When Old Man Winter comes knocking, his cold, dry air often wipes the smile right off of our faces. Why? Chapped lips, that’s why!

Chapped lips — sometimes called cracked lips — occur when your lips become dry and cracked. This happens often in the winter when the weather gets cold and dry. It’s easy to bundle up in a thick coat, but we too often leave our lips unprotected!

Of course, it can also happen in the summer when the hot sun dries out your skin. If you’ve ever gotten a sunburn, you know how painful it can be. Imagine how much more sensitive the skin on your lips is.

Your body produces a natural layer of oil that coats the lips and keeps them moist. Sometimes people lick their lips as a habit. When they do this, they can remove that protective layer of oil and cause their lips to become dry and chapped.

When you have chapped lips, your lips will become dry, red and swollen. If the skin on your lips cracks or peels, you’ll probably also feel a burning sensation that can be quite painful.

If you notice your lips becoming chapped, don’t lick them! Although they may feel better for a short time, licking them ultimately makes them dry out even more in the long run. This can make them hurt even more.

Instead, treat your lips with a soothing lip balm. If you have large cracks in your lips, you may want to see a doctor to get special medicine. Most pharmacies will have a wide variety of lip care products. Choose a lip balm that is oil-based. You might also look for a product with lanolin, which can speed along the healing process.

If your lips are not chapped, it’s a good idea to protect them to keep them from becoming chapped. Your lips have very thin layers of skin on them. They lose moisture easily. In fact, you lose up to ten times more moisture through your lips than other parts of your body.

To keep your lips in good health, follow the suggestions listed in the Try It Out section. Your lips will thank you and you’ll be smiling all winter long!

72 Join the Discussion

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  1. Hi Wonderopolis, :)
    I loved today’s wonder! My lips were usually cracked and the doctor said that it’s because I don’t drink enough water. She did give me an lip ointment too! I used to wonder about it and now I’ve finally found the answer! Thank you so much for you wonderful wonders, Wonderopolis! I sometimes wonder about what the Wonder number would reach to… Probably in the millions! Well, I hope it doesn’t come to an end yet! :P :)

    • Hi there, Sarah! Thanks for sharing your WONDERful comment with us! Dry and chapped lips are no fun, but drinking water is an important part of your daily life! Water keeps us nice and healthy- and our skin healthy, too! Thanks for letting us know that you always enjoy visiting Wonderopolis– we’re glad you’re here! :)

  2. Hi!

    Happy thanksgiving (it’s late to say that).

    I’m getting a laptop!
    When do you smile?

    I smile all the time!

    Tell me!

    • We are always smiling, thanks to Wonder Friends like you, laserdudle! Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! We hope you had a WONDERful holiday with family and friends!

      Talk to you soon, Wonder Friend! :)

  3. That video was sooooooooo cute! I have chapped lips right now so I am using lip balm right now for it. I hate when they peel it is so sour!

    I think tomorrow’s wonder will be how do you make things glow in the dark.

    • We hope your lips feel better, Wondergirl101! It’s no fun to smile when your lips aren’t feeling up to it! Thanks for sharing your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder, too! See you soon! :)

  4. Some of us have had chapped lips before. It does not feel good, it is painful! Some of our friends use Carmex to keep their lips healthy.

    We think tomorrow’s Wonder will be about some body making noise in the dark, x-ray,shadows, things that glow, or lightening bugs!!

    • Chapped lips are no fun, we agree with our Wonder Friends in Ms. Bayko’s Class! We think lip balm is a great way to keep our lips smiling! Also, drinking lots of water helps, too!

      We can’t wait to find out what is in the dark with tomorrow’s Wonder! Thanks for stopping by to say hello! :)

    • Hi there, Ashley! Thanks for sharing your comment with us– we appreciate your feedback! Did you learn anything new from today’s Wonder? :)

  5. The video was weird because it was a little kid putting too much lip stuff on while making a commercial. We thought the show was funny, though. It is good to know that if we don’t use lip balm, our lips will get chapped. We need to wear lip balm in the winter AND summer. We learned to NOT LICK OUR LIPS because it removes the oil and moisture from our lips.

    • Thanks for sharing all that you’ve learned from today’s Wonder, Tigers in 2nd and 3rd! We’re happy that you know how to keep your skin, and lips, nice and healthy! We are smiling now! :)

    • We’re glad today’s Wonder made you smile, Gabrianna! Thanks so much for sharing your comment… and your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder, too! :)

  6. Dear Wonderopolis,
    Most of us have had chapped lips before. It is painful. We learned not to lick our lips when they are chapped and that our lips have a special oil on them. We think tomorrow’s wonder is about sleep, fire flies, glow worms, glow sticks, or sparklers.

    • We’re glad that you know how to keep your lips healthy during the winter and summer months, Wonder Friends in Grade 2/3 class! We can’t wait to find out what tomorrow’s dark Wonder will be… or will it light up? :)

    • We hope today’s Wonder will help you get over any chapped lips you have, Gina M! We’re glad you shared your comment with us today! :)

    • Chapstick, and other types of lip balm, help us keep our lips healthy, Wonder Friend! We Wonder what you learned today? :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend ZZ! We know it’s tough, but perhaps you can think of how much chapped lips can hurt– perhaps you won’t want to lick your lips as much! Also, drinking plenty of water and keeping some lip balm on hand will help! …Especially if the lip balm doesn’t taste too good! :)

    • Hi there, Jordan! Thanks for sharing your comment with us today! We know that today’s Wonder might have made you scratch your head, but we are glad you learned something new today! Also, we’re happy to hear that the picture for today’s Wonder made you smile! :)

  7. Hey wonderopolis! I love this website! I have a suggestion, you should do a wonder on how Christmas got started. It would be great for the holiday season! Can’t wait to see some more awesome wonders from wonderopolis!! (PS. The kid in the video was so cute.)

