Is olive oil good for my lips?

Olive oil, black olives, olive branches and a bottle of olive oil.
Olive oil is a moisturizer in many skin care products, but should you put your kitchen condiment on your lips?

Cracked, dry, chapped lips are regular part of life for many people, especially during dry weather. Many drugstores have a whole aisle devoted to different types of lip balm, ranging from medicated brands to specialty balms made with organic ingredients.

Although a store-bought lip balm might have a terrific scent and come packaged in a cute little container, you could also try using ingredients you already have at your house, such as olive oil, to keep your lips soft and supple. Olive oil might make you think more of pizza and roasted garlic than a lip balm, but it's an excellent moisturizer and is a popular ingredient in many skin conditioning products [source: Cosmetics Database].


You can use olive oil alone to condition and protect lips from drying out or becoming chapped. Use it just the way you would use lip balm or petroleum jelly -- smear a bit on whenever your lips feel dry, and put a little on at night for good measure.

You can also combine olive oil with sugar to make a simple lip scrub. Just make a paste out of sugar and olive oil, and rub it on your lips [source: Sorgen]. The sugar will exfoliate the lips, getting rid of any dry, dead skin cells on the surface and leaving lips smoother.

However, although olive oil might help keep your lips hydrated in a pinch, it probably won't do as good of a job in the long term as a product specifically formulated to moisturize your lips. Also, because of its oily nature, using it on your lips might cause breakouts and irritation on the skin around your mouth, especially if you already have oily skin.

If you do decide to use olive oil on your lips, select a bottle of good-quality, organic extra virgin olive oil. Also, keep in mind that -- depending on the type you use -- olive oil will go rancid after a while, so either buy a small bottle or keep it in the refrigerator.

For more information about olive oil and its uses in skin care, visit the links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Cosmetics Database. "Olea Europea (Olive) Oil." Environmental Working Group. (Accessed Nov. 9, 2009)
  • "Home Remedies for Chapped Lips and Cracked Lips." (Accessed Oct. 5, 2009)
  • Olive Oil Source. "Olive Oil Storage and Rancidity." April 14, 2008. (Accessed Oct. 5, 2009)
  • Sorgen, Carol. "Grooming Essentials for Women: Skin and Hair Car Products." WebMD. July 21, 2009. (Accessed Nov. 9, 2009)