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 is not working for you – you 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 higher 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 will tell you about the best treatments for dry or sore lips and if you need to see your GP.
Contact your GP if your lips are hot, painful, red and swollen. This could be a sign of infection.
Your GP may prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal cream if you have an infected lip.
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.
Cold sores should start to heal within 10 days, but are contagious and may be irritating or painful while they heal.
A pharmacist can recommend:
- creams to ease pain and irritation
- antiviral creams to speed up healing time
- cold sore patches to protect the skin while it heals
Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE