Quick Tips to Soothe Toddler's Chapped Lips

Find out how to treat and prevent chapped lips

Mother applying lip balm to her daughter

As most parents can attest, battling with your toddler's chapped lips can be an exercise in frustration. Dry and chapped lips are an unfortunate side effect of the cold weather. After all, the skin on our lips is thinner than other areas of the body and are always exposed to the elements which cause them to become dry and even crack when the air outside is both frigid and dry. In kids, chapped lips can also be caused by chronic lip licking, pacifier use, and even a common cold.

Luckily, using the tips below you can ensure your toddler has healthy smackers all season long. 

Causes of Chapped Lips in Toddlers

Chapped lips have many causes and can occur in any season. These can include: 

  • Seasonal wind
  • Sun
  • Dryness in the home
  • The use of a pacifier, which causes constant moisture and saliva around the mouth, leading to chapped lips
  • Blocked nasal passages, which cause kids to breathe through their mouths while sleeping. 
  • Chronic lip licking. As the skin around the mouth gets irritated, many children will begin to lick at it, which makes it even more red and irritated. This leads to the classic lip licker's dermatitis.

Prevent Your Toddler's Chapped Lips

Fortunately, a few simple steps can help soothe your little one's dry, cracked lips.

  • Up the moisture: Make sure your little one drinks plenty of water and keep the air in your home moist with a humidifier, which can be purchased at any drug or discount store. Make sure you clean the humidifier often and place it out of the reach of young children.
  • Prevent picking at flaky skin. Instead, use an old, soft toothbrush to buff your child's lips to remove flakes.  
  • Stop the licking: Remind your child regularly not to lick her lips. The constant wetting and drying that occurs with this cause chapped lips. So every time you see your child licking, give her a gentle reminder to stop, and take that opportunity to apply some lip balm or give your child something else to do with her mouth.
  • Cover that face: In the winter, especially on windy days, make sure your child has a scarf or hat with a mask. One of the best ways to make sure chapped lips don't happen due to the wind is to keep the wind off lips altogether.
  • Use lip balm regularly: But, make sure that the lip balm you use doesn't have any flavoring — this can encourage lip licking that will only make the problem worse. Use a petroleum- or beeswax-based product or plain petroleum jelly (which only costs about $1). If lips are especially chapped, try to find a medicated balm. In addition, the sun can cause chapped lips and make already chapped lips worse, so try to find a brand with a sunscreen if your child will be going outside.
  • Keep clean: Make sure that your child washes her face after eating or drinking and reapply lip balm. It's a good idea to make sure your child care provider is aware of the issue and has balm on hand as well.

Can Your Child Get Addicted To Lip Balm?

Despite beauty rumors, there's little scientific proof that your lips can become "addicted" to lip balm. Instead, experts say it's more of a psychological effect that occurs. You feel that your lips are dry and need more lip balm even though in reality they do not.


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