What Causes Dry & Chapped Lips

Cracked and Dry Lips Causes

Everyone can get chapped lips, especially those who generally experience dry skin. Here are the main reasons why you may have chapped lips.


Chapped lips are dry, cracked and peeling lips, which may cause irritated skin that is itchy and red. Your lips are more prone to drying out than any other part of your body. This is because of two reasons.

1. The skin protecting our lips is much thinner than anywhere else.
2. Lips do not have pores, meaning no sweat or oil glands are available to keep them hydrated.

If you’re anything like us, you’re probably not a fan. They might be dry and itchy, or they may even start cracking and peeling. Whatever the case, they’re never a fun thing to deal with. That’s why your lips need a little extra TLC to keep them looking and feeling gorgeous!


We've compiled a list of some of the main causes of dry and chapped lips.
Lip Care in the cold

1. Weather

You probably notice that your lips become drier over winter. Cool weather, as well as the wind and cold air that comes with it, can inflict some fairly heavy damage to your lips. In summer, the sun’s UV rays can do the same thing. Applying a moisturising balm gives your lips a protective seal from the elements, while a balm with SPF offers an extra layer of defense when you’re out in the sun. That sounds pretty good to us!
Nivea Blackberry Shine

2. Dehydration

Dry lips can be a tell-tale sign that your body isn’t getting enough water. Dehydration can wreak havoc on your skin, especially your delicate lips, as it upsets your body’s natural balance of minerals. Drinking eight or so glasses of water per day is one of the best ways of preventing dehydration, but eating water-rich fresh fruit and veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, melons, berries and oranges can help too. Plus, these foods are rich in vitamins and minerals that nourish the skin – bonus!
Nivea Soft Rose

3. Lip Licking

While licking your lips might seem like an easy quick fix, it can actually make your lips even drier over time. When you lick your lips, it coats them in a layer of saliva. This can damage your lips in a couple of ways. Firstly, the saliva evaporates, taking the natural moisture from your lips with it. Secondly, saliva is a natural enzyme that breaks down foods – so too much of it can cause the skin on your lips to weaken and crack. Ouch!
Cracked Lips

4. Infections

Licking your lips too much can also cause excess saliva to build up and gather in the corners of your mouth. This creates a nice, warm environment for fungal infections to grow, which only makes dry lips worse. The icky pain and cracking that can come about as a result of a fungal infection is known as cheilitis, but it can be prevented with a good moisture-rich lip balm (phew).
Lip Care Smile

5. Allergies

Some ingredients in everyday items like toothpaste and lipstick can cause chapped lips, as can certain foods and ingredients, such as food colouring. If you suspect one of these might be the cause, try and eliminate it for a while to see if it makes a difference.
Nivea Blackberry shine lip care

6. Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamins like B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B6 are some of the best things for keeping your lips soft and smooth. Dry lips can be due to a lack of these vitamins, so you could try squeezing more of them into your diet. Beef, milk, nuts and oats are good sources of B1, while green vegetables, meat, fish and dairy contain B2. You’ll find B6 in pork, chicken, fish and wholegrain cereals.

Here's what the experts have to say

Skin Expert Robyn Hutch sat down with Ailen and Rachel to talk all things lips – specifically, what causes them to become dry and chapped and how they can be brought back to being soft and smooth.

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