This Is the One Product You Need for Chapped Lips If You Use Accutane 

The cracks forming on my lips closed and the peeling stopped entirely within a few days of using this healing ointment
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The internet is full of information about Isotretinoin (the oral acne medication formerly known as Accutane). Used to treat severe and stubborn acne, the drug is widely prescribed by dermatologists for its notable and sometimes permanent results. New York-based dermatologist, Shari Marchbein, MD, explains that clinical trials of Isotretinoin suggest that it can "effectively reduce acne and lead to a reduction in scarring." 

While Dr. Marchbein is not alone in considering the medication "a true miracle drug," Isotretinoin users commonly experience multiple side effects, including fatigue, muscle stiffness, and sun sensitivity. Some TikTok users even claim it shrunk their nose (although dermatologists disagree). However, the most common and notorious side effect agreed upon by users and doctors alike is perhaps the extreme lip dryness that begins just one week after starting the medication. "The most common symptoms by far are dry lips and skin, which is seen in almost all patients and expected," notes Miami-based dermatologist Chloe Goldman, MD, who is a former Accutane user. "Isotretinoin is unique amongst the retinoids in that it decreases sebum production, which contributes to these symptoms."

After battling with acne since middle school, my dermatologist recommended a six-month course of Isotretinoin. With my bathroom drawers completely stocked with my favorite chapstick, I felt confident that I could fend off the inevitable dryness, but quickly found that my old go-to did nothing to stop the epic peeling and cracking that would quickly transform my lips. Luckily, after a few frantic emails, my dermatologist recommended the CeraVe Healing Ointment ($18; amazon.com).

CeraVe Healing Ointment, 12 Ounce, Cracked Skin Repair Skin Protectant
Credit: Amazon

It's an understatement to say that this moisturizing skin protectant has saved my lips. After a few days of use, the cracks forming on my lips closed and the peeling stopped entirely thanks to the formula's combination of petrolatum and mineral oil. Even if you have sensitive skin, you can apply this ointment with zero fear. "[Petroleum Jelly] never causes contact dermatitis (an allergic skin reaction) or irritation. Additionally, you can slather it on any dry crack—whether it be the lips or feet," says Dr. Goldman. 

Dr. Marchbein notes that the CeraVe Healing Ointment is among her favorite recommendations to prevent severe and painful cracks. "It's critical to apply ointments during the day and especially before bed (when we lose the most heat and moisture from our skin overnight)," she explains.

And these dermatologists and I are not alone in our love for this product for treating a bout of dry lips. The ointment has received more than 5,600 five-star ratings from Amazon shoppers, who claim it soothes, moisturizes, and heals dry and cracked skin all over the body. One customer wrote: "I admit to being skeptical at first. After all, isn't this just petroleum jelly with a few extras mixed in? In application, this is so much better! It's non-greasy, soothing, and makes all your dry patches of skin feel soothed and smoothed."

Plus, reviewers with sensitivities and skin conditions, including eczema, call it "the best moisturizer," and those who suffer from acne said it cured their breakouts almost overnight. Another user shared that they use it to counter dryness from retinol used to treat their acne. "After being prescribed Retin A for my acne my skin became incredibly dry and flakey. I was recommended this product and I was not disappointed! I apply this over my usual lotion at night and it makes such a difference. No more flakes, no more painful red patches, no more tightness."Whether you're an Isotretinoin user or simply want full protection for your lips and skin this winter, there's no going wrong with this lip ointment. Get ahead of the peeling with the 12-ounce container (or better yet, this pack of three)—you'll need it!

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