Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors

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Chapped, or cracked, lips is the time period generally used to explain dry lips. Chapped lips will be brought on by a number of elements, that embody:

  • climate
  • extreme licking of the lips
  • sure drugs

Chapped lips are a standard situation that solely happens for most individuals. However some folks could develop a extra extreme type of chapped lips known as cheilitis. Cheilitis will be brought on by an an infection, characterised by cracked pores and skin on the corners of the lips.

You’ll be able to often deal with dry lips with easy remedy and preventive measures. In case your lips proceed to be severely dry and cracked, you need to think about make an appointment with a dermatologist.

Chances are you’ll expertise any of the next signs on or round your lips:

  • dryness
  • flaking
  • scales
  • sores
  • swelling
  • cracks
  • bleeding

Lips don’t comprise oil glands like different elements of the pores and skin. This implies lips are extra prone to drying out and changing into chapped (cracked). Lack of moisture could make the issue worse, whether or not it’s weather-induced or associated to a scarcity of self-care.

Little humidity within the air in the course of the winter months is understood to trigger chapped lips. Frequent solar publicity in the summertime can even worsen your situation.

One other widespread reason behind chapped lips is recurring licking. Saliva from the tongue can additional strip the lips of moisture, inflicting extra dryness.

Everybody can get chapped lips, significantly if they’ve dry pores and skin.

Taking sure drugs can even enhance your threat of growing chapped lips. Drugs and dietary supplements that may trigger chapped lips embody:

  • vitamin A
  • retinoids (Retin-A, Differin)
  • lithium (generally used to deal with bipolar dysfunction)
  • chemotherapy medication

People who find themselves dehydrated or malnourished are additionally extra prone to have chapped lips than different folks. Name your physician if both of those are related together with your chapped lips—dehydration and malnutrition are each critical circumstances that require quick medical consideration.


If the extreme dryness and cracking doesn’t enhance with self-care, you need to see a dermatologist. Cheilitis is commonly accountable for severely chapped lips. This can be a situation marked by cracked pores and skin on the mouth corners and a number of other cracks in your lips.

When you’ve got this situation, your lips could:

  • be darkish pink or pink in shade
  • have a lumpy texture
  • develop ulcers
  • have white plaques on the floor

Cheilitis is commonly attributed to infections and inflammatory illnesses, akin to Crohn’s illness. Dental trauma and extreme saliva manufacturing may additionally flip an everyday case of chapped lips into cheilitis. Micro organism can enter via the cracks and trigger an infection. Adults and kids who’ve orthodontic braces, put on dentures, or use pacifiers are all prone to growing cheilitis.

A dermatologist can decide whether or not your dry lips are merely chapped or if in case you have cheilitis.

Dehydration and malnutrition

Dry lips may also be brought on by dehydration or malnutrition. Dehydration causes signs together with:

  • lightheadedness
  • constipation
  • decreased urine manufacturing
  • dry mouth
  • headache

In extreme circumstances, an individual affected by dehydration could expertise low blood strain, fever, speedy respiration, or a speedy heartbeat.

Malnutrition is characterised by most of the identical signs as dehydration. Further signs can embody:

  • muscle weak point
  • decaying enamel
  • bloated abdomen
  • bone fragility

Malnutrition will be brought on by vitamin deficiencies, so these on restricted diets (for instance, vegetarians) have to guarantee that they’re getting sufficient of the nutritional vitamins they want.

Individuals with alcohol habit are additionally extra prone to malnutrition as a consequence of vitamin deficiencies as a result of extreme alcohol use can intrude with the physique’s vitamin absorption. Older adults are additionally at increased threat for malnutrition as a result of decreased urge for food is widespread.

For those who suspect you’re dehydrated or malnourished, see your physician instantly.

Chapped lips can often be handled at house. Step one is to guarantee that your lips have sufficient moisture. This may be completed by:

  • making use of lip balm all through the day
  • ingesting extra water
  • utilizing a humidifier at house
  • avoiding chilly climate circumstances or wrapping your mouth with a shawl

Solar publicity can even trigger chapped lips, particularly as you age. Apply a lip balm that accommodates a minimal SPF 15 earlier than heading open air. The balm helps to moisturize the lips and the sunscreen minimizes additional drying results.


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