The moisturizing effects of coconut oil have increased general interest in this ingredient as a natural skin care solution. While the oil is sometimes used as an all-over dry skin remedy, it may also be used for the lips.

Whether your lips are dry, chapped, or just need some extra TLC, there are several coconut oil remedies that you can try out at home.

The primary benefit of coconut oil is its moisturizing effects. This makes it ideal for chapped lips.

Your lips are particularly sensitive to moisture loss because the skin is thin, and they’re exposed to the elements more so than other parts of your skin.

In alternative medicine, coconut oil is a mainstay in burn treatment. This is due to its moisture, as well as its analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. These same effects can translate to benefits for chapped, cracked lips.

Coconut oil is also considered an emollient. Emollients are non-cosmetic moisturizers that help keep the skin moist, and they’re primarily used to protect the skin. They trap moisture in your skin, so these tend to work best immediately after bathing. However, you can apply them throughout the day as needed, especially when considering your lips, which lose moisture more rapidly than the rest of the body.

Other benefits include the potential disinfecting and antimicrobial effects of coconut oil. Such benefits may keep your lips germ-free, and subsequently help protect any cracked skin from becoming infected too. Furthermore, coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory. This means it may reduce swelling.

Some people use coconut oil as a wrinkle treatment. When you use the oil for your lips, you may help your surrounding skin look smoother and more radiant.

Using coconut oil for chapped lips is a relatively straightforward process. Simply apply a few drops to your lips and dab gently with your fingers until the oil sets. You can repeat this process throughout the day as often as you’d like.

If you’d like more of a chapstick-like texture, combine coconut oil with equal parts of a thickening agent such as beeswax or shea butter before applying. This will also help give you a less shiny finish, if desired. Store any extra product in a small container for easy on-the-go application.

While coconut oil may be used in place of your daytime lip balm, it can also work well as an overnight treatment mask. The key here is to combine the oil with a thicker protectant, such as honey. You can use equal parts and mix honey and coconut oil until a thick cream forms. Apply to your lips and then rinse off in the morning.

For added moisture, consider combining coconut oil with other moisturizing ingredients, such as:

You can apply these ingredients with equal parts coconut oil for even more moisture. Apply as a mask, or leave on overnight and during the day for maximum results.

Coconut oil clearly offers many benefits for moisturizing, healing, and protecting your lips. Still, some users find the oil a bit tricky to apply, especially when on the go. You can make the process a bit more practical by whipping up a larger batch of a recipe ahead of time and storing any extras.

Also, be sure to use pure, virgin coconut oil only. This ensures you’re using a product that hasn’t been chemically altered or refined in any way so you get the most benefits for your lips.

Be sure to see your doctor if you develop any side effects after using coconut oil or any combination recipes. You may also need medical advice if your lips remain extremely dry and chapped.