Dry, cracked lips can be caused by a number of factors, including hot or cold weather, open-mouthed breathing because of illness or habit, dehydration and even allergic reactions to certain kinds of cosmetics. Although dried lips are common, they're also easy to treat--and using honey is a traditional method for healing cracked lips.
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Poultices made with a mixture of honey, milk and yeast have been used to treat serious and minor wounds and infections for centuries. The ancient civilizations of Egypt, China and Africa used honey because of its antifungal and antibacterial powers, according to an essay in the Michigan State University alumni magazine by Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein, based on their book "Honey, Mud, Maggots and Other Medical Marvels." In addition to being used for more serious wounds, honey was used as a remedy for dry and damaged lips.
Honey has the power to moisturize and heal, making it an ideal treatment for parched lips. Because honey has antibacterial powers, it helps prevent infection from developing in cracked lips, according to CareFair, an online beauty and skincare resource maintained by CareFair, Ltd. Honey also hydrates your dry lips to restore lost moisture.
CareFair recommends using your finger or a cotton swab to apply honey to your lips periodically throughout the day as you would apply lip balm. Apply an extra dose at night before you go to bed so that the honey can work while you sleep.
Honey might be a natural remedy for cracked lips, but that doesn't mean it's always a completely safe one. There's a slight risk of contracting botulism anytime you use raw honey, and for infants or people whose immune systems are compromised because of age or illness, the botulism in honey can be fatal.
The National Honey Board offers this simple recipe if you want to make your own honey-based lip balm: Combine 1 cup of sweet almond oil with half a cup of beeswax--you can find both these ingredients at health or natural foods stores--and melt the mixture over low heat, while stirring. When completely melted, whisk in 2 tbsp. of honey. Let the mixture cool completely before moving it a lidded container for storage.