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Your Lips Need Skincare, Too: How to Treat Dry Lips This Winter

what causes dry lips

When you’re dealing with a serious case of dry, cracked lips, there’s a desperate sort of heightened urgency to locate lip balm pronto. Unfortunately,, it is often when your stash of balms in the car, junk drawer, and every purse or bag mysteriously disappear. In the midst of all that searching, the real question you should ask yourself is, “why are my lips so dry in the first place?”

A handful of factors are at the source of dry lips, and it’s more than just forgetting to swipe on a little lip treatment. We’re covering reasons why you might be dealing with constantly dry lips, what dry lips are a sign of, and how to help dry lips once and for all.

How to Get Rid of Dry Lips: A Step-By-Step Guide

Whether you’re wondering why your lips are dry all of a sudden or you’re trying to figure out how to cure dry lips that’ve been that chapped for weeks (ouch!), the treatment approach is the same. Our step-by-step guide on how to fix dry lips will help you find that much-needed relief—and keep dry lips under control.

1. Stop Licking Your Lips ASAP

The momentary relief that comes from licking your lips is tempting but try and remember that it will only worsen a case of dry lips in winter (and any other time of year, for that matter). It’s just moisture, so what gives? According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), your lips become drier as your saliva evaporates.[1]

2. Gently Exfoliate to Nix Flakes

Gente exfoliation can help if you have dry and flaky skin on your lips. There are a few techniques we like, including using a soft-bristle toothbrush, a clean washcloth, or a homemade sugar and honey/oil scrub. However, you shouldn’t exfoliate lips if they’re cracked, sensitive, or irritated. If that’s the case, skip to the next step.

3. Swipe on a High-Quality Lip Balm (Keyword: High Quality!)

Ever wondered why your lips are so dry even with lip balm? Or why some lip balms might even seem to worsen dry lips in winter? It’s because not all lip treatment products are created equally.

Use a product that includes both a humectant (to hydrate) such as hyaluronic acid, and an occlusive (to lock in moisture), such as nut or fruit butters, oils, and waxes. Reapply every two hours, and anytime you wash your face or go outside.

For example, ​​Je Ne Sais Quoi Hydrating Lip Balm Treatment features a formula with hyaluronic filling spheres, essential butters and oils, and antioxidants. Plus, it delivers a sheer wash of personalized color to your pucker via IT Cosmetics' proprietary Vitality Lip Flush Technology.

The AAD says to stop using any lip product that:

  • Irritates your lips
  • Makes lips feel tingly
  • Creates a burning sensation
  • Causes any discomfort
  • Worsens dry lips

4. Boost Moisture Overnight

To completely bid adieu to dry lips in the winter, treat your pucker to a luxurious overnight moisturizing session. Flood your lips with a major dose of hydration via the Je Ne Sais Quoi Lip Serum, then top with a thick lip balm or a small swipe of petroleum jelly. Catch your Zzz’s and all those “why do my lips feel dry?” woes will feel like a distant dream.

P.S. When applying your favorite moisturizer, make sure it reaches the skin around your lips, as well. Our lips don’t have oil-producing glands, which makes moisturizing vital in the fight against dry, chapped lips. Try Confidence in a Cream Anti-Aging Hydrating Moisturizer which has a formula that features a 2.5% peptide lipid complex that visibly improves elasticity, firmness, and hydration.

5. Meet Your Daily H2O Quota

Do whatever it takes to make sure you’re drinking enough water each day. Set an alarm on your phone, add “drink water!” to your to-do list, and get yourself a cute water bottle that gets you excited about H2O. When your body’s hydrated, your lips are more apt to feel plump and hydrated, too.

What Causes Dry Lips?

Before you run off to complete our handy step-by-step guide on what to do for dry lips in winter, take a peek at some common causes of excessively dry lips.

  • Your Environment: Cold temperatures, gusty winds, sun exposure, and dry indoor heating can all take a toll on your lips. Shield your lips with a lip balm and get yourself a humidifier.
  • Irritating Ingredients: Avoid applying anything to your lips that cause tingling, burning, irritation, peeling, or sensitivity. Some lip products contain ingredients that cause these reactions. If you love color on your lips but don’t want to deal with irritation, use products formulated with skin-loving ingredients, such as Pillow Lips Solid Serum Lip Gloss.
  • Skincare Routine: Certain skincare products—like acid treatments—can get onto your lips and create irritation so be mindful while applying. Also, cleansers that are overly drying can lead to chapped lips, too. You don’t need to overhaul your skincare routine but avoid lips when applying potentially irritating products and reach for a gentle facial cleanser.
  • Bad Habits: Licking, biting, and picking at your lips can cause peeling, irritation, and worsen chapping. Try setting your phone on time-lapse for 15 minutes and count how many times you do any of the above.

Follow our step-by-step guide and we promise there will be sweet relief from dry lips in your future. From lip balms to serums, check out these amazing lip care products your lips will love.


  1. “7 Dermatologists’ Tips for Healing Dry, Chapped Lips.” American Academy of Dermatology Association.
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