Reader Tina asks, “I feel like my Chapstick makes my lips drier. Am I nuts? What would be a better option for preventing and treating dry, cracked lips?
Dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett answers:
Chapstick can make the lips drier because it is quite waxy. The best way to treat lips that are burning, cracked, or bleeding, is to see your dermatologist as they can prescribe a proper steroid to decrease the dermatitis cheilitis [skin-speak for “dry lips”] within 36 hours. They can then get you on something better like a barrier cream to protect your lips and decrease water loss.
Is Vaseline adequate?
No, Vaseline isn’t as good. There are a number of barrier creams, and actually are more similar to hand creams. Some are glycerin-based, some are more waxy. These are not your regular hand creams; It has to be a “barrier cream”, so see a dermatologist for a personal recommendation because there are lots of factors that need to be considered such as what the patient is exposed to on a day-to-day basis (allergies, work environment) that can contribute to the dryness.