Last Modified on May 08, 2015
Natural treatments are very effective at healing and preventing cracked or chapped lips. Home based treatments range from home remedies like coconut oil to supplements that support healthy skin.
What Causes Cracked Lips?
The lips do not contain oil glands like most other parts of the skin or body. Without oil glands, the lips are more prone to drying out and chapping or cracking. Additional factors contribute to this drying out including cold or dry weather, lack of self-care or hygiene, overexposure to the sun and frequent licking of the lips. Certain medications and supplements may also increase the risk of developing chapped lips including retinoids, lithium, chemotherapy drugs and vitamin A. Dehydration and malnutrition also contribute to the development of chapped lips.
Home Remedies for Dry Cracked Lips
Dry cracked lips are often easily treated using home remedies. Having plenty of moisture in the body is one of the main considerations for treating chapped lips. Drinking more water, using a humidifier, applying lip balm and avoiding cold weather conditions are initial treatment options. Other effective treatments include coconut oil, glycerin, l-lysine and lanolin. Manuka honey mixed with coconut oil, mustard oil and shea butter are also effective options. Gently exfoliating the dry skin on the lips using sugar and then rehydrating them with Vaseline can also eliminate dry chapped lips. Vitamin B2 and vitamin B complex vitamins also support healthy skin.
[YEA] I had a severe dry lip problem after coming back from China. I remembered dropping a tube of lip gloss on the floor so I treated my lips as if they had some kind of bacteria infection and they got well. I can't remember what all I used.... Colloidal silver maybe and/or Neosporin.
[YEA] I started making my own lip balm to use for myself when I was pregnant and to give away as gifts... It's a pretty basic formula. About 50% Beeswax, 10% Oil, 40% Olive oil (or any other kind of vegetable oil).
Years ago I used to work with a woman who looked my age...I was shocked to discover she had a daughter my age! She said her secret was putting petroleum jelly around her eyes every night. I researched it and discovered that, while in theory it would work, it was VERY toxic to the body to apply anything with Mineral Oils or Mineral Oil-derivatives in it. After some more research, I learned that beeswax is an even better "sealant" than Petroleum Jelly is - and it's all natural!
So I started using my lip balm around my eyes every single night instead of an eye cream. I cannot tell you...the fine lines have DISAPPEARED! My eye area is dewy and soft. I get carded on a regular basis and people don't believe that I am 30 years old.
If you don't have the patience to make your own lip balm, please buy one at the health food store. DO NOT USE ANYTHING WITH MINERAL OILS. Avoid ones with Peppermint Essential Oils as the vapours are irritating to the eye. Try to go unscented.
Even if you buy one of the fancy organic brand lipbalms at $6 or $7 for one stick, it will honestly last you at least 4 or 5 months...which is still way cheaper (and FAR more effective) than those $100 containers of fancy brand-name anti-aging eye creams that are loaded with toxic chemicals.
P.S. Did you know Propylene Glycol is an industrial anti-freeze and it's in 90% of all conventional face lotions/body lotions?!? Go grab your bottle of drug store/department store lotion and read the ingredients. Still think the sun causes skin cancer?!? Or maybe the chemicals in your skin care???
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Huntington Beach, Calf.
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Mission, Tx Us
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[YEA] Coconut oil cured my cracked, peeling lips! Living in Colorado, the air can be cold and dry, and my lips have taken a beating, plus I tend to chew on them if they're peeling. Then all sorts of trouble starts and I get a cold sore. I've tried a lot to rehydrate them, like putting different oils and balms and even honey on them. I found my solution by accident. I love coconut oil and use it as my go-to moisturizer for everything, but have been disappointed in its ability to help my lips topically. Still, I love it for the rest of my skin. But it wasn't until I started feeling sick and did what I always do to keep from getting whatever is ailing me (colds, flu, cold sores, even UTIs!) that I noticed; I take several doses of coconut oil throughout the day. Not only did I not get whatever I felt was looming, but my lips smoothed right up. But I didn't get why (doh!) at the time. I stopped the intense coconut therapy, although I still oil pull with it and put a small amount in my tea, and boom, a day later my lips were back to their normal, cracked selves. Ta-da! Light bulb.... I need more coconut oil. Now, everyday I take about a 1/2-1 tablespoon 3-4 or more times a day (I happen to love it so I tend to do a lot with it) and have smooth, uncracked lips. I love coconut oil! I just take a big ole' spoonful of organic oil and munch away (since it's cold now).
