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Chapped and dry lips can be painful, I know. Thankfully, there are a few natural remedies that will help you soothe your chapped lips, and are probably hiding in your kitchen cabinet already.

The cold winter weather, the razor-sharp wind, and even lip balm addiction, are among the problems that cause sore, dry, and chapped lips. Additionally, lips that are covered by an already thin layer of stratum corneum that have poor skin barrier function and low moisture capacity become even thinner as we age [1]. We’ve come up with a few very simple and natural remedies that might soothe your dry and chapped lips, and are probably hiding in your kitchen cabinet already.  

Honey

Ancient Egyptians and Greeks knew better. Not only did they use honey for wound care, all over the world unprocessed honey has been known to contribute to the healing of a broad spectrum of wounds, and even fights the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)  [2]  The secret of its healing property is hidden behind the fact that honey contains powerful antibacterial properties. Honey is effective in maintaining a moist wound condition, and due to its high stickiness and thickness honey is known to maintain a protective obstacle in infections. Additionally, its immunomodulatory property is relevant to wound repair too. [3] This makes natural and unprocessed honey the number one choice of natural lip balm with antibacterial properties — a perfect choice to help you soothe sore, dry and chapped lips.

Aloe Vera

A large review of more than forty studies outlined the results of aloe vera usage for dermatological purposes. Studies prove this powerful plant is an excellent anti-microbial and antifungal agent effective in treating genital herpes, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, frostbite, burns, wound healing and inflammation.[4] Aloe vera gel is popular in the cosmetic industry as a skin moisturizer – through its humectant mechanism, aloe gel improves skin hydration and is particularly effective in treating dry skin.[5] Aloe vera gel is considered safe if applied topically to chapped lips, and only a few allergic reactions have been reported.[6]

If you are harvesting the Aloe gel yourself, you’ll get the good stuff at its freshest and most effective. Use the oldest and the largest leaves, because they contain a thick, nutrient-rich gel layer. You could simply squeeze the gel from aloe vera leaf and apply it to your lips several times a day, or you could transfer the Aloe gel to a storage container, either a glass or plastic dish, just make sure it has a lid. Homemade aloe gel will last for about a week in the refrigerator, or a minimum of three months if you store it in a freezer.

Shea Butter

Shea butter's skin healing properties have been recognized for thousands of years. Cleopatra didn’t need studies to prove the benefits of this miraculous nut. Her Egypt spoke of caravans bearing clay jars of valuable shea butter for cosmetic use.[7] However, recent studies have proved that shea butter contains anti-inflammatory properties [8] and supplements collagen production with anti-aging effects [9]. An additional advantage of shea butter is that, similar to coconut butter, shea butter is solid at room temperature, but it melts at body temperature. This makes both shea and coconut butter a perfect natural emollient and skin moisturizer.

Unrefined shea butter has a very nutty scent and some might call it strong and even unpleasant. If you belong to that group of people, applying raw shea butter to your dry and chapped lips probably won’t be your cup of tea. One option would obviously be to avoid the quick homemade shea butter balm and choose another option, or you could give it a try and exploit those skin care healing properties by mixing equal amounts of shea butter and coconut butter.  

Coconut oil

A study that was conducted more than a decade ago has proved that virgin coconut oil is an effective and safe treatment in a common skin condition xerosis. Xerosis signalizes a defect in skin barrier function and is typically described by patients as very dry, rough, scaly and even itchy skin [10], a condition that can be easily associated with dry and chapped lips. In this study coconut oil showed to have antiseptic effects. Coconut oil proved once more to be an effective and safe as mineral oil when used as a moisturizer. As mentioned above, coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but when applied to the body, it melts, making it a perfect choice for a natural skin moisturizer.  

Do you need to scrub dry and chapped lips?

Dermatologists claim exfoliation can improve your skin’s appearance and make topical treatments more effective. However not every single type of scrub may work for every skin type, and some exfoliation treatments may actually make some people’s skin worse [11]. This is particularly true since the skin you’re trying to exfoliate is already damaged, chapped and dried out. If you do however decide to apply natural scrub agent on your lips, make sure to choose a gentle scrub and combine it with the healing properties of either honey, aloe gel, shea butter or coconut butter. Massage the scrub on your lips slowly in circular motion and with your fingers. If you at any point feel pain or a burning feeling, simply remove the scrub with warm water. Various sources suggest sugar or salt as exfoliating agents, however the uneven and jagged edges of crystals might additionally tear your skin. If you still think sugar or salt are the road you should follow, please opt for powdered versions.

Oatmeal and jojoba meal [12] were found to have a mild and gentle exfoliation effect which benefited sensitive and dry skin. Again, mix them thoroughly and you will avoid doing more harm than good by additionally tearing your already dried and chapped lips.

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