Consumerist Fixes Your Chapped Lips

In the wake of the Carmex controversy, we thought we’d offer some helpful lip-healing solutions. No, this isn’t a health blog, but it is about saving money and if we can get you off the chapstick and on the way to healthy lips—well, we’ve done our job. That being said, this may not work for you, and we’re not claiming to have any sort of special knowledge, you know, like doctors have. In fact, this is very probably quackery, and you shouldn’t even try it. Even though it works every single time for us.

Step 1: Exfoliate the lips. Wet them with very warm but comfortable water. You can find special lip exfoliator junk at the store or just do what we do, use a very fine pumice stone or a washcloth. Be very gentle. Very. Very. Very. Once your lips feel free of dry, dead skin, but before they start to hurt, stop.

Step 2: Apply Neosporin Cream. Not ointment. Cream. It’s different from the ointment. Don’t get it in your mouth, it’s not for internal use. This is best for the outside of your lips. Massage the cream in. Did we mention that you should not use the ointment. Use the cream. Don’t use tons of it. Just a little.

Step 3: Use Burt’s Bees on top of the massaged in Neosporin Cream. Experience the joy of healing lips.

This also works pretty well, minus the Burt’s Bees, if you have a blemish. Neosporin is great! It’s also a real drug, so don’t use it for more than a week, and for Pete’s sake— don’t swallow it.—MEGHANN MARCO


Edit Your Comment

  1. adamondi says:

    This seems like way too much trouble. Also, would this method really save any money? It seems that buying the Neosporin and the Burt’s Bees would be more expensive than just getting a tube of chapstick every couple of years.

  2. Citron says:

    Antibiotic cream? I just exfoliate with a soft toothbrush and use Burt’s Bees.

  3. homerjay says:

    Ugh… See? THIS is what happens when you let a GIRL work as associate editor.

    Aww, just kiddin’ Meghan. You know we loves ya!

  4. kerry says:

    2 things:
    First, don’t use pain relief neosporin cream on your lips, it will make your tongue go numb.
    Second, and most important, overuse of antibiotic products like neosporin contribute to antibiotic restistance. They shouldn’t be used in a manner where they may be swallowed or spread much beyond an actual area of injury. If your lips are not in danger of being infected with something, please please please DO NOT smear antibiotics all over them. You will screw up your digestive system (the antibiotics in the ointment can kill probiotic organisms in your digestive tract), increase your chances of getting a resistant bacterial infection and not be able to treat it promptly and effectively, and contribute to the global crisis that is antibiotic resistance.

  5. JeffreyK says:

    I just went on a spending spree at Wal-Mart (home of Totenkopf t-shirts… though I didn’t see any here in the homeland of Wal-Mart). Nonetheless, I spotted Neosporin Lip Treatment. Yes, indeed. Contains no antibiotics or salicylic acid, or sulfonamides. It was never tested on Bambi or Flipper. It comes in a squeezy tube. It showed no evident Nazi markings. It has vitamin E and cocoa butter and some pain reliever called Pramoxine and a protectant called Allantoin.

    I didn’t buy it because I was on a mission to buy other stuff, but there it was… calling out to me, “Buy me, buy me… save your dying lips, young Jeff.”

    Next time, perhaps.

    Reporting live from Bentonville/Rogers, AR…
    — JeffreyK

  6. Jim C. says:

    Earlier, salicylic acid awful? Now Neosporin wonderful? As noted, not necessarily. You might want to consult your legal department about offering medical advice.

  7. AcilletaM says:

    OK, I followed your steps and my lips are still chapped. And my tongue is bleeding, the Neosporin is all over the ceiling, my teeth are scratched, I think I swallowed a lot of the Burt’s Bees thing, my girlfriend is complaining about not being able to see out of one eye ‘ever again you bastard!’, and one of the cats is missing. Did I do something wrong or do I have to wait a little while longer for it to work?

  8. bluemint says:

    I wouldn’t recommend using Neosporin. One of its ingredients, neomycin, is known for causing allergic reactions such as allergic contact dermatitis in up to 20 percent of people. Doctors recommend polysporin instead.

  9. max andrews says:

    It’s all about vitamin E. My uncle had his face melted in a gasoline fire when he was 19. He put vitamin E on the affected areas for four years and his face looks completely normal now. It seriously heals anything skin-related. J/A/S/O/N sells a 25,000 i.u vitamin E creme which I use for healing my razor blemishes twice a week, and you can get it at whole foods, but it’s overpriced. For a cheaper and more powerful combo, squeeze some vitamin E gel capsules 1:1 with some aloe vera gel (the pure stuff). Mix in a small amount of non-oil lotion base and you’ve got a wonder cocktail for teh skins.

  10. max andrews says:

    my lips were chapped so I gave the vit. E J/A/S/O/N cream a try. I used Burt’sBee’s facial exfoiliant on my lips to fently scrub away the dead icky skin. It was sort of like rubbing diarrhea on my face but whatev, it didn;t smell bad so no harm done I guess :/
    Then I washed my face fully to make sure I did not have any more poop particles on it, and gently rubbed in a very small amount of the 25,000 IU vitamin E cream to the lips, which absorbed almost instantly and left me with a velvety feeling. They still feel silky smooth, we’ll see what happens when I wake up today…

  11. I second the “exfoliate with wet toothbrush” reccommendation.

  12. thrillhouse says:

    If your lips do break open and bleed, I can definately recommend Rincinol liquid oral bandage. Amazing stuff.

  13. sassenach says:

    You can also exfoliate with any *mild* abrasive, such as sugar or baking soda. I don’t care for Burt’s Bee’s products [cute packaging but mediocre products.]

    Aquaphor is very effective for chapped lips, and is available in any drug/mass market store. [Also great for dry cuticles, household burns, etc.]

  14. SecureLocation says:

    Two words: Blistex ointment

  15. troubler says:

    triple antibiotic ointment as a lip cream?

    That sounds pretty extreme to me.

    Aside from the high percentage of people allergic to them, topical applications antibiotics are more likely to trigger further allergic reactions, which makes you allergic to all applications of it in the future.

    Three antibiotics in the ointment means that’s possibly three times as many chances to be allergic, and three times as many antibiotics you can develop resistance to. Which could be a bad thing if ever actually get an infection.

    Besides which, if you have no infection in your lips, the antibiotics themselves aren’t doing anything for you. so you are applying powerful medications to your face for no reason.

  16. DrJCarp says:

    I feel that the advertising push to sell Neosporin is unfortunate. I did not advise it in my medical practice. My consulting hand surgeon also banned its use in his practice. I have photographs of patients with “band-aid” shaped blisters and scarring after an allergic reaction. I believe that it causes serious allergic reactions in about 4% of patients on the second use, especially if that use is 6 weeks or more after the first.