Best-Lip-Balms-for-Chapped-Lips

The Best Lip Balms to Rescue Your Chapped Lips

Try one of these best lip balms to soothe parched lips ASAP.
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'Tis the season for chapped, dry lips. Thanks to winter weather triggers like dipping temps outside and dry heat inside, chapped lips are more or less inevitable this time of year. Thankfully, there are some workarounds, starting with using the best lip balms for chapped lips, all expert-vetted below. Here, experts share their best advice for dealing with chapped lips plus tips, tricks, and ways to keep your lips from getting super-dry, cracked, and, you know, nasty.

What Causes Chapped Lips?

A lot of winter factors contribute to dryness on your lips, but lip skin is already sensitive and prone to dryness. "Unlike the rest of our skin, lips don't have sweat glands, so they're not able to produce their own sweat and oil," says Nkem Ugonabo, M.D., NYC-based board-certified dermatologist at Union Derm. "They also have an overall decreased water content, which makes them more susceptible to becoming dry and rough." Because they can't produce their own oils or hold in moisture for very long, Dr. Ugonabo recommends patients always give their lips a little extra TLC by regularly reapplying balms or ointments.

There are also things you should avoid doing to your lips when they're already chapped, including one that might seem counterintuitive: licking your lips to wet them. "Licking your lips can actually make them drier," explains Dr. Ugonabo. "After saliva evaporates, the lips are often even drier than when it started." Also, please don't peel off any flaking lip skin, since this habit is also damaging to sensitive lip skin. "It doesn't always peel off evenly. You could be exposing even more of the lips and causing even more dryness." (Related: These Are The 10 Best Lip Plumping Glosses, According to Reviews)

Potentially Irritating Ingredients to Avoid Using on Angry Lips

When it comes to picking the best lip balms for chapped lips, a good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that could be irritating, such as fragrances, harsh essential oils, or flavoring. Chapped lips can crack, so if something could irritate a paper cut, you probably shouldn't slather it onto your mouth either.

According to Dr. Ugonabo, basic is usually better, at least when it comes to healing chapped lips. "You want to be sure [lip balms] don't have fragrances, menthol, camphor, or salicylic acid. If you're using a product and you feel like it's not getting better, you should generally consider switching to something more bland." Bland, in the beauty balm world means, essentially, boring: no scent, no tint, and fewer ingredients.

Rachel Maiman, M.D., board-certified dermatologist at Marmur Medical counts the following ingredients as potential irritants for chapped lips.

  • Eucalyptus
  • Flavorings such as cinnamon, citrus, mint, and peppermint flavors
  • Fragrance
  • Lanolin
  • Menthol
  • Octinoxate or oxybenzone
  • Phenol (or phenyl)
  • Propyl gallate

"If your lips burn, sting, or itch after using a lip product, stop using that product," adds Dr. Maiman. Not all of the ingredients listed above will irritate everyone, but if you are prone to irritation or chapped lips, you may want to avoid them. Finally, a quick tip that both derms suggest is seeking out hypoallergenic and fragrance-free products, which will keep a number of those potentially irritating ingredients off your lips.

What Ingredients Work Best for Chapped Lips?

"For dry lips, you want something that is moisturizing and occlusive, meaning that it's actually going to seal in the moisture," says Dr. Ugonabo, who recommends occlusive ingredients such as petroleum jelly, shea butter, mineral oil, and ceramides. Dr. Maiman also recommends looking for humectants, ingredients that draw water from the lower layer of the skin (the dermis), into the upper layer of the skin (the epidermis), helping to moisturize the the outer layers of skin to help heal and prevent chapping.

SPF is also key, even in winter. "Lip balms with mineral sunscreen ingredients, like titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, are typically the most optimal choice for those with chapped lips and should be reapplied every two hours while outdoors," advises Dr. Maiman. (BTW, yes, you should still wear SPF every day, even if you're staying inside.)

The Best Lip Balms for Chapped Lips

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Vaseline is a great choice if your lips are sensitive, irritated, or if you suffer from allergies. It's not the most exciting option as far as best lip balms for chapped lips, but it does exactly what a lip balm product should do. Vaseline is an occlusive emollient thanks to its main ingredient: petrolatum. "It works to prevent already dehydrated, chapped lips hold onto water," shares Dr. Maiman. "This prevents further moisture loss, as may occur from environmental insults such as cold, dry winter weather, and also optimizes barrier repair." (See: How to Strengthen Your Skin Barrier to Prevent Irritation and Sensitivity)

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Hyaluronic acid is a moisturizing all-star, so it makes sense that it's featured front and center in this cult-favorite lip balm which also features vitamin E. In combination, these two ingredients attract much-needed moisture and lock it in without feeling goopy or sticky on your lips. Other occlusive ingredients include shea and cocoa seed butter. Worth noting: it does have a hint of peppermint, but it leans more towards refreshing as opposed to the stinging you'd feel on ultra-chapped lips treated with camphor or menthol. In addition to clear, it also comes in two tinted shades that add a pretty lovely blush to all skin tones.

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If your lips are chapped beyond recognition, this stuff is the good stuff, thanks to having basically all of the occlusive ingredients needed to lock in the moisture your lips can't create on their own. This balm includes glycerin, shea butter, moringa, avocado, coconut, and jojoba oils. It's also a great option if you want a little scent without any potentially irritating chemicals (the scent here comes from rose oil) according to reviews. "The delicate vanilla-rose scent of this balm is so light it's almost not there," one reviewer raved. "[It's] just enough to give your mood a lift but not more than that. Goes on very smoothly and hydrates the lips very well."

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