While the dry air of winter is usually to blame for  chapped lips, there are a number of contributors (such as excess licking habits or sun exposure) to a parched pout.Our lips generally have a thin, oily film on the surface that provides natural protection against moisture loss. When factors strip that level of protection, lips lose moisture and become chapped. Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to prevent and heal dry, chapped lips.

  • Avoid lip licking. If you can rid yourself of that habit, you will be well on your way to smooth, supple lips. Saliva contains enzymes that breaks down your food and skin tissue.
  • Always apply sunscreen. The skin on your lips is just as delicate as the rest of your face and thus needs to be protected from the sun.
  • Check the ingredient list. Do not use products containing phenol or formaldehyde, both of which are harmful to skin and can create “lip balm addiction.”
  • Skip the lip plumpers. The short-term fullness that they might provide is not worth the moisture-depletion they’ll lead to.
  • Hydrate while you sleep. Use a humidifier at night to ensure that you are sleeping in moisture-rich air.
  • Shop smart. Look for products that contain natural ingredients such as  pure vegetable oils or beeswax.
  • Look for add-ins. You can also benefit from products containing additional moisturizers or soothing agents, such as calendula or shea butter.

While chapped lips are certainly uncomfortable, they can almost always be prevented and can easily be healed. So, be sure to care for your lips just as you would the rest of your skin and you’ll have one less skin woe to worry about!

READ MORE: Tips for Your Best Lips