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Sore or dry lips
View original article on NHS Choices
Find out how to look after your lips when they're exposed to the sun, wind and cold. Applying a lip balm that contains petroleum or beeswax will help treat and prevent dry lips.
Dry or sore lips are a common problem, especially during hot or cold weather. There are things you can try yourself that may help.
Things you can try yourself
- use a lip balm containing petroleum jelly or beeswax – you can buy these at a pharmacy or supermarket
- try a few different lip balms if one isn't working for you – some people may be sensitive to some fragrances or ingredients
- wash your hands before applying lip balm
- use a lip balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more during hot weather
- cover your lips with a scarf when you're outside in cold weather
- drink plenty of water to avoid becoming dehydrated
- do not pick or bite any flaky skin on your lips – this can slow down healing
- do not keep licking dry or cracked lips – this can make them sore
- do not share lip balms with other people – this can spread germs
A pharmacist can help with sore or dry lips
A pharmacist can advise you about:
- the best treatments for dry or sore lips
- whether you need to see a GP
Find a pharmacy
See a GP if:
- your lips are hot, painful, red and swollen – this could be a sign of infection
If your GP thinks you have an infected lip, they may prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal cream to treat the problem.
If you have a small, fluid-filled blister on your lip, you may have a cold sore.
Most people with cold sores get a tingling, burning or itching feeling on their lip before the blister appears.
Read about how to treat cold sores.