After trying a number of products to heal and protect Dave's lips, this is what finally worked. Highly recommended!

Lip Care

Dave has a huge problem with his lips cracking and splitting when we’re out in the sun and wind. This past winter, it got to the point where he wouldn’t eat anything spicy or vinegary (think pickles, salads) because it just hurt his lips too much. Hmm, Dave loves anything spicy and dill pickles are a favorite. I knew this was serious!

Blistex cream has always worked to heal my lips, but it didn’t do a thing for Dave. Plus you can only use it when you’re out of the sun — it is somewhat oily and causes lips to burn faster than usual if you wear it in the sun.

We started at the local drugstore and none of their miracle cures for lips made an ounce of difference for Dave. Carmex, Blistex, Tiger Balm, ChapStick and some others . . . nope.

Then it was on to Amazon, where I bought three different tubes of stuff to try.

Hands down, the best was Dermatone, both for initial protection and for helping Dave’s lips to heal. I began using it too and find it better than anything else I’ve tried, particularly as it lasts longer (I don’t have nearly the problems with my lips as Dave does, but still need some protection).

Dermatone comes both in little tubs and in tubes. On the advice of Jan at CommuterCruiser (our good friend and my cookbook co-author), we got the stubby tube — she says the tubs do not contain the same product.

The Dermatone in a tube totally healed Dave’s lips — which had been a cracked and bleeding mess for a month — in less than a week (he was back to eating pickles in three days . . . ). It’s SPF 23 (others that we tried had higher SPF ratings) but the better part is how moisturizing/healing it is. So much better than any of the others that we tried — and a tube lasted far longer than the others did too (one — the most expensive of our trials — lasted for only two days!). Dave also really liked that he didn’t have to constantly reapply it.

The only thing that’s a little strange about the stubby tube is that instead of twisting the tube to raise/lower the stick, you just push it up from the bottom. That means that to put the cap back on, you have to push it down with the cap. Oh well, I can live with that.

Dave’s been using Dermatone for over two months now and since his initial split lips healed, hasn’t had a single problem — not even a bit of chapping, he says. I’m thrilled to finally find something that just works. We threw away at least a dozen tubes of stuff that hadn’t!

Dermatone has now begun offering a conventional twist tube but I haven’t tried it yet (the company website says it’s the same product). The listing on Amazon is somewhat confusing: the title says it’s the 0.3 ounce stubby stick and some of the pictures show the stubby stick, but other pictures and the description show the new 0.15 ounce twist stick. This is the listing that I ordered from and I got the stubby sticks (they may be switching over to the twist tubes; I don’t know):

Or use this listing to get a 2-pack of the twist tubes:

Note that Dermatone also makes a number of “skin” sunscreen products, some in stick form. Don’t get one by mistake.

Highly recommended!

I'd like to know about...

Explore more

Want weekly tidbits of cruising information? Sign up for The Boat Galley's free weekly newsletter. You'll get the newest articles and podcasts as well as a few relevant older articles that you may have missed.

Do you find The Boat Galley useful? You can support the site when you buy from Amazon by using the links on this site or clicking below. No extra cost for you!

  • Susie Marshall
    Posted at 13 May 2015 Reply

    Do you know if this lip balm is sold at any stores? I’d love to try it. I’ve always had a bad time with my lips too.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 13 May 2015 Reply

      I’ve never seen it in a store. Jan found it once in a ski shop, so apparently it is out there.

  • Jane Gammons
    Posted at 13 May 2015 Reply

    I read your whole piece. Please have your readers be aware that there is a condition called sailors/farmers lip. Yes, those of us who are out in the wind and sun. This is a precancerous condition and there is medication available from your dermatologist. This happened to me on our last trip in Florida by boat. I called my dermatologist and he called in a RX. You could also see one of the nurses at CVS or an urgent care center. As a retired dental hygienist I can’t stress this enough.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 13 May 2015 Reply

      I’ve never heard of it. What are the symptoms? How is it different from just normal chapped/sunburned lips (that is, how did you know you needed medical help)?

  • Janine Belling
    Posted at 13 May 2015 Reply

    Another great product for lips is Lucas Paw Paw Ointment. Its an Australian product and is used for minor burns, wounds etc but is brilliant on dry lips. I use it all the time – when snow skiing or in the middle to summer.

  • Jane Gammons
    Posted at 13 May 2015 Reply
  • Jim Shell
    Posted at 13 May 2015 Reply

    Cracking of the lips can be caused by a number of causes: fungal infections, vitamin B deficiencies, sun poisoning, wind dehydration are some. If the previous remedies do not work, addressing these causes might help. Preparation H and A&D Ointment work well too. Preparation H is particularly good for burns and minor cuts and abrasions. (From Hints to Heloise)

  • Susie Marshall
    Posted at 14 May 2015 Reply

    Thanks for all the info. I have always had trouble with my lips…since I was a child. We moved to the desert of Oregon and my lips never got use to the dry conditions. My mom said I had chapped lips the while two years we lived there. This winter they were tender the whole time we were in Marathon and the Bahamas. I will look into both products. Thanks again.

  • Doreen
    Posted at 14 May 2015 Reply

    I too have had long bouts of cracked lips. Mostly in drier winter air as a snow skier. Now, at the first sign of a lip issue, I apply a thin coat of neosporin to my lips before I go to sleep. My lips heal very quickly, and I usually notice a huge difference by the next morning. Otherwise, I would potentially keep splitting open the same spot on my lip… Love your articles Carolyn, keep ’em coming. Thanks!

  • Bill Wakefield
    Posted at 14 May 2015 Reply

    I couldn’t agree more. This is a great product and very prevalent here in Alaska. [When the sun doesn’t set in the summer you really need UV protection… works great when the sun doesn’t shine too…]

    I’ve been using for many years [10+] and typically loose [or launder…] a tube before finishing it…

    It helps heal cracks and minor skin infections on other parts of the body too… [hands, feet, etc…] Stock-up. We have tubes in various kits that are 4+ years old and they are just like new…

    Dermatone SPF23 is so popular here that the chap-stick style dispensers are often offered in bulk at the check-out stands of our sporting goods stores.

  • Jane Gammons
    Posted at 16 May 2015 Reply

    Another comment, don’t forget the lip balm with SPF as high as possible for wind and sun. I like Panama Jack and Burts Bees.

  • Kathy Belanger-Barber
    Posted at 16 April 2016 Reply

    Thanks I burn my lips continuously

  • Paula Richard
    Posted at 16 April 2016 Reply

    Thanks for this tip. Just ordered some.

  • Nicholas Carter
    Posted at 16 April 2016 Reply

    No one else thinks that’s a creepy pictures lol

  • Eva Persson
    Posted at 16 April 2016 Reply
  • Sonjashootingstar Wells
    Posted at 16 April 2016 Reply

    Hehe, love that “one-click” thing!

  • Ed Robinson
    Posted at 18 April 2016 Reply

    I wish I had seen this before we left for the Bahamas! My lips are a mess.

  • Confetti McGahee
    Posted at 24 July 2017 Reply

    This is an awesome product. Been using it for years. And it doesn’t melt in the heat!

Post A Comment