Baby's Chapped Lips - Causes and Remedies

Baby’s Chapped Lips – Causes, Signs and Remedies

As the weather starts changing, it brings different temperature and humidity levels. This can result in days when your little one’s skin and lips can dry, leading to cracked and chapped lips. But worry not, dear parents! You can always rely on the power of lip balm to keep your baby’s pout soft and smooth, like its bottom. Chapped lips can also occur in infants who naturally lick their lips. We have listed a bucket of solutions for your newborn chapped lips.

Should You Worry If Your Baby Has Cracked Lips?

For young babies – especially newborns – dry lips should always be a cause for concern. If ignored for too long, dry lips can crack or split and develop into sores.

One of the reasons for cracked lips in babies is the habit of the baby constantly sucking on his lips. However, cracked lips is a strong sign of dehydration in your child. Weather changes and exposure to the wind can often cause this, but if your child tends to breathe from his mouth more than his nose, that could cause the lips to be chapped.

Video: Chapped Lips in Babies – Causes and Treatment

What Are the Causes of Chapped Lips in Babies?

The reasons for an infant’s dry lips can vary from personal habits to environmental conditions.

1. Dehydration

The causes of dehydration are two-fold: one is mostly dry weather that can pull moisture out of the baby’s skin, and the second is being in weather that can keep the baby perpetually sweaty. To add to that, if the number of feeds a baby needs is not up to the mark, the body will not be hydrated enough. This can lead to dry lips. Some signs of dehydration in babies are:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Crying with no tears
  • Cold and blotchy hands and feet
  • A fast heartbeat
  • A ‘soft spot’ on the baby’s head

2. Deficiency in Nutrition

The presence of chapped lips is another sign indicating the baby’s current nutrition is insufficient. If a newborn baby has been diagnosed with lower levels of certain nutrients in the body, his lips will fail to retain moisture. This is often aggravated by a baby having low immunity.

3. Reaction to Allergies

Sensitive skin can react to a lotion or cream or even the cloth used to drape him. If the mother uses a certain chapstick and tends to kiss the child often, that, too, could trigger an allergy.

4. A Tendency to Breathe via the Mouth

Mouth breathing allows air to be around the lips constantly. This air invariably picks up any moisture that it finds in its path. An illness involving a blocked nose often leads to mouth breathing in babies and causes cracked lips, making them uncomfortable.

5. Fluctuations in the Weather

Babies need to be in a safe and controlled environment, especially when just born because their skin is not used to the extremities of the weather. Hot summers, cold winters or windy days can allow moisture to soak from every source, leaving your little one with chapped lips.

6. Sucking or Licking of the Lips

The tendency to keep sucking on something is quite strong in the initial weeks. This causes babies to keep poking out their tongues and sucking on their lips constantly. The saliva in the mouth evaporates from the lips gradually and leaves them dry. This repetitive cycle causes cracks to appear on them.

7. Genetic Disorder

Netherton syndrome is a rare genetic disorder affecting infants’ skin and hair. This condition can cause chronic inflammation, leading to dry, scaly, and itchy skin. Infants with Netherton syndrome may also have thin, fragile skin prone to cracking and bleeding, including on the lips. This condition is usually diagnosed through a skin biopsy and genetic testing.

8. Viral Infection

Coxsackie virus is a type of enterovirus that is common in children. It can cause various symptoms, including fever, sore throat, and mouth blisters. In some cases, it can also cause a rash on the hands, feet, and mouth, known as hand, foot, and mouth disease. This viral infection can also lead to chapped lips in babies and other symptoms, such as drooling, decreased appetite, and irritability.

baby licking his chapped lips

Do Babies Get Chapped Lips Due to Breastfeeding?

A newborn spends the maximum amount of time feeding off the breast, which may seem to have a connection with cracked lips. But feeding is not what causes the lips to be chapped. Breast milk, on the contrary, can help chapped lips heal. If the baby latches well and gets enough feeds throughout the day, the chances of dry lips seem to reduce.

What Are the Signs of Chapped Lips in Infants?

For a newborn’s chapped lips, the symptoms can be:

  • Lips being predominantly dry as compared to your own
  • Cracks appearing on the surface of the lips that may go deeper
  • The skin around the lips starts getting darker in colour
  • The lips are sore and have a slightly reddish colour to them
  • The cracks are intense and cause blood to seep out at times

How Can You Treat Chapped Lips in a Baby?

In the case of babies, there are certain remedies you can use to bring speedy relief and alleviate discomfort.

1. Petroleum Jelly

Made from lanolin, this is a potent moisturiser for your little one’s lips, helping heal the cracks faster. The presence of lanolin makes it a gentle healer and is safe, even if your baby ends up licking his lips and consuming it in that fashion.

Take a tiny bit on your finger and slowly apply it to your infant’s lips. Try using these at night when the baby sleeps so that it stays longer and the lips get the time they need to heal.

