(WellAndGood.com) While the causes vary -- and treatment may need to be tailored to each condition, depending on its severity -- there are a few basic rules to follow when you need a quick, chapped-lip fix.

Pick products with fewer ingredients
If you're in severe distress, pure white petroleum jelly may be your best option until things start to improve. And remember that even natural ingredients, like castor oil or essential oils, can irritate your lips -- don't assume that because it's organic, it's not the cause of your condition.

Leave your lips alone
Fight the urge to fidget with your mouth while it's irritated, as doing so will only exacerbate the issue. And when you apply product, make sure it's done with clean fingers -- introducing extra bacteria to your lips may cause a secondary infection.

Watch what you eat
Acidic, salty, or very hot foods (either spice or temperature) -- like orange juice, red wine, salad dressing, salsa, and chips -- may irritate the lips further in their compromised state.

Talk to your doctor
If your issue falls outside the bounds of everyday irritation, opt for a professional opinion. And if you believe you have an allergy, see an allergist ASAP for patch testing of the skin.

Be a purist with your products
Remember that your lips, with their thin skin, absorb lots of what you put on them. In addition, they're the entrance to your mouth, so when you lick your lips, you're absorbing the products by ingestion. Look for products without fragrance, parabens, synthetic colors, and chemical sunscreens to start. You may need to become even more of a purist to pinpoint your trouble.

Pay attention to your prescriptions
Dermatologists prescribe steroids readily, but they can cause trouble in the end if you're not careful. They're also the leading cause of perioral dermatitis (skin irritation around the mouth, nose, and chin), so you may trade one problem for another.


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