Replied by Athena
First thing I do, when I notice my lips turn dry over the course of the day, is drink a glass of water.
It's usually a sign I'm slightly dehydrated. I found this out when I worked at a store where they had a blower-heater at the entrance - making the air very dry - combined with being busy and not having the time to drink during busy hours.
For dry, painful cracked lips, a 30 minute glycerine lip treatment will help. Simply put a thick layer of glycerine onto your lips, as thick as possible, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Leave it alone, don't smear it out or touch it. It's sticky and sweet, so make sure you have a straw at hand if you get thirsty...
After 30 minutes or longer, gently remove the glycerine with a soft tissue. In most cases, the lips will be perfectly soft again, and even the painful cracks will have healed.
I personally don't feel glycerine is something for every day use, but it works wonders when needed.
[YEA] I have had dry, cracked lips for about 14 years. I have been using carmex up to now. I have been using it almost daily, but it never really helps much. It just covers up the problem.
I tried grapefruit seed extract once or twice a day recently and it works! It doesn't cover up the problem, it eradicates the dry lips completely. Just a tiny amount of the liquid applied all over your lips.
Replied by Zelemont
[YEA] This website is a life changer. First, I got rid of my constipation of 36 years by taking Cal-Mag daily and now finally, after suffering 30 years from Chapped, Cracked, Peeling, Hurting lips, I checked this site again and L-Lysine had the most votes, so tried it and saw INSTANT results, within 12 hours! I took 1000 mg for the first two days and then reduced it to 500mg, this being my 4th day. I will be reducing it to 500 mg once a week. I am in heaven, where I no more need to abandon my toothpastes, thinking they are the culprit. I am back to using my organic toothpaste. Life is Great, with smooth, pink lips. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR FEEDBACK with INSTRUCTIONS.
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Replied by Noelle
Minneapolis, Mn Usa
[YEA] I live in hot, humid South Florida so I don't have much of a problem with dry skin. However, when I go back up to the freezing north in the wintertime, the wind and cold makes my lips get chapped and sometimes I get dry, itchy skin. Lanolin oil has been a lifesaver for me! It heals my chapped lips and is also great on dry, cracked hands or rough elbows. Lanolin cream is actually very easy to find in the baby/maternity section of the drugstore, it is usually marketed as a breast cream for breastfeeding mothers (and supposedly works well for this purpose, too). It's a 100% natural oil that is from the sheared wool of sheep. A large tube will cost you around $14 but I've been using it daily on my lips for 2 years and am only through half the tube. After applying, my lips are moisturized, they heal well and they get plumper and redder. I'll never look for another lip product - this is the one! :)
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Syracuse, Ny, Us
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Ten Mile, Tn.
[YEA] Lip Fissures:
My son, with Down Syndrome, has several chronic ailments resulting from poor nutrient absorbtion, because of having Hirschsprung's Disease and an ileostomy...such as, candida, fungal nails, cracks on heels and between toes, gingivitis, fatty liver, tendency toward dehydration and so on. He also had mono recently and may have insuline resistance. All he wants to eat is meat, which seems to be common with other people who have this disease. When I to try bribe him to eat organic vegetables or fruits, I noticed that these foods, as well as the expensive supplements I give him, are passed through his system undigested. He doesn't chew well either. Lately I bought a blender so he can have nutritious smoothies. I've also switched to liquid supplements when I can find them.
All of his life, he has had a fissure on his lower lip. It often cracks open and bleeds. He also has surgical scars on his abdomen which become sores because of a habit he has of adjusting the waistband of his pants. I've tried every angle, extra fluids, supplements, different lip balms, diet, tea tree oil. The tea tree oil tastes bad, so he wouldn't tolerate it, although it may have helped. I try to watch ph balance, but when he's at school, at the sitters or out and about, he gets a lot of junk food given to him by people who are trying to be kind. I puposely don't give him extra money, so he can't buy snacks. His teacher said she had to stop well meaning people from constantly bringing treats for her students. Recently on a school field trip,a waitress bought him soda...this happens so often, I feel i can't win when it comes to diet, but I do my best at home.
