Some straightforward advice for those winter-chapped lips

Chapped lips


Split chapped lips that won’t heal. A downside of cold dry weather. I noticed on Facebook the other day that a friend had split her lower lip and was looking for some healing advice. I asked Dr. Martin Wesolowski, a family physician at Martin’s Point Health Care, for his expert opinion. Here’s what he had to say:

Dr. Marty WesolowskiGreat topic for this time of year. Chapped and eventually cracked lips come from being overly dry.

This is usually more of an issue in the winter because:

  • Cold winter air holds less moisture.
  • Forced air heating systems further decrease moisture content in the air.
  • Dehydration (any time of year) can dry skin and lips, leading to lip-smacking, which worsens the situation.
  • Spicy or acidic foods and chemical additives in some cosmetics can contribute as well.

The basics of treatment include:

  • Hydration
  • Humidifier use
  • Topical treatment

There are two parts to treating chapped or cracked lips:

  1. Use oil-based products (emollients) to heal your lips (Aquaphor or other thick balms for example).
  2. Use wax-based products to seal or protect your lips from the elements (beeswax products are commonly available).

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Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.