It seems there’s no season that’s good for avoiding chapped lips. In the summer, they’re sun burned. In the winter, they’re wind-chilled and dry, and throughout fall and spring… well, let’s be real, we’re probably dehydrated.
Stocking up on lip balm seems like the easiest route to go when battling dry, cracked lips, but’s it’s not the only—or even most effective—remedy. Try one or all of these brilliant chapped lip cures instead.
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1. Before you wash your face, apply a balm to your lips. Your cleanser may actually be drying out your lips—both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide disrupt your pH balance and can cause chapping.
2. Use almond oil. The hypoallergenic moisturizer pops up in Kiehl’s Lip Blam #1, which also contains free radical-fighters vitamins A and E.
3. Turn on a humidifier at night—it helps keeps your lips (and skin) moisturized.
4. For chapped and sore lips, slice up a cucumber into thin pieces and leave them over lips for five minutes (try it while you’re watching TV). It helps rehydrates your lips and feels fantastic.
5. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. Use a lip exfoliator like ILIA Balmy Nights Lip Exfoliator, or make an at-home paste with sugar and honey. For very sensitive lips, use a clean, soft toothbrush and brush back and forth.
6. Don’t lick your lips. We lick our dry lips to add some moisture, but it actually dries them out even more. Your saliva contains acids that break down food, but they also irritate your lips. Plus, continuously licking will remove any natural oils you have on your lips.
7. Breathe through your nose. Something as little as breathing through your mouth can actually dry out your lips.
8. Got flaky lips? Resist the urge to pick at them. Instead, soften them with lip balm and exfoliate the flakes off.
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9. Use sunscreen to prevent burned, chapped lips. Already chapped? Skip the SPF so it doesn’t irritate the sensitive skin.
10. Another ingredient to look for: Shea butter, which nourishes and moisturizes. Try Eraclea Ever-moist Lip Balm, which gives lips a silky smooth finish and subtle shine.
11. Chapped lips will heal best when they’re moist, so stick to lip balms and skip lip waxes.
12. On the flip side, if your lips are looking good, use a beeswax when you’re going to be outside for a while (beeswax works as a barrier against dehydration). Try Burt’s Bees Beeswax lip balm—it seals in moisture and has a nice peppermint taste.
13. Stick to lipsticks with conditioners like vitamin E, macadamia oil, and shea butter.
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14. Take a pass on matte lip colors in favor of moisturizing lipsticks. If you must go matte (hey, it’s a hot trend this season!), apply a lip conditioner before. Our favorite—Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Lipsaver Treatment Primer with coconut oil.
15. Drink water. Hydrating from the inside will help keep your lips from getting dry.
16. Use a toothpaste that doesn’t contain synthetic flavors—they can cause an allergic reaction, making your lips flaky. A great one is Squigle, a paste that’s free of ingredients that can irritate your skin.
17. If your lips are chapped, take a pass on drinking orange juice, eating grapefruit, and putting any other citrus fruits near your lips—they can cause more dryness.
18. Rub on aloe vera. It helps relieve the pain and heals small cuts that occur when your lips are chapped or burned.
19. The oldest trick in the book—petroleum jelly. Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips Lip Balm is super moisturizing, plus it has a luxe rosy flavor we’re obsessed with.
20. Sometimes fragrances can cause allergic reactions. If you suspect your lips might be suffering because of a scented balm, stick to one without strong scents or flavors.
21. Say goodbye to those hot wings for a while, because yes, spicy foods can dry out your lips.
22. Ditto for salty treats. (Insert sad face.)
23. Wear a scarf over your mouth—wind is a biggie when it comes to chapping.
24. Suffering from really bad chapping? Look for a treatment with ceramides, which help to restore the skin barrier.
25. Nothing working? You may be suffering from an allergic reaction. See your dermatologist to be sure!
A version of this article was originally published in April 2016.