The Best Way to Heal Chapped Lips

Should you slather on beeswax or petroleum wax to soothe your dry, chapped lips?

By Emily Main


Winter can be hard on your lips. Chapped-lip sufferers hate the cold, dry air that can make smiling an act of sheer torture during winter. But before you reach for some petroleum jelly or your favorite lip balm, consider which kind of lip remedy is the best way to heal your chapped lips and which to avoid.

Petroleum Jelly

Pros: The fact that petroleum jelly has been in use since 1878 seems to attest its effectiveness as a salve for dry skin. While studies have found that the substance doesn't have an actual healing effect, it does create a seal on your skin, preventing air from drying it out and protecting it from the elements.

Cons: Petroleum jelly is made from just that—petroleum, a nonrenewable resource that may be contaminated with cancer-causing agents called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Furthermore, ingesting too much of it (which is easy to do when you slather it on your lips in winter) can lead to upset stomachs and diarrhea.


Pros: Beeswax works like petrolatum by creating a seal on your lips that protects them from air and other elements that can dry them out. Plus, it's made by bees, so there's no worry about depleting nonrenewable resources and there are no adverse health effects associated with licking too much beeswax off your lips.

Cons: If the current decline of honeybees continues, beeswax-based lip balms may not be around for us to enjoy forever. Plus, the cost of the ingredient tends to raise the price of the lip treatment.