Diane is a part-time article writer. Retired but still enjoying writing, she writes on various subjects from her home in Spain.
Having recently suffered from dry, chapped lips, (something I have never had problems with before) I decided to do some research to find natural remedies for this problem.
I found that for the problems with chapped lips, natural remedies for dry lips were more soothing than over-the-counter, petroleum-based solutions. I was very impressed with a lot of the suggestions I found, so I thought I would pass on this information.
I had been recommended a lip balm with cocoa butter, which certainly made my lips feel better, but didn't last long. I found I was using it frequently, and getting through one stick every week. Natural remedies proved more fast-acting and longer-lasting.
What Causes Dry Lips?
Let's start by asking the question "What causes chapped lips?"
There are several answers, including:
- Constant exposure to wind, sun, cold air, or very dry air
- Breathing through an open mouth
- Repeated licking of lips
- Allergy to cosmetics, or cosmetics containing irritants
A good lip balm or cream is a good idea to protect your lips, but I found it was not so good a solution once the lips were already dry and chapped.
Your natural reaction may be to lick your dry lips, but this only aggravates the situation. Saliva will evaporate very quickly, leaving the lips drier than before. If you are a habitual lip licker, do not use flavoured lip balm, which will tempt you to lick more.
- Bad diet, iron deficiency, and dehydration, as well as reaction to some medication, which I found to be the cause in my case, can be culprits.
- Dehydration. Drink plenty of water. Keeping your body hydrated will help to keep your lips hydrated.
- Lips naturally have a thin oily film on their surface to protect them, but too much licking or exposure to the elements can remove this protection, and cause the problem of chapped lips.
- If the cause is medication, ask your doctor about switching medication. Otherwise, you can counteract the drying effects with some of the following natural remedies.
Simple, Natural Solutions for Dry Lips
A poor diet or nutrient deficiency is correctable with small lifestyle changes here and there. The following methods could help your dry lips!
Vitamin A for Healthy Skin
Vitamin A is very important to skin growth and repair. This vitamin is found in carrots, tomatoes and green, leafy vegetables (especially spinach and watercress). You can also take a vitamin A supplement from your health store.
Other aids to healthy skin are nutritional yeast, whole grains, and pulses (chickpeas, lentils, etc).
Lips have very thin skin, showing the blood vessels below, which is what makes the lips appear red.
Chapped and cracked lips may also be lacking in vitamins C and B complex. A lack of riboflavin can cause the recurrence of this problem.
Vitamin E to Help Essential Fatty-Acid Absorption
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that will help protect the essential fatty acids and help to prevent dryness and cracking in lips.
Flaxseed contains these essential fatty acids for the nourishment of lip skin, so flaxseed oil is very helpful.
Vitamin E gel capsules can be taken as a supplement.
Olive Oil for Moisture
Olive oil can be used directly on the lips like a balm, moisturising and protecting the lips, and can also be drunk; a teaspoonful neat, or taken in water will nourish the system from the inside.
Goose Fat Isn't Just an Old Wives Tale
Goose or duck fat is a very old home remedy for chapped lips, grandmothers would swear by it!
Make Your Own Balm With Honey
Honey is another natural ingredient to help moisturise your lips. You can make a very good remedy by mixing honey with castor oil or aloe vera gel, spread it on to a very thin slice of peeled cucumber, and lay this on your lip. If possible leave overnight.
Avocado for Omega 3s
Avocado is another moisturiser. When ripe and soft it can be spread easily onto your lips, not only moisturising but providing vitamins and nutrients as well as oils to keep your lips healthy.
Castor for Rehydration
Castor oil is a natural lip balm that will work a lot better than any Chapstick you can buy. Obtainable in small squeezy bottles. Carry some with you all the time, and apply with your finger to your lips as often as necessary.
A Balanced Diet
A good plan is to choose only edible products. In other words, if you cannot eat it, it's potentially not good for your lips or your skin!
Make sure your diet contains plenty of vitamin-rich foods like brown rice and bread, red meat, eggs (particularly the yolk) whole-grain cereals and leafy green vegetables.
Lips behave like sponges; when moisturised, they absorb moisture and appear plump. When dehydrated, or deprived of moisture, they will dry up and appear to shrink. Look for a lip balm that contains cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut or almond oil, jojoba, beeswax, aloe vera, vitamin E.
If you're not going out anywhere and don't need an immediate solution, try to not put anything on your lips. Try especially to avoid licking your lips, and drink plenty of water and fluids. If you can forget about your lips for 48 hours, they will rehydrate themselves, provided you drink enough water. But licking your lips or constantly aggravating them will make things worse. If you can't stop licking, use the thin cucumber slice with honey, cover your lips with this and then leave them alone.
Some sources say vaseline or petroleum jelly is good on the lips. Other sources say anything petroleum-based is very bad for the lips. I think you should use what works best for you, but I always lean natural.
Dry Lips: a Symptom?
Dry, cracked and peeling lips can be a symptom of anemia or iron deficiency. Iron supplements and B complex vitamins will help with this. Consult your doctor to be sure in this case, as it is possible to take too much iron if you don't really need it.
When your lips or mouth are very dry, this can lead to angular cheilitis or perlèche. This appears at the corners of the mouth, which will appear red and sore and can often crack and split. These splits will often bleed when you open your mouth, and can even cause ulcers and scabs to form. The onset of angular cheilitis is linked to riboflavin, zinc, or iron deficiency, usually due to malnutrition or a bad diet. If this condition lasts longer than 48 hours, you should see a doctor.
There are medicines and pharmaceutical aids for dry and chapped lips, but I prefer natural remedies. Particularly as my own case was caused by the medication I was taking!
I truly believe that for these small, everyday ailments, Mother Nature's pharmacy is the best place to look!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
dianew (author) from Spain on November 12, 2019:
Thanks Thelma Alberts, for reading and taking time to comment. I hope you find something that works for you
Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on November 11, 2019:
I am having chapped lips these few days and I am searching a remedy. Thank you for sharing this very informative hub. I will try some of what you wrote.
noveliza medio on December 11, 2016:
thank u for sharing this i hope that it will work .
Darence on January 09, 2015:
Deep thought! Thanks for cotutibrning.
dianew (author) from Spain on April 17, 2013:
thank you for the comment frogyfish. I will peruse your own hubs and reciprocate.
frogyfish from Central United States of America on April 16, 2013:
You gave some very good natural tips in your hub...I have used both the coconut oil and castor oil...which I agree the castor is a better healer as the coconut seems to 'leave' too quickly. I do like Burts Bees lip balm for lip use too. Very interesting and helpful information! Thank you.
dianew (author) from Spain on January 07, 2012:
Thank you for the comment Patsyann and I hope you find a solution. Would have replied sooner but was away. Good luck!
Patsyann on December 23, 2011:
I have read your comments regarding cucumber and aloe vera and I am putting it to the test today. Have dry lips following tooth extraction 6 weeks ago. Tried everything Boots and Holland and Barrett sell without any joy. Really desperate. I am hoping for miracle. It's Christmas Eve tomorrow and today I am dreading the thought of it.
Fluffy on November 23, 2010:
Thx have been in agony with my lips
dianew (author) from Spain on August 22, 2010:
Thank you PaperNotes
PaperNotes on August 22, 2010:
Thanks for these information about dry and chapped lips. Your hub is very interesting.