and can act as a second skin barrier for dry, cracked skin in the winter." When cold weather heaters evaporate our skin's liquid barrier, olive oil works as a defensive measure.

Next time you're feeling chapped in the wintertime, simply dab a hint of olive oil onto the affected area. Taste of Home also recommends making an exfoliating scrub by combining olive oil and white sugar — this will remove any dead skin and make way for healthy, hydrated growth.

If you're susceptible to breakouts, however, this olive oil hack might not be the solution for you. Due to its viscosity, olive oil can clog pores, breed bacteria, and lead to acne, explains Skin Spa. It can also exacerbate sun damage, according to Real Simple. If your chapped lips grow painful, swell, or begin splitting, it's always best to talk to a certified dermatologist to work out a solution rather than relying on your pantry.

Olive oil can be beneficial for hair and cuticle health

For some hair types, olive oil is a key ingredient in maintaining shine, hydration, and preventing dandruff. Components like oleic acid and squalene work to seal in moisture, making sure your hair stays conditioned no matter the weather (via Insider). However, as explained by Paul Windle, owner of the award-winning salon, London Windle, olive oil isn't ideal for all hair textures. As the hairdresser told Glamour, "Both olive (and coconut) oils are very popular in their countries of origin," adding, "There are two reasons for this: the oils are quite heavy and suit the thicker hair types that exist in these countries and the sun as it really helps breakdown the oil and opens up the hair to absorb." Ultimately, those with fine hair (especially in chillier climates) should opt for lighter oils – Glamour lists monoi, baobab, and oat oils as potential alternatives.

According to Women's Health, olive oil can also aid in nail growth and cuticle health. As recommended by board-certified dermatologist Tony Nakhla, M.D., treat yourself to an at-home manicure by first disinfecting your hands with vinegar and warm water before adding a touch of olive oil to each nail bed. Not only will it keep your cuticles healthy and hydrated, but it will also promote nail growth over time.