Chapped lips, also known as cheilitis, can have many triggers, says Erum Ilyas, a dermatologist in Pennsylvania. "When you hear 'chapped lips' most people are thinking about cheilitis sicca," she says. "This is chapped lips as a result of excess dryness."
The skin on the lips is among the most sensitive areas on the body and the most exposed to the environment, explains Joshua Zeichner, dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. The lips do not have the same concentration of oil glands as regular skin and are constantly exposed to environmental factors, like lip licking, cosmetics, and cold weather. "All of these factors can dry out the skin barrier, leading to irritation, inflammation, and flaking," he says.
As the weather gets colder and drier, the thin skin on the lips tends to dry out faster than the rest of our skin. This can make the lips look cracked, flaky, and raw in some areas, which can be really uncomfortable, Ilyas explains. But the weather isn't always the cause of your parched lips. When there's irritation from a product or an allergy, called contact cheilitis, lips can also become inflamed. These allergic reactions are usually due to pigments in lipsticks, fragrances, and flavoring agents in foods. You can do patch-testing at your dermatologist's office to see if that's a cause.
But irritation could also be from your everyday skin-care products. "I find that when patients use acne products, they often inadvertently get some on their lips," says Ilyas. "These products are designed to exfoliate your skin to improve [breakouts]. If they get on your lips, you will find your lips are persistently dry and cracked." Apply white petrolatum or balm to your lips before applying products formulated with salicylic acid. "The balm acts as a protective barrier on your lips to avoid the irritation they can cause," she says.
And if you have a history of sun damage, your lips are probably taking the heat, too. "In adults with a lot of sun damage over the years, it's not uncommon to have patients come in concerned about 'chapped lips,' which may be in one spot or along the entire lower lip year-round," says Ilyas.
Unfortunately, this can be the sign of precancerous changes to the lips, called actinic cheilitis, she says, so you'll want to get this checked by a doctor, for sure. "This is important to consider as we need to treat the underlying sun damage to improve the texture and appearance of the lips," she says. It's often treated with cryotherapy, a topical chemotherapeutic agent, or photodynamic therapy.
In mild cases, the skin on the lips may be able to repair itself. However, in cases of significant irritation, the lips may need outside help to repair a damaged skin barrier, says Zeichner. A good rule of thumb is to keep lips moist throughout the day to prevent drying from occurring in the first place. Regularly applying lip balms containing ingredients like occlusive agents, such as Vaseline, or simply beeswax, or zonated oil, will help protect the lip skin and make them more effective.
The primary benefit of coconut ozonated oil is its moisturizing effects. This makes it ideal for chapped lips.
Your lips are particularly sensitive to moisture loss because the skin is thin, and they’re exposed to the elements more so than other parts of your skin.
In alternative medicine, coconut ozonated oil is a mainstay in burn treatment. This is due to its moisture, as well as its analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. These same effects can translate to benefits for chapped, cracked lips.
Coconut oznated oil is also considered an emollient. Emollients are non-cosmetic moisturizers that help keep the skin moist, and they’re primarily used to protect the skin. They trap moisture in your skin, so these tend to work best immediately after bathing. However, you can apply them throughout the day as needed, especially when considering your lips, which lose moisture more rapidly than the rest of the body.
Other benefits include the potential disinfecting and antimicrobial effects of coconut oznated oil. Such benefits may keep your lips germ-free, and subsequently help protect any cracked skin from becoming infected too. Furthermore, coconut oznated oil is an anti-inflammatory. This means it may reduce swelling.
Some people use coconut ozonated oil as a wrinkle treatment. When you use the oil for your lips, you may help your surrounding skin look smoother and more radiant.