Vaseline may help keep moisture from escaping the lips. But if they are already dry, you may need to use another ingredient to moisten them, such as a humectant like aloe.

Just as Kleenex and Q-tips are commonly used brand names for tissues and cotton swabs, Vaseline is a brand name for 100 percent white refined petroleum jelly.

Vaseline is an affordable, easy-to-find option in most grocery stores and pharmacies, and it’s said to relieve dry skin, help heal wounds, and even help moisturize chapped lips.

Because there are no oil glands to protect the exposed pink mucosal surface of the lips, the lips are very prone to drying out, especially in cold, dry climates with little moisture in the air. This article will discuss whether or not Vaseline is a recommended product for dry, chapped lips.

Vaseline is known as an occlusive, which means it can hold in moisture. If you use Vaseline on your lips before they’re dry and chapped, you may be able to stave off dryness. However, petroleum jelly isn’t all that effective at restoring moisture once it’s been lost.

On the other hand, humectants can actually pull moisture from the air into the skin and lips. Examples of humectants include:

Vaseline can be helpful for dry, chapped lips when used along with a humectant. Apply the humectant to your lips first, then seal it with Vaseline.

Side effects of using Vaseline for chapped lips may include the following:

  • Vaseline can feel heavy and slippery on the lips.
  • If you sleep in Vaseline, the oil may stain your pillowcases.
  • Vaseline is a by-product of petroleum, a fossil fuel, so it’s not very eco-friendly.
  • Allergic reactions to Vaseline are rare, though they can occur. Signs of an allergic reaction include swelling of the lips and a burning or stinging sensation.
  • If your lips are chapped to the point of bleeding, Vaseline that’s been contaminated with bacteria from your fingers could cause an allergic reaction.
  • Vaseline may clog pores around the mouth.

If you’re not allergic, Vaseline isn’t likely to cause harm or make your lips drier — it just may not be the best option for hydrating lips and preventing the delicate skin from becoming chapped.

Other things to try for dry lips include:

The best thing for chapped lips is to prevent them from getting chapped in the first place. You can prevent dry, chapped lips by doing the following:

  • Avoid breathing out of your mouth constantly. Mouth breathing releases warm air on the lips that can cause them to dry out.
  • Don’t lick your lips. When they’re dry, it’s tempting to add moisture from your tongue, but once the saliva dries, it actually leaves your lips drier.
  • Drink water. It may help if you’re very dehydrated.
  • Put a humidifier in your bedroom. The water vapor released into the air can help add moisture not only to the air, but to your skin and lips.
  • Avoid known allergens like fragrance and dyes in certain lip products that can be drying.
  • Wear sunscreen on your lips. You may already wear it on your face, but your lips need it too.
  • Gently exfoliate your lips using a texture product or even a warm, damp towel once a week.
  • Avoid irritating ingredients that can cause dryness, like cinnamon, menthol, and salicylic acid, which can actually make the lips drier.

Vaseline is a brand name for petroleum jelly, and it’s an affordable, widely available product often used to help heal dry skin and lips. It’s known as an occlusive, so while it can help trap moisture into the lips, it can’t add moisture that isn’t there.

Vaseline works best when used with a humectant, like shea butter or aloe, which can actually pull moisture into the lips. If your lips are very dry, you can try exfoliating, using a product that contains SPF, and avoiding licking your lips, which can be a major cause of dryness.