How to care for dry lips in winter

Caring for Dry Lips


If you’ve ever experienced dry lips in winter, then you understand how frustrating it can be. But do you know the main causes of chapped lips, and why it’s so common during the colder months of the year? 

If you’re wondering how to get rid of chapped lips, the good news is that it’s easy to treat this condition at home. Using a hydrating lip balm can soon help chapped or cracked lips, improving the appearance while easing any discomfort you may be experiencing. 

This guide takes you through all you need to know about how to get rid of dry lips, so you can kiss this winter bugbear goodbye once and for all. We also share the top five lip treatment balms, as recommended by Secret Spa’s team of expert beauty therapists.

What causes dry, chapped lips?

So why do our lips get dry in winter? Dry, chapped lips often occur during winter as a result of the thin skin on this part of the face becoming dehydrated. The causes of cracked or dry lips may include cold or dry weather, licking your lips too often, sun exposure (for example, when skiing) or dehydration. 

This affects the lips largely because the skin here is thinner and more sensitive than elsewhere on the face. As the lips have no oil glands, they cannot readily replenish their own moisture supply. Those with dry skin can also be more likely to develop chapped lips. 

The lips are also exposed to the elements far more than much of your body. For this reason, they can easily become chapped, dry or even cracked due to dry or cold weather or following sun exposure. 

Sometimes dry lips can be the result of a medical condition, or may develop after contact with an allergen. The medical term for chapped lips is cheilitis. 

Anyone of any age can develop chapped lips, and children can be particularly susceptible as they tend to lick their lips more often than adults do. When this happens, ‘lip licker’s dermatitis’ may also develop as a rash around the mouth.

Chapped lips can be rather uncomfortable, as the lips will feel tight and dry. When the condition is severe and the lips have become cracked, a painful stinging reaction may occur when eating, particularly with acidic, salty or spicy foods. 

How to get rid of dry, chapped lips

First, let’s take a look at the symptoms of chapped lips, so you can be sure of treating the condition appropriately. Typical symptoms of dry, chapped lips include low level pain in the lips, or some may experience itching. The skin may also be dry, scaly, cracked or even peeling. In extreme cases, there may be sores present on the lips or inside the mouth. 

Although common causes of dry lips are sun exposure, cold or dry weather, dehydration and frequent lip licking, in some cases they can be caused by a medical condition. These can include an allergy, a thyroid or autoimmune disorder, or a deficiency of iron or vitamin B. If you have or suspect any of those, it’s best to consult your doctor for the most appropriate treatment.

Otherwise, treating dry lips at home is normally very straightforward. Simple measures include staying hydrated, avoiding licking or biting the lips and keeping items like pens well away from your mouth. 

You can also apply a good lip balm or ointment as required throughout the day. Don’t forget to use some after eating and drinking, as well as last thing at night so it can get to work while you sleep.

Best lip balms for dry lips in winter

To treat dry lips effectively at home, we advise selecting a lip balm that is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and moisturising. Finding a formula with built-in sun protection can also be a good idea. 

Ingredients that are best avoided may include fragrance or flavouring, as well as strong substances like camphor, menthol or eucalyptus that could irritate the delicate skin even more. If any lip balm stings, tingles or burns when you apply it, stop using immediately. 

For an effective treatment for chapped lips in winter, we recommend picking up one of the following highly effective formulas from Dermalogica, OSKIA, Jo Malone, NEOM or Hermès.

Jo Malone Vitamin E Lip Conditioner

This lip treatment formula from Jo Malone targets dry skin to smooth, soften and moisturise the area. Containing vitamin E and honey, this nourishing balm can also protect lips against further dryness. 

NEOM Great Day Wonder Balm

Made using ingredients that are 100% natural, NEOM’s Great Day Wonder Balm is packed with restorative antioxidants. These include olive, almond and sunflower oils, and shea butter to deliver a boost containing vitamin E and omega-6. 

Dermalogica Nightly Lip Treatment

This scientific lip formula may even help to give you plumper, younger-looking lips while nursing them back to full health. The anti-ageing balm hydrates, firms and restores thirsty skin while minimising the appearance of fine lines. Extracts of Indian gentian and sesame seed are paired with volumising technology to fight dryness and wrinkles.

Hermès Rouge Lip Care Balm

The Rouge Hermès lip products represent the big brand’s first major beauty venture. Their lip balm contains high concentrations of candelilla wax and beeswax to deliver smoothing and hydration. The rich, natural finish formula comes in a covetable and uber stylish lacquered metal case that is also refillable.

OSKIA Cupid’s Bow Lip Balm

This lightweight vegan lip balm provides a hint of colour and subtle shimmer while soothing and protecting the delicate skin of the area. Containing shea butter and avocado oil, this balm will make your lips look great while restoring them to their former plumped-up glory. 

To keep your skin in tip top condition all year round, treat yourself to a Secret Spa facial