2. Coconut Oil

An age-old remedy, many parents opt for using the oil since it is readily available at home. The main constituent of the oil is lauric acid which brings about the healing and doesn’t affect the baby. Disinfect your finger and dab a little oil on it. Rub it on baby’s lips and repeat multiple times whenever dry.

coconut oil

3. Breast Milk

This is the safest and most natural way to heal cracked lips. Use your nipple to gently put milk on his lips or dab it with a finger. Don’t rub it on his lips. The milk allows the lips to be hydrated, and the natural ingredients accelerate the healing.

4. Cucumber Slices

Cucumber slices are not only refreshing, but they can also help soothe chapped lips. Simply cut a slice of a cucumber and hold it gently against your baby’s lips for a few minutes. The coolness of the cucumber will help reduce inflammation and provide relief.

5. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a natural remedy that can help soothe and heal chapped lips. Simply grind a handful of oatmeal into a fine powder, then mix it with a few drops of water to create a paste. Apply the paste to your baby’s lips and leave it on for a few minutes before gently wiping it off with a damp cloth.

6. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a natural moisturiser with anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe chapped lips. It also contains antioxidants and vitamins that can promote healing. Simply cut a small piece of an aloe vera leaf and extract the gel. Apply the gel to your baby’s lips a few times a day.

Consult your baby’s paediatrician once before trying home remedies to rule out the chances of infections or allergies.

What You Should Not Apply on Baby’s Chapped Lips?

As a parent, it’s natural to want to do everything you can to soothe your baby’s chapped lips. However, there are certain things you should avoid applying to your baby’s lips to prevent further irritation and discomfort. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Fragranced Products: Avoid using products on your baby’s lips containing fragrances, dyes, or other harsh chemicals. These can cause further irritation and even an allergic reaction. Stick to fragrance-free and hypoallergenic products instead.
  • Saliva: While it may be tempting to lick your finger and rub it on your baby’s lips to soothe them, saliva can worsen the problem. Saliva contains enzymes that can irritate and dry out the skin, leading to more chapping and discomfort.
  • Spicy or Acidic Foods: As your baby grows and starts to eat solid foods, it’s important to avoid spicy or acidic foods that irritate their already sensitive lips. Stick to mild, easy-to-digest foods until their lips have fully healed.
  • Licking or Biting: Encourage your baby not to lick or bite their lips, which can worsen the problem. If your baby is old enough to understand, teach them to use a lip balm or other product to soothe their lips instead.

What If Your Child Has Chronic Chapped Lips?

Chronic chapped lips in a baby might indicate a nutritional deficiency or even extra consumption of vitamin A(which leads to dry skin). There are rare instances where babies contract Kawasaki disease – a condition that causes inflammation and fever and is prevalent in babies between the ages of 6 months and 2 years. However, dry lips, in that case, are accompanied by other symptoms, including fever and red eyes. So if that seems to stay longer, get your child checked.

How to Prevent Cracked Lips in Infants?

Prevention is better than cure, more so in the case of infants. To prevent cracked lips in infants, maintain an optimum temperature at home and use a humidifier if needed. Cover your child in proper clothes and protect him from the sun or strong winds. Also, feed your baby more often during hot weather to keep the baby’s hydration levels optimum.

Chapped lips might be a very common condition for grown-ups. But the sensitive nature of the baby’s skin and the dependency on feeding through the mouth can make it quite painful and uncomfortable for him. Treating this correctly when the signs appear can help it from getting more severe.

When to Call the Doctor?

Chapped lips are usually a minor issue that can be treated at home; there are certain situations where you should call your baby’s doctor. Here are a few signs to look out for:

  • Bleeding or Cracks: If your baby’s lips are bleeding or have deep cracks, this can signify a more severe condition, such as a bacterial or fungal infection. In this case, it’s important to seek medical attention.
  • Signs of Infection: If you notice any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge around your baby’s lips, it’s important to call their doctor immediately. They may need medication to treat the infection.
  • Difficulty Feeding: If your baby is having difficulty feeding because of chapped lips, this can be a sign that the condition is more severe. Their doctor may be able to recommend a special formula or feeding technique to help.
  • Fever: If your baby develops a fever and chapped lips, this can be a sign of an underlying infection or illness. It’s important to seek medical attention to determine the cause of the fever.


1. Can Pacifiers Cause Chapped Lips in Babies?

Yes, pacifiers can cause chapped lips in babies, especially if they use them for extended periods or if the pacifier is dirty or worn out. The constant friction of the pacifier against the baby’s lips can lead to dryness and irritation, resulting in chapping.

2. Does Teething Cause Chapped Lips in Babies?

Yes, teething can also cause chapped lips in babies, as they may drool more than usual, leading to moisture around the mouth that can contribute to dryness and irritation. Also, babies put their hands and other objects in their mouths during teething, which could lead to chapped lips.


1. Cadman. B; How to treat chapped lips in a newborn; MedicalNewsToday;; September 2018

2. Stukus. D; How to Treat and Prevent Chapped Lips; Nationwide Children’s;; December 2019

3. Chapped Lips; Cleveland Clinic;; September 2021

4. Schmitt. B; Cracked or Dry Skin;;

5. Cracked or Dry Skin;

6. Sore or dry lips;

Also Read:

Baby Rubbing Eyes
How to Brush Baby’s Teeth
How to Clean Infant Tongue
How to Wash Your Baby’s Hair

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