The best treatments for dry or chapped lips are to protect them with lip balm, drink plenty of water, use a humidifier indoors and refrain from picking at the lips, according to WebMD. If the problem persists or worsens, it may be necessary to see a dermatologist for treatment.
Chapping that doesn't heal despite treatment can be a sign of a more serious condition such as an infection, a precancerous condition or cancer, WebMD states. Some ingredients such as menthol, camphor and eucalyptus can actually cause the lips to dry more and should not be used. It's also important not to exfoliate lips that are already dry or chapped, as this can worsen the problem. Peeling or biting at dry or chapped lips can hinder healing.
Drinking water is important because chapped lips can be caused by dehydration, explains WebMD. Those with dry, chapped lips should refrain from licking the lips, as drying saliva takes more moisture from the skin. It helps to apply six to eight coats of lip balm per day to treat and prevent dry lips. People who wear lipstick or lip gloss should apply lip balm before other lip products. Lip balms that contain petrolatum based products or dimethicone are best for sealing cracks and splits in dry lips.