3 Easy Steps to Smoothing Flaky Lips

3 Easy Steps to Smoothing Flaky Lips

Pamper and protect your puckers with these simple tips for a supple pout all winter long.


By: Christine Mikesell

If you suffer regularly from dry and flaky lips, they are probably at their worst during the dead of winter. The skin on your lips is extremely delicate and more prone to dehydration than the rest of your face. This is particularly true when your pout is exposed to winter elements such as cold and dry air. Saliva and even a high fever can also cause irritation. Less commonly, your lips can chap as a reaction to medications like retinoids and antibiotics.

You know what it looks like: dry and scaly lips with ugly cracks and maybe even redness and swelling. But what does "chapped" really mean? Your lips have lost their ability to retain moisture, and cell turnover has slowed down — meaning new skin is replacing the old at a much slower rate than normal.

So how best to soothe and heal dry, flaky lips? Especially when they’re being exposed on a daily basis to the moisture-zapping reality of wintertime? Work these three essential tips into your routine.

1. Nix Your Bad Habits
That means staying away from cold, dry air as much as possible — and no more licking your lips! It may feel like a quick relief when you lick your chapped lips, but saliva actually breaks down any moisture-sealing protection that your lips have naturally.

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It can also be tempting to pick or peel off any flaky areas, but save that for a good sugar-scrub exfoliation (which you’d use after your lips are healed). Since your lip skin is already uneven and irritated, picking can lead to open wounds, infections and slower healing — not cute.

2. Restore Moisture
To help heal severely chapped lips as quickly as possible, concentrate on restoring moisture to the lips. When choosing a lip balm or salve, look for emollient ingredients such as lanolin, squalene or other natural oils. These ingredients help replace the natural hydrating factors that your lips may have lost. A humectant such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin can help pull moisture into the lips from surrounding tissues or the environment.

3. Seal and Protect
Covering your lips daily with a thick salve such as petroleum jelly or beeswax will help to protect lips. Just be sure to avoid ingredients that could be potentially irritating, such as menthol and camphor.

Keeping your lips protected at all times will help prevent and heal any potential issues. Once your lips have been soothed and smoothed significantly, choose a regular lip balm and be sure to use it every day! Don’t worry about your lips becoming “dependent” on the balm either — that’s just a rumor. Swipe away every day!

Do you have any daily lipwear habits? Share them with us in the comments!



Christine is a physician, new mommy and founder of 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic — so she really needs her routine to be fast and easy. A lifelong beauty junkie, she especially loves knowing how and why her products work.

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Fantastic, I have the worse problems with dry, cracked and flakky lips:-( thank you sincerely

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