Chances are your Chapstick isn’t doing the trick.
The delicate skin on your lips is sensitive to everything from acidic food to irritants like toothpaste to your own saliva—so it’s no wonder harsh weather does a number on them.
“Lips don’t have oil glands, and the skin is very thin—so they are already more susceptible to drying than other parts of the skin,” says Sejal Shah, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City.
But before you reach for the Chapstick, you may want to think twice: Lip balm can actually make your lips more chapped. Added ingredients like salicylic acid (which acts as an exfoliant), fragrance, and menthol (which gives your pucker that fresh tingly feeling) can end up doing more chapping than soothing.
“Generally irritant ingredients are paired with hydrating ingredients, but sometimes it might not be enough to overcome the irritation,” says Shah. “If your lips feel dry even after applying and re-applying, it’s probably best to find a new lip balm.”
Luckily, there’s a whole host of simple DIY tricks for soothing that delicate skin you can try. Jessica Weiser, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City, recommends a gentle at-home exfoliator of brown sugar and water twice a week to smooth things out. Additionally, “applying simple petroleum jelly will replenish the lip surface and create a more effective barrier to protect lips from damage by environmental irritants like sun, wind, and cold,” she says.
You can also slather on some coconut oil (we like RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream, $18, rmsbeauty.com) or shea butter to soften and protect your pucker. Your lips will be in kissable shape in no time.