I read recently that active manuka honey from New Zealand is now being used in hospitals to treat chronic wounds and bed sores especially for people with diabetes. A culture isn't needed because the honey kills a wide variety of organisms including fungus and MRSA. It's also used to treat certain digestive problems. If you research it you'll be amazed. The honey is available in different strengths, with a number of ten or more, indicating activity level, recommended for wound healing. It is expensive, but we tied it. It seemed to help a little, but my son keeps licking it off as soon as it's applied. The recommmended method is to apply the honey to a sterile dressing and cover the wound; of course i can't do that on his lip. I finally thought of mixing the honey with a small amount of virgin coconut oil to make it stay on better, and rub it generously into the crack. We apply it several times a day. The crack is now fifty percent smaller after only a couple ofdays. We've never had even minor success with any other strategy.
We are so pleased with the results! We've been helped so much from the many posts here at earth clinic. For the first time, I feel I have some control with my son's issues, because of the success we've experienced with the rekmedies here. If one thing doesn't work, we study the various posts and tweek the treatment until something helps. We hope we can give back to the people from all over the world who share their remedies here, by sharing this information.
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Los Angeles, CA
[YEA] A little Mentholatum Ointment rubbed in the cracks that formed in the corner of my mouth gave me instant pain relief. By Day 2 the cracks were completely gone! This ointment can be found in any store that sells cold medicines.
I was in India recently and was told of this homemade Ayurvedic tip to prevent chapped lips. With winter coming around the corner, I thought it might come in handy for some EC readers: Gently massage one or two drops of mustard oil into your belly button at night, before going to sleep. In the morning, your lips will be soft. Continued use will also make your facial skin brighter. I tried to do some online research as to why this is effective but could not find any. Massaging oil in the belly button is not new to me though. I know of an Ayurvedic massage tip to help improve one's eyesight which says gently massaging sesame or coconut oil in a clockwise direction in the navel at night helps to mitigate any eye problems and to strengthen one's vision. I guess mustard oil works on the lips! Anyway, I will try it this winter. BTW, mustard oil, which is kind of strong smelling, is available in Indian grocery stores.
Replied by Akansha
[YEA] Reponse to Sandy regarding her peeling lips: I have had similar reactions after using lipstick from MAC a few years ago. However, I discovered after spending weeks trying to heal them that most lipsticks and even chapsticks, balms, etc. (even the natural ones) contain some type of alcohol! So the peeling cycle never ends. I believe this is a marketing scheme by the companies that manufacture the products. If your lips are dry you will continually apply the product -- very sneaky!! I suggest you only use 100% natural products like shea butter (my favorite, worked in 2 days after applying 2x a day). Coconut oil might also work. I have also used Vaseline but it didn't work as fast as the shea butter (which I bought very cheaply at iherb... make sure it's 100% shea). Hope this helps. Please give us an update!
[YEA] After trying numerous kinds of lipbalms and oils i realised that the only way to stop my lips chapping all year round 24/7 was to apply method and technique.
With 4 magical ingredients:
Using a clean toothbrush i do a gentle sugar and oil scrub on my lips morning AND night to brush away any dead skin cells and keep them at bay.
At night i swipe on some ACV from a cotton disc before applying oil again (this also removes dead skin while keeping lips plump, bacteria-free and nourished).
- If not too bothersome i would even advise re-applying ACV during the day before any balm (especially for those who get chapped lips despite adding balm like me!).
As for morning routine i brush my lips with vaseline before stepping out into winter weather (this protects them well - you can feel they become less sensitive to the cold).
My lips have always been extremely chapped and simple balms have never been enough for me. Things i have learnt which have allowed me to have beautifully smooth lips were,
1) the above
2) avoiding mouth area when washing face with cosmetic products however,
3) scrubbing lips with natural products on a daily (lips love exfoliation as does the skin on our face!)
(Please post question on site) I love your site and have been going to write for months now. I apologize for sending you all of this feedback and these questions at once, but today is the day that I have time. Does anyone out there have a cure for peeling lips? I have always been prone to chapped lips and living in Nevada doesn't help, but about a year and a half ago I tried one of those 8 hour, last all day lipsticks and had a reaction to it. My lips burned and hurt! The pain left eventually, but since then my bottom lip is in a constant state of peeling. It is getting better, but I am so tired of it. Please help me out. As a side note, I am now using all organic/natural cosmetics and beauty products with guidance from the Environmental Working Group site.
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bangkok, Thailand 388 Posts
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Boca Raton, Fl
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Edmond, Oklahoma, Usa