Chapped lips are dry, itchy, irritating, and can be mildly painful. It’s a universal thing and everyone has dealt with it at some point in their lives. Many people begin to wonder, “How long does it take for chapped lips to heal?”.
Chapped lips can take anywhere from two weeks to three weeks to completely heal. Some home remedies and treatments can make the healing process faster. If three weeks have passed and your chapped lips haven’t shown any signs of healing yet, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. This can be due to a more serious underlying condition.
If you’re worried about how your chapped lips are looking, you can always consult with your medical provider. And there is absolutely no need to wait out the three weeks healing period.
In this article, we’ll go over what chapped lips are and what exactly causes them. Then we’ll go over, treatment, prevention, and healing time.
What are Chapped Lips?
Having dry, flaky, and chapped lips is a universal experience. Though they’re more likely to occur during winter or in places with usually dry climates, anyone can get them no matter the time of year, anywhere in the world.
Chapped lips result from dry, cracked, and inflamed skin on the lips.
The skin on the lips is much thinner than the rest of the face and body. Additionally, our lips don’t have sebaceous or oil glands, which is the skin’s main source of natural moisturizer. Without it, the lips tend to be dryer and more exposed to environmental elements.
This makes the lips much more delicate and prone to dryness, flaking, chapping, and inflammation.
Chapped lips are medically known as cheilitis and can happen to anyone, no matter the age and no matter the time of the year.
Chapped lips are generally nothing serious and should not be a cause of worry. But they are painful and uncomfortable. They can feel tight and dry. Some severe cases can cause a stinging sensation on the lips.
What are the Symptoms of Chapped Lips?
There are no tests needed to diagnose chapped lips. A visual examination should be enough to determine if one has chapped lips or not. Look out for these common symptoms:
- Flaking, peeling, or cracking
- Burning, tingling, or stinging
- Mild pain
What Causes Chapped Lips?
The winter and cold and dry climates are often seen as the cause of chapped and dry lips. While this is true, it’s not the only cause. Chapped lips may be due to any of the following:
- Harsh changes in weather conditions
Changes in weather conditions are the number one culprit for chapped lips.
Extreme temperatures like very cold winters or very hot summers contribute to the state of your lips. Dry winds can also suck out the moisture from your lips, leaving them dry.
Dry air, indoors and outdoors, can also cause chapped lips.
- Sun damage
Excessive sun damage can cause dry and chapped lips. As we grow older, when our skin becomes thinner and more prone to damage, the more susceptible the lips are to drying and cracking.
- Harsh skincare ingredients
When we apply skincare products to our faces, the same products often get swiped over our mouths and lips. Products with harsh ingredients like retinol, exfoliators, menthol, and alcohol can often dry the lips and cause them to crack.
- Licking, biting, or picking at the lips
Constantly licking your lips is often a habit done absent-mindedly. But did you know that this can actually contribute to excessive drying of the lips?
The saliva can disrupt the protective barrier over the lips, causing them to dry. And when you feel them starting to dry, you will lick them again in an attempt to moisturize them. This becomes a vicious cycle.
Also, pay attention if you’re often biting or picking at your lips as these can cause chapped lips as well.
If you don’t drink enough water, this can lead to dry and chapped lips. When your body is dehydrated, this also translates into how your skin and lips look. In this sense, keeping yourself hydrated is keeping your lips hydrated and helps in preventing chapped lips as well.
The lips can be dry and irritated from allergies to certain products like lipsticks, lip balms, skincare and cosmetics, fragrances, and food.
- Vitamin deficiency
Dry and chapped lips can sometimes indicate that there is a deficiency in Vitamin B12. In this case, a visit to your doctor should be made for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- Side effects of certain medications
Some medications and supplements can cause dry and chapped lips. Medications like lithium, which is commonly used for bipolar disorder, and some chemotherapy drugs are common culprits.
- Holding metal with your lips
Another common cause for chapped lips is holding metal items like paper clips and metal cutlery with your lips. This can irritate the already fragile and sensitive skin of your lips.
Are Chapped Lips Contagious?
No, chapped lips are not contagious and their symptoms cannot be passed on to somebody else.
How to Heal Chapped Lips
If you find yourself dealing with chapped lips, here’s what you can do to heal and treat them:
- Stop licking, biting, and picking at your lips
To help your lips heal faster and more efficiently, you need to resist the urge to lick, bite, and pick at your lips. Doing so will only worsen the symptoms so leave your lips alone as it heals.
- Invest in a non-irritating lip balm
Your number one solution to chapped lips is to invest in a non-irritating lip balm or ointment.
To ensure you have the right formula, some ingredients you need to avoid are:
- Salicylic acid
At the same time, look for these ingredients that can help heal your lips:
- White petroleum jelly
- Shea butter
- Mineral oil
- Castor seed oil
- Hemp seed oil
Keeping your eye out for these ingredients in other lip products you use will also be a big help.
- Exfoliate your lips
If your main concern is flaky lips, exfoliate your lips to slough off and remove dead skin cells. But remember, avoid this if you have deep cuts on your lips as this can only aggravate the condition.
- Keep yourself hydrated
Drinking enough water and keeping yourself hydrated will keep your skin and lips from drying out throughout the day.
- Try some home remedies
If you want to try the natural and organic route to heal your lips, some popular home remedies include coconut oil, almond oil, honey, shea butter, jojoba oil, and aloe vera gel.
You can also combine more than one natural ingredient and make your own homemade lip product. There are tons of DIY recipes available online.
- Use a humidifier at home
One major culprit for chapped lips is dry air. Try sleeping with a humidifier in your bedroom to bring some moisture into the air. This will help moisturize your lips so you don’t wake up with dry lips.
How to Prevent Chapped Lips
As with any skin or medical issue, prevention is still the best cure. Here’s what you can do to prevent chapped and cracked lips in the first place:
- Wear lip balm with SPF and sun protection before going outside.
- Regularly apply a moisturizing lip balm.
- Resist the urge to lick, bite, and pick at your lips.
- Don’t exfoliate the lips too much.
- Remove lip products gently.
- Use a humidifier indoors, especially when the air is dry.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Check your lip products and make sure they don’t contain irritating and drying ingredients.
- Stop holding metal items (paper clips, jewelry) with your lips.
How Long Does it Take for Chapped Lips to Heal?
Following our suggestions above, chapped lips take about two to three weak to heal completely.
But if you spot the signs and symptoms pretty early on and you get right into the treatment options, chapped lips heal even faster than this timeframe.
When Should You See a Dermatologist to Treat Chapped Lips?
When three weeks have passed and your chapped lips haven’t improved yet, it might be time to schedule an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.
If your lips don’t respond to these home remedies, it might be caused by something more serious like an allergic reaction, yeast infection, or an underlying medical condition.
A dermatologist will perform tests to diagnose you and prescribe the right treatment.
Dry, chapped lips are a universal thing. Everyone, no matter their age and where they live, find themselves dealing with it. Thus many people ask and wonder, “How long does it take for chapped lips to heal?”.
Chapped lips are dry, flaky, cracked, and often painful. They heal completely in about two to three weeks. And with the right home remedies, they can heal faster and more efficiently. If they don’t heal within a couple of weeks, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist as they can be a sign of something more serious.
And that has been our detailed guide on the query of how long it takes for chapped heal to heal. If you have more questions for us, hit us up right below!