What are the Causes of Dry Lips? Know Its Treatments & Prevention

Written by - Reviewed by Consumer Health Digest Team

Published: Sep 17, 2013 | Last Updated: Oct 31, 2018

Dry Lips

What are Dry Lips?

Dry lips is a condition whereby the lip region becomes dehydrated causing severe discomfort and, if not treated, pain. Dry lips can lead up to other problems, such as chapped and cracked lips, lip sores etc.

What Are The Symptoms Of Dry Lips?

To check whether or not you have dry lips, answer to the following questions:

  • Do your lips look dry in appearance?
  • Do you feel discomfort whenever you stretch your lips to open your mouth?
  • Do you feel irritation on your lips when they are in a stationary position?
  • Do you have patches of skin on your lips which can easily be peeled off?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then you may have dry lips.

What Are The Causes of Dry Lips?

Causes of Dry Lips

There is no ultimate cause of dry lips. However one thing is absolutely clear; lips need moisture, and when they lose their moisture, which can happen easily, they will become dry. Why they lose moisture is for a number of reasons namely:


Diet is perhaps the most important factor to prevent any disease or infection. A healthy person has a strong immunity and can repel most diseases and recover quickly from most infections. If your diet lacks vitamin C, vitamin B2, calcium deficiency and water, then you are a prime candidate for dry lips


Over 55% of people in the world have the tendency to lick or bite their lips whenever they are working, or watching a movie, or simply hungry. This licking and biting is also the most common cause of dry lips, because it eradicates that essential layer of oil from your lips that is needed to keep them moisturized

Cold Weather

Lips can go dry in cold weather due to loss of moisture in the atmosphere; it is one of the major causes of dry lips

Environmental Factors

Some environments are very dry, such as deserts and generally cold areas. These can very easily cause the lips to go dry within seconds

Medical Conditions

Sometimes, medical conditions and the medication being used to treat them can cause lips to go dry because they dehydrate the body

Interactions and Allergies

Particular drinks, such as sodas can also cause allergies around the lips and cause them to go dry. Spicy food can also cause dry lips; you can also be allergic to certain ingredients in your lipstick and toothpaste.

You can also get dry lips due to contact with other objects, such as holding paper clips in your mouth, licking envelopes or kissing someone with a lipstick that contains an ingredient you are allergic to

Strong sun with High Ultraviolet Light Levels

Some places have high UV rays piercing through the earth’s atmosphere towards our face. Lips are very delicate and soft, and they cannot tolerate high levels of UV exposure. People who are exposed to sun for longer periods of time usually get dry lips, the UV rays not only take away your moisture, but also can cause early wrinkles and signs of aging round your lips

Strong Winds

Strong and dusty winds can cause the lips to go dry

Air with a Low Humidity

With low humidity comes low moisture, and low moisture in the air can lead to dry lips

What can you do about your dry lips?

You can treat dry lips by using a number of methods; however, preventing dry lips from happening is the way to go. But if you do get dry lips and simple lip balm or Vaseline can’t cure them then treatment becomes necessary and it must be done quickly to avoid causing an infection.

Tips to Prevent Dry Lips

Prevent Dry Lips

To prevent dry lips, you may:

Stay Hydrated

Water is essential for your body to work properly, and it also is the key to keeping your lips moist and luscious

Apply a Coat of Almond Oil When in Dry Climate

Your lips have a thin layer of oil, which is not enough to combat the toughest of climates; hence an artificially applied layer of Almond oil is the way to go to give the lips that extra layer of protection

How to Combat Dry Lips?

Combat Dry Lips


When already dry, try applying olive oil on the lips. Olive oil has a special moisturizing ability that helps in bringing back moisture to your lips. It will also prevent your lips from enduring any further damage from winds and dry weather


Apply lip balm on your lips frequently throughout the day whenever you get time. This will soothe away the pain that dry lips are sometimes accompanied with

Stay Hydrated

Your body gets its moisture from the water you drink, so it is only fair that your lips do the same. Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day to ensure moisture reaches your lips. If you workout, then drink 12 glasses of water every day because you need more to cover up for all the lost moisture during your workout

Take Your Vitamins

Eating healthy, like fruits and vegetables, can help you resolve and prevent dry lips because fresh produce contains all the essential vitamins, which your body requires to ensure that moisture reaches all parts of your body adequately, including your lips

Don’t Lick Your Lips

Licking your lips will cause the essential layer of oil from your lips to wash away, giving way to all the moisture that was locked in by that layer of oil to evaporate in the air


Take a toothbrush, apply lip balm on it and rub it softly on your lips in a motion, which is circular, to rub of dead skin cells from your lips. Do this for 2 minutes. Apply lip balm after brushing your lips

Avoid allergens

Allergens require an increased water intake, which most people ignore to take, so it’s best to avoid them while you have dry lips

Wear Lipstick

Lipstick will also protect your lips from all the harmful effects of air to ensure moisture stays locked in and heals the dry damaged lips. But, for this you need to have a lipstick of good quality that has all the necessary ingredients, such as sun block for your lips

Dry Lips Treatment

Dry lips can be treated by following any or all of the above mentioned ways and methods. There are also medical creams available, which you can get for your dry lips, but it is best to stick to natural ways. However, if you do want to go for a cream then always get the one with natural ingredients in it.


To prevent lips from going dry, keep yourself hydrated, apply lip balm regularly, and avoid eatables that may dry up skin, such as spicy foods. This will give you healthier and plumper lips.


Lips are one of the most prominent features of your face. Therefore, it is essential that we keep your lips from going dry or treat them as quickly as possible. By drinking enough water, eating healthy food, and avoiding bad habits, such as licking your lips, you can ensure that you always have supple, healthy lips.

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