Why Are My Lips Always Dry and Peeling?

Having dry, chapped lips can cause your lips to peel and bleed, disrupting your daily comfort. Although certain levels of dryness are expected in the winter months, dry lips have many causes. Chalking up the cause of your issue and tackling it head-on is the best way to escape the horrors of dry lips.

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Lips?

Symptoms of dry lips can emerge as peeling, cracking, dryness, or redness. Dry and chapped lips can affect how your lips feel and can disrupt your day with added discomfort. Persistent dry lips can become a significant issue, affecting how your lips look and feel.

Why Do I Have Chapped Lips?

In most cases, chapped lips are a minor issue because the lips are naturally dry. The lips do not contain oil glands, making it difficult for them to retain moisture, produce natural moisture, and protect your lip’s outer layer of skin. 


The lips do not have a strong outer layer of skin. They have the thin stratum corneum, which is woven of fats, proteins, and dead skin cells. This small barrier helps to protect the lips when they are dry and offers slight protection from UV rays (SPF 5 levels of protection)


The lips are naturally more sensitive, and lip balm can efficiently address dryness or peeling.

Dry Lips Causes

Various factors affect the dryness of your lips. Learning about the cause of your dry lips can help you address the source of the issue.


Salty snacks and spicy foods can linger on the lips, causing the outer skin to dry out. Salt that collects on the lips can hold water, and remove moisture from the lips. Spicy food causes the skin on the lips to become inflamed and irritated and encourages water loss from the skin. 

Licking Your Lips

Saliva produced by the lips is meant to break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in the food you digest. When you lick your lips, this saliva encourages the breakdown of the skin on your lips because the skin is composed of fats and proteins.

Sun Burnt Lips

If you enjoy the sunshine without using an SPF lip balm, your lips are susceptible to peeling and burning. The sun naturally dries the skin, making already dry skin drier than usual. Sunburns can leave your lips inflamed and can encourage peeling as your skin cells try to replenish themselves.


Since the skin cells on the lips have a high turnover rate, dehydrated individuals are more likely to develop dry skin on their lips. Spending lots of time in the dry winter air can remove the natural moisture from your skin.

Dry Air

Whether seasonal changes occur or you are living in an area with naturally dry air and low humidity, your skin’s health can be affected. A reduction of moisture in the air can cause dry lips.


Many patients have noticed an increased dryness in their skin from the medications that they take. Accutane, chemotherapy drugs, antidepressants, antihistamines, antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, retinol, and salicylic acid are among the list of drugs that can affect your lip health.

Vitamin Deficiencies

Vitamin B deficiencies can leave you with dry, cracked, red lips. This deficiency leaves a telltale sign of a rash around the mouth. Vitamin B12 helps with the natural cell turnover of the lips and promotes healing. 


Vitamin C deficiency is another common cause of chapped lips. This condition is rare since most individuals consume enough vitamin C daily.

Too Much Lip Balm

Overapplying the wrong lip balm can only help your lips temporarily. Humectant-based lip balms formulated with hyaluronic acid or glycerin draw water out of the air and to your lips. When the moisture evaporates from the lips, they can feel even drier. Lip products with occlusive ingredients work best to seal the moisture onto the lips. These are commonly formulated with petrolatum, beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil, and squalene.

How to Help Reduce the Appearance of  Dry Lips

Eat a Clean Diet

Eating a healthy diet can ensure you get the vitamins and supplements required for healthy skin. Avoiding foods such as salty or spicy meals can also optimize the skin health of your lips.

Add Humidifier to Your Home

Planting a humidifier in the frequently used rooms in your home can help increase the amount of moisture in the air. A humidifier can relieve your symptoms by infusing your surroundings with more moisture.

Use Lip Balm with SPF

Applying an SPF lip balm can protect your lips from the sun's harmful UV rays while moisturizing them and helping against other environmental irritants. Lip balms with paraffin wax, ceramides, lanolin, shea butter, and vitamin E are the best for your lips.

Stop Licking Your Lips

Avoiding licking your lips can help them heal and relieve them from breaking down from your saliva.

Our Recommended Lip Moisturizing Products

Anti-Aging Lip Balm SPF15

This product comes in a tube or a pot for ease of use. This product protects the skin from the sun's harmful rays while adding moisture to the lips. Formulated with occlusive ingredients, this product locks moisture in place giving you lasting hydration.

Cinnamon Vanilla Brown Sugar Body Polish

Cinnamon Vanilla Brown Sugar Body Polish is an exfoliating scrub with humectant ingredients. This helps you rid the body of dead skin, allowing new healthy skin to emerge.

Pro-Collagen + Serum Amplifier

Pro-Collagen + Serum Amplifier help the skin appear moisturized and smooth. s. This product works best on dry, normal, and combination skin types.

Take Our Skin Quiz

To learn more about the products to soothe dry skin and lips, take our skin quiz today to discover what will work best for your needs!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are dry lips a symptom of anything? 

Dry lips can be a symptom of a vitamin B or C deficiency, allergies, lichen planus, or paraneoplastic pemphigus.

Why do my lips always peel even when I wear lip balm?

Over applying temporary hydrating lip balms can dry the lips out. Using a lip balm with an occlusive ingredient can help lock the moisture in place.

Why won’t my chapped lips heal?

If your chapped lips are having trouble healing, targeting other causes can help you find the root of your problem. Try eating a healthy diet and putting a humidifier in your home.



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