    • Hi there, Darrion! We’re sorry to hear that today’s Wonder video wasn’t one of your favorites, but we appreciate your comment! Thanks for letting us know! :)

  8. Here in Malmsbury, Australia we are heading in to what looks like is going to be a hot summer so it was good to learn about how to keep our lips healthy. Thanks Wonderopolis. We laughed a lot at the video and are wondering if we could make our own funny ad.

    • Hi there, Wonder Friends at Malmsbury Primary School! We sure are glad to hear that today’s Wonder was right up your alley! We want to make sure your lips stay nice and healthy as you protect them from the sun and extreme temperatures! Stay cool!

      We are always looking for awesome videos from our Wonder Friends! You can send your Wonders and your video to hello@wonderopolis.org! We can’t wait to see it! :)

  9. I loved today’s wonder I watched in my classroom on the smart board with my whole class because these are our journal promts well anyway I love this site. -bye-

    • Hi there, Julia! We’re so happy to hear that you enjoyed today’s Wonder– wohoo! We’re excited that you and your Wonder classmates have been WONDERing with us and using the Wonders as journal prompts! That’s AWESOME! :)

  10. Hey I have chapped lips now and these tips are very useful to me so thanks and I can’t wait for the next wonderopolis. :P And I think the next wonderopolis will be about sleeping.

    • We hope your chapped lips clear up, Samantha! Make sure you’re drinking lots of water to keep them nice and healthy! :) Thanks for WONDERing with us– we’ll see you tomorrow! :)

  11. Hey there my name is Alexa and I am very thankful for this topic and for all of the good tips. :) And in December I wish I could read about Christmas stuff such as snowmen.

    • Thanks for sharing your cool comment, Bux122! We’re so happy to hear that you enjoyed our Wonder– now you know how to keep your lips healthy! We’re all smiles now! :)

    • Hey there, Chloe! Thanks for sharing your comment– we’re so happy to hear that you liked this Wonder! All of us here at Wonderopolis call one another “Wonder Friend”! We Wonder if you have nicknames for your friends? :)

  12. Hi Wonderopolis! First let me start by saying I love Wonderopolis, we use as our school reading logs. Today, this WONDER didn’t really fit the title to me. For example the title is “How Do You Make Your Lips Smile?”, the WONDER only talks about helping dry and cracked lips. It could be just me!

    Thank you,
    Alissa P

    • Hi there, Alissa P! We are so glad you shared your comment with us about our Wonder about lips! We respect all our Wonder Friends’ opinions and we’re glad you shared your thoughts with us! We think that when your lips are healthy (not dry or chapped), that it’s much easier to smile! Thanks for WONDERing with us, Alissa P! :)

  13. I love to laugh and make my friends laugh with me because when they do it really does just make my day! I love love love laughter and smiling no matter what it sounds like or even looks like I love laughter!!!!!!!!!!!
    Sincerely Danielle :)

  14. Great wonder it is a really good one. But we have one question for you. When our lips get chapped, there is red above the lip. Why is that? Thank you!

    • SUPER job of WONDERing, Andrea and Natalie! When our skin is irritated, it sometimes turns red. Usually it’s the body’s way of dealing with a lack of moisture– the red indicates that our skin is irritated. That’s why lip balm helps so much- it moisturizes our lips! :)

  15. Hey Wonderopolis!
    I LOVED this video the kid was so cute! I get chapped lips ALL. THE. TIME. But usually I use Vaseline! Same with my hands! Actully, my lips are chapped right now! I better go put on some stuff! Hehe Bye and I’ll make SURE to keep WONDERing!!!
    :P :) :)

    • Oh boy, Cheesecake03! Chapped lips are not fun at all! We’re glad you’re fully stocked with lip balm– we hope it helps! We’ll see you soon for lots more WONDERing! :)

  16. Hi again my teacher was just going on and on about you last week and I just decided to check wonderopolis out again I am in Mrs. Cornie’s gr. 5 class and I know that her daugther goes online too because we saw her posting comments on your videos with her gr. 4 or 5 or 6 (I don’t really know) class and they told us about you guys soo now I go on weekly. :)

    • Hey there, Dawsman! We’re glad that you have visited Wonderopolis on your own– please say hi to Mrs. Cornie for us! We are excited that you’ll be visiting us each week! WOHOO! :)

  17. Did you know that when you have chapped lips it means that you don’t drink enough water? Well, got to drink water bye.

  18. I love the video, it was so cute. I really need to take your advice, Wonderopolis. Thank you once again, Wonderopolis.


    • You’re welcome, Carlos! Thank YOU for being a super Wonder Friend and learning new things with us each day in Wonderopolis! It’s FUN to WONDER, isn’t it? :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How do you make your lips smile?
  • What causes chapped lips?
  • How can you keep your lips healthy?

Wonder Gallery

LipsVimeo Video

Try It Out

Have problems with chapped lips? Here are a few suggestions for how to take care of your lips and keep them moist and healthy:

  • Protect them! Use an oil-based or beeswax lip balm often. Before going out in the sun, use a lip balm that also has sunscreen.
  • Stop licking your lips! It may make them feel better temporarily, but the enzymes in your saliva can make your lips hurt even more when they dry out again.
  • Drink plenty of water! Keeping your body properly hydrated is one easy way to keep your lips from drying out and becoming chapped.

Still Wondering

Science NetLinks’ You and Your Skin interactive provides an introduction to the basic structure of the skin, information about how it protects us, and how to care for it.

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