Dry lips can occur for many reasons, such as chilly weather, dehydration or allergies. Most of the time, a high-quality lip balm can fix the problem and add moisture to your lips. However, chapped lips don’t always have such a simple solution. Sometimes, medical conditions or vitamin deficiencies can cause dry lips, which require hydration or supplements to treat.

Most people think of dry lips as an annoying, yet tolerable issue. However, some people may feel pain or discomfort due to having chapped lips, depending on the severity. Luckily, plenty of remedies exist to treat dry lips and make them more kissable!

7 Common Reasons For Dry Lips

Below, we’ll delve deeper into the causes of dry lips, how to prevent them, and the importance of increasing hydration.


1.     Dehydration

Not drinking enough water causes dry lips more than anything else, believe it or not. Did you know that around half of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration? A survey by CDC revealed that 43% of Americans drink three cups of water or less per day. 7% reported drinking no water whatsoever, while 36% drank 1-3 cups daily.

However, experts commonly recommend drinking at least two or three liters per day to maintain adequate hydration. When you’re dehydrated, dry lips are often one of the first warning signs.

2.     Sunburns

Getting a sunburn can lead to dry lips for several reasons. For one, the sun’s powerful UV rays can easily damage the thin skin of the lips. The lips also have less melanin than other parts of the body. Additionally, most people forget to apply sunblock to their lips, increasing their chances of getting sunburned as the UV rays zap your lips of the protective hydration.

The lower lip is especially vulnerable since it receives more sun exposure than the upper lip. In fact, 90% of skin cancers develop on the lower lip.

3.     Cold or Hot, Dry Weather

Extremely frigid or oppressively hot weather can also result in dry lips. Wind and cold temperatures can suck the moisture out of the skin, including the lips. Also, hot, dry weather leads to a loss of moisture, which impacts every area of the body. Plus, we typically spend more time outdoors during the summer months, which increases the sunburn risk.

If you’ve ever traveled from a humid climate to an arid desert, you may have noticed your lips started peeling. This provides the perfect example of how weather impacts our bodies and may even cause dry lips.

4.     Licking Your Lips Too Often

If you have a habit of licking your lips frequently, you may want to stop since it causes dry lips. Licking your lips reduces the natural oils present in the lips, leading to dryness. Also, if you pick or bite pieces of peeling skin on the lips, it can make the problem worse. Since your lips have thin, delicate skin, licking or picking at them will only make them more chapped.

5.     Medical Conditions Such as Allergies

You might be surprised to learn that certain conditions like allergies or autoimmune diseases can cause dry lips. For instance, if you have an allergy to certain ingredients in cosmetics, toothpastes, or sunscreens, it could cause chapped lips. Known as allergic contact cheilitis, the condition can lead to symptoms such as itchy, inflamed, dry lips. It may also cause patches of scaly skin or rash on the lips.

Also, other medical conditions like lupus, Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, and Sjögren’s Syndrome, may present with dry lips.

dry lips

6.     Vitamin Deficiencies

Experts say that deficiencies in zinc and B vitamins can cause lips to peel and become dry. Since these nutrients are crucial in supporting healthy skin and nails, a deficiency can cause cracked lips. Iron also aids in oxygen transportation, so inadequate intake of this nutrient may affect the lips.

Finally, chapped lips could signal a thyroid disorder, which can also result from nutrient deficiencies.

7.     Reaction to a Medication

Lastly, the side effects of certain medications can make the lips appear dry. Medications and supplements are known to cause chapped lips to include Vitamin A, chemotherapy drugs, and lithium. Other medications may result in dry lips as well, so make sure to ask your doctor about potential side effects.

How to Make Your Lips More Kissable

Now that we’ve gone over a few reasons for dry lips, we’ll tell you how to prevent them. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends these tips:

  • Use high-quality, non-irritating lip balm or other lip cosmetics. If you feel a burning or tingling sensation after applying lip products, this means you may have an allergy to certain ingredients. Or, the ingredients may just irritate your skin. If you have chapped lips, avoid using products containing camphor, eucalyptus, fragrance or added flavoring. Opt for hemp seed oils, mineral oil, and shea butter
  • Apply a thick ointment like white petroleum jelly a few times a day to prevent dry lips.
  • Use a lip balm with at least SPF 30 before heading outside.
  • Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. To make it easier, carry a water bottle with you to work or school that you can refill often.
  • Avoid licking, picking, or biting at your lips. When saliva evaporates, it only dries out your lips even more.
  • Keep metal items away from your lips. Paperclips, jewelry, and other metal objects may cause dry lips for those with sensitive skin.
  • Use a humidifier. If you live in a dry area, add moisture to your home with a humidifier. This hydration will keep your skin, hair, and lips feeling more healthy and youthful!

dry lips

Final Thoughts on Causes of Dry Lips and How to Prevent It

Most of us have had dry lips at some point in life. While it’s an uncomfortable feeling, it usually passes by applying lip balm or drinking more water. Sometimes, consuming more foods with zinc or B vitamins will do the trick.

However, we can’t control every reason for having dry lips, such as dry weather or certain medical conditions. In those cases, it’s best to increase hydration and practice preventive measures or ask your doctor about proper treatment for the condition. Either way, dry lips don’t have to ruin your day, since you can take steps to avoid them in most instances.