Find out what causes chapped lips, how to get rid of them and explore the best lip balms for preventing dry lips, creating soft kiss-able lips.

What causes dry lips?

Dry, chapped lips can be very uncomfortable, so it’s important to know what the main causes are to help you prevent them.

Along with our fingertips, our lips have the most sensory cells and are therefore our most sensitive connection to the outside world. The skin on our lips is so soft and thin that the blood vessels can be seen through it, this is what gives our lips their red colour. Our lips don’t have any sebum or sweat glands, which are responsible for supplying our skin with oil and moisture. The corneal layer, which protects our skin from harmful environmental influences, is very thin on our lips.   

Main causes for dry lips:

  1. Cold: the most common cause of dry lips is the rapid change between hot and cold. That’s why we have chapped lips especially in winter.
  2. Incorrect care: only in very rare cases are the ingredients of conventional moisturisers suitable for the soft and sensitive skin on our lips.
  3. UV-radiation: as lips have almost no pigments, they need to be well protected from exposure to sunlight.
  4. Stress: long days at work, along with mental stress, have a negative effect on the condition of our skin, with our lips being no exception.
  5. Dehydration: not drinking enough water can dehydrate you, leading you to have sore lips which are cracked.
  6. Be careful of what you consume: drinking too much alcohol, smoking, eating very spicy or acidic food can all make your lips more dry.
Making small changes to your lifestyle can really make a difference in the health of your lips and after seeing the results, you’ll never want to go back!

How to prevent chapped lips

There is nothing worse than having cracked lips that feel sore and dry. There are many steps you can take to prevent dry and chapped lips occurring in the first place.

Here are our top tips for beautiful soft lips

Your lips cannot produce any moisture for themselves. That’s why they need plenty of care. 

  • Exfoliate: Make sure to remove excess skin cells, massage your lips twice a week with a soft toothbrush and lukewarm water or you can use a special lip scrub.
  • Don’t lick your lips: Licking your lips regularly causes evaporation pulling the moisture away from your lips, further dehydrating them.
  • Find the best lip balm for dry lips: Be careful when choosing a lip balm, the oil content should be very high, and it mustn’t contain too much water. This is because if the water evaporates from the lips, they’ll dry out even more
  • Make sure you drink at least 2 litres of water a day and you get your 5 a day!
  • Use SPF: Use a lip product with SPF in to protect your lips from the damaging rays of the sun.
  • Use a humidifier: this will keep the moisture levels up in the room.
  • Avoid food that is too salty or spicy. Crisps and snack foods unnecessarily dry out the lips.

Say goodbye to chapped lips: Great treatments and remedies

There are lots of ways you can treat sore and chapped lips using just what you’ve got at home.

Home remedies and the best ingredients for dry lips


Honey has wonderful moisturising and antibacterial properties. Honey can help to repair chapped lips when applied directly to the lip area several times a day.

Home remedies and the best ingredients for dry lips

Shea butter

Shea butter contains Vitamins A and E, which are both perfect for soothing and moisturising chapped lips.

Home remedies and the best ingredients for dry lips


Cucumber is a very simple and natural remedy for dry lips that you’re bound to already have at home. Try gently rubbing a small slice of cucumber over your lips and leave its juice on for 15 minutes or so before washing off. This will make your lips feel much smoother.

Don’t let chapped lips stop you from kissing

Having a good lip care routine and making use of home remedies should keep chapped lips away so that you can enjoy kissing your partner with your smooth lips whenever you please – kiss away!

Know when to seek medical help

If your chapped lips are particularly persistent or painful despite having good lip care, it’s best to see your GP immediately. Severe chapped lips could be an indication of other medical issues and it’s always better to get it checked out early.

Lip Balm

How does lip balm work?

Lip balms contain oils and moisturisers that soothe dry and cracked lips. They form a barrier on the skin’s surface, locking in moisture and keeping lips from cracking as well as preventing other harmful substances or environmental stresses affecting the skin below. When you seem to have cracked lips that won't heal Lip Balm helps create an extra protective, moisture locked layer to speed up healing.

Applying NIVEA Lip Care products can halt and slow the drying process. Preventing chapped lips and applying NIVEA lip balms is an essential part of a healthy daily lip care routine. Read our winter skincare guide for more tips on cold weather skin care.

A stubborn myth: lip balm is addictive!

The rumour has been around for a long time that once you start caring for your lips, soon you won’t be able to stop. People believe that instead of protecting your lips from drying out, such products only make things worse. Wrong! In reality, it’s more of a familiarisation effect: if you use lip balm regularly, you’ll get used to the soft feeling that it leaves on your lips. Without the fatty layer and the protection, your lips will feel dry and tight. That’s not necessarily the case, but nevertheless you'll want to use lip balm again.

Seductive lips

Colour for your lips

Got a date or a night with the girls? Lipstick is sure to catch the eye! To ensure your lips not only look great, but also make it through the evening feeling nourished, it’s important to bear in mind a few things: always moisturise your lips with lip balm before applying lipstick, to prevent them from drying out. Once home again, it’s essential to remove your lipstick.

Long-lasting lipsticks in particular can only be tackled with a very oily cleansing lotion or cream – apply generously and then remove the lipstick with a cotton pad. To ensure you wake up with delicately soft lips the next morning, never forget to moisturise your lips before going to sleep.

If lipsticks aren't your thing but you still want a flash of colour, check out NIVEA's Crayon lip care range, which gives you intense colour with long lasting moisture!