Baby’s Chapped Lips: Causes, Home Remedies And Prevention


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Chapped lips are a common occurrence during winters, especially at places with very low humidity. Babies can also get dry lips if they tend to lick them a lot. Most adults with chapped lips use chapstick or a lip balm to alleviate dryness. But are chapsticks safe for a baby?

How can parents deal with chapped lips in babies? Keep reading this MomJunction post about chapped lips in babies, its causes, remedies, and how you can prevent the condition.

What Causes Chapped Lips In Babies?

Common reasons behind dry and chapped lips in babies include:

    1. Dry weather, which is the most common cause of chapped lips among babies. The lips crack and become hard during winters or whenever there is a drop in the humidity. If you live in a place with low humidity, then the baby can have chapped lips any time of the year. Dry weather rid the lips of moisture thus leading to chapping.
  1. Prolonged exposure to wind and sun can also cause the lips to lose their moisture, resulting in dryness (1). Perhaps a common scenario is when the baby spends too much time at the beach.
  1. Frequent lip-licking may cause the lips to lose moisture. The saliva evaporates rapidly leaving the lips stretched and dry.
  1. Dry and cracked lips are among the several signs of dehydration in babies (2). Other severe symptoms of dehydration such as lethargy and weakness are bound to get your attention before chapped lips.
  1. Kawasaki disease is a rare form of vasculitis, which is an inflammation of blood vessels. It mostly affects infants and even newborns. One of the several symptoms of the disease is red, cracked, and dry lips (3). The disease is rare, and the reason behind it is unknown.

If your baby has other severe symptoms, then it is best to take them to a doctor. Chapped lips are usually a result of benign reasons than acute illnesses and can be dealt right at home, with a few safe solutions.

[ Read: Causes Of Dry Skin In Babies ]

What Are The Home Remedies For Baby’s Chapped Lips?

If your baby is otherwise healthy, then the following are the best and safest methods to treat chapped lips in babies:

  1. Breast milk: Breast milk is rich in water and fats, which can help hydrate the baby’s dry lips. Store a tiny quantity of expressed breast milk to apply on the baby’s lips. Dip your clean finger in the milk and apply a thin layer on baby’s lips at least 2-3 times every hour.
  1. Infant formula: Make a thick paste of infant formula and store it to treat the baby’s chapped lips. The fat from formula and the added water will help soothe the chapped lips. Apply the formula paste with a clean finger several times in an hour, depending on the severity of the chapped lips.

Breast milk and formula are the best remedial methods for chapped lips since they do not pose a health risk when licked or swallowed by the baby. Treatment of underlying conditions, such as dehydration will be symptomatic while treatment for Kawasaki disease involves the use of several medicines.

What Not To Apply On Baby’s Chapped Lips?

Do not apply baby oil, lotions, and even natural remedies such as coconut oil since they may cause problems when the baby swallows them. Also avoid lanolin, which is quite commonly used by breastfeeding mothers for sore nipples (4).

While it is to breastfeed with lanolin, Lanolin can cause poisoning when ingested and should not be applied on the baby’s lips (5).

[ Read: Best Humidifiers For Babies ]

How To Prevent Chapped Lips In Babies?

Maintaining a regular feeding schedule allows your baby’s lips to stay hydrated by formula and breast milk. Another way to prevent chapped lips is by keeping adequate ambient humidity. Cool-mist humidifiers help you achieve it.

Install a cool-mist humidifier in your baby’s room especially during the dry seasons when there is a rapid drop in water vapor content. Pediatricians recommend the use of a cool-mist humidifier and ask to stay away from hot-mist/steam humidifiers that increase chances of burn (6). Sufficient humidity means well-hydrated and smooth lips.

Chapped lips in babies are seldom a problem unless caused by a severe illness. Prevention is easy since all you will need is breast milk and formula that are readily available at home. Once your baby grows older and steps into childhood, you may be able to use several lip care products that are safe for use among children.

Have you encountered chapped lips in your baby? Do share your experience in the comment section below.


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Rohit Garoo

Rohit Garoo took writing as a profession right after finishing his MBA in Marketing. Earlier he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Botany & Zoology from the autonomous St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. Rohit has also done a Stanford University certification course on breastfeeding. This botanist-zoologist turned writer excels at life sciences, and at MomJunction he writes everything about pediatrics and maternal care. In between writing and being overly curious, he spends time cooking, reading, and playing video games.
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