Chapped Lips

Chapped Lips: Causes, Picture, Symptoms and Treatment

Chapped lips can make you feel self-conscious about your appearance. But, it can also make you feel uncomfortable as the peeling of skin can lead to bleeding or infection. The condition is common among people. So, you can suffer the problem at some point in your life. In most cases, the condition has simple causes. But, in some cases, you can experience a severe form of skin peeling from your lips. The condition is known as cheilitis. The issue needs immediate medical attention to avoid complications. You can treat the problem with simple home remedies. It is also possible to avoid the problem with effective preventive measures. But, you need medical attention when the dryness of the lips continues for more than two weeks.

Symptoms Of Chapped Lips

The cracking or chapping of lips can cause the following symptoms on and around your lips.

  • Flaking
  • Dryness
  • Sores
  • Scales
  • Cracks
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding

When you see such symptoms, take immediate action. You can try some home remedies as the first line of action to prevent the escalation of the problem.

Causes Of Chapped Lips

Chapped Lips Your lips have different skin compared to the rest of your face. Although the underlying structure remains similar, you need to understand that the skin covering your lips is thin and delicate. The skin on your lips is devoid of the oil gland unlike the skin covering the rest of your body. So, the skin on your lips cannot produce moisture on its own. Several external factors can result in the dryness of your lips. So, if you wish to prevent cracked lips, then you need to get treatment for the conditions. Taking precautions against the following factors can help you combat the problem with ease.


In the winter season, the humidity levels decline. So, as the temperature falls and becomes cold, the air becomes dry. When you expose your skin to dry air, it can suck the moisture content. It is the main reason why most of the people suffer from cracked lips during the colder time of the year. Avoiding the cold from affecting your lips and face can help you prevent the dryness.

Licking Your Lips

Licking Your Lips

It is a subconscious action. You tend to lick your lips when you feel dryness or feel nervous about something. But, licking can make the dryness worse. Though it moistens your lips temporarily, it can lead to more dryness as the saliva pulls the moisture from the surface.

Using Lip Products With Drying Ingredients

Have you ever looked into the ingredients list of your lip products? Lipsticks, lip balms, or lip glosses can contain certain ingredients causing dryness. So, you need to check out for the ingredient causing the dryness of lips worse:

  • Camphor
  • Humectants (Glycerin)
  • Drying ingredients in lip products
  • Phenol
  • Menthol

In some cases, people have allergies to certain ingredients in lip products. The fragrances or pigments can result in lip dryness. When you experience an allergic reaction on your lip, you can see the following signs:

  • Skin peeling
  • Redness
  • Dryness

Sun Damage

Sun exposure can cause several skin problems like sun rash and excessive dryness. The UV rays from the sun can also damage your lips, leading to cracking of the lips. Sun damage also results in a condition called actinic keratosis. It causes crusty bumps to develop on your lips. The bumps may not cause life-threatening complications. But, ignoring it can lead to the development of cancer cells. So, you need to see a doctor and get the bumps removed from the lips as soon as possible.


You suffer from dryness of lips due to the use of certain medications. The following medications can result in cracked lips:

  • Antihistamines
  • Diuretics
  • Chemotherapy drugs

Topical acne medications (contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid causing dryness)

Some of the medication also causes dehydration. So, you need to talk to your doctor about the problem.

Medical Conditions

Some underlying medical conditions can result in dry lips. Chapped lips develop due to the following diseases

Certain health conditions can make you sensitive to sun exposure. So, it increases the risk of developing dry lips.

Smoking/Alcohol Consumption

Smoking can lead to dryness of lips. It also increases the chance of developing infections. Excess alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration. So, you can experience skin peeling from your lips.

Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin Deficiency

When your body certain vitamins, your lips can experience dryness. B-complex vitamins enhance the health of your skin and lips. Many food items contain vitamins naturally. But, the vitamins are lost when you overcook the food or consume more alcohol. People having a weak digestive tract can also experience dryness of the lips. It is because the body finds it difficult to absorb vitamins and minerals. While vitamin B deficiency can lead to the issue, consuming more Vitamin A supplements can also result in developing dry and cracked lips.

Serious Conditions Causing Chapped Lips

Some serious underlying problems can cause your lips to become dry and chapped. You need to see your doctor to deal with such issues, ignoring it can lead to experiencing other complications. So, the conditions you need immediate medication are:



In some cases, the cracking of your lips does not improve with home remedies and self-care. So, you need to see a dermatologist to detect the problem. Often, Cheilitis can trigger the dryness of your lips. The condition can cause several cracks in your lips and skin cracking at the corners of your mouth. The following signs point towards the lip condition:

  • Your lips have a lumpy texture
  • Lips turn red or dark pink
  • You develop ulcers
  • See white plaques on the lip’s surface

Cheilitis develops due to the underlying infections and inflammation. For example, people with problems like Crohn’s disease can experience the problem. In other cases, dental trauma due to wearing dentures, orthodontic braces, etc. can experience chapped lips. Excess saliva production is also attributed to the problem. Children using pacifiers can experience dry lips. These problems increase the chances of bacteria entering the cracked lips and triggering infection. So, you need to see a professional to determine if the dry lips occur due to cheilitis or just a simple case of skin peeling.

Dehydration And Malnutrition

Dryness and cracking of your lips can indicate a more serious problem. The lack of necessary fluid and vitamins in your body can result in the condition. So, dehydration or malnutrition can cause skin peeling from your lips. When you suffer from dehydration, you can experience the following symptoms:

  • Constipation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased urine production
  • Headache

When the dehydration becomes severe, you can suffer from other symptoms like:

Malnutrition refers to the condition that occurs when your body fails to receive the necessary nutrients needed for it to function properly. The condition has symptoms similar to dehydration. You also suffer from additional symptoms like:

People who are on limited diets or never have enough food can suffer from malnutrition. Consuming alcohol in excess can also make you malnourished. The alcohol can interfere with the body’s process of vitamin absorption. Older people can also experience malnourishment due to decreased appetite. It is important to see the doctor immediately to manage the condition and ensure you get enough vitamins as per your body’s requirement.

Complication Of Chapped Lips

In the majority of the cases, chapped or cracked lips cause no problems to your health. The harmless condition does not cause any long-term complications. But, you need to manage the problem in the early stages. Ignoring it not only causes you discomfort but also triggers issues like:


The peeling of the skin on your lips can make it easier for the bacteria and fungus to attack. So, you can develop a secondary fungal or bacterial infection.

Complications Caused By Dehydration

Rarely, the cracked lips occur due to dehydration. In such cases, you can face serious complications, which can result in permanent damage.

So, you need to follow the treatment plan suggested by the doctor to reduce the potential complications associated with the condition. The excess peeling of dry and flaky skin can result in removing your healthy skin in the process. It can prolong your healing times. So, you face a high risk of bleeding and suffer from an infection.

Diagnosing Chapped Lips

In most cases, your doctor can diagnose the problem by visually examining the lips. You need to report to your doctor about the duration of the problem, other signs you experience, and what causes the condition to become worse. If you experience the cracked lips frequently, then convey it to the doctor. It will help determine the underlying reason triggering the problem.

Treatment Options Available For Chapped Lips

Chapped Lips Causes treatmentThe treatment of chapped lips involves taking care of it at home. You never need prescription medication or other treatment options to heal the lips. Simple remedies with natural or easily available ingredients offer relief from the problem. So, the different options available are:

Good Lip Balm

To ease the discomfort associated with the skin peeling on your lips, you need to use a good lip balm. Check the ingredients before buying. Some ingredients like the following can cause dryness of the lips:

  • Menthol
  • Phenol
  • Camphor

Also, avoid scented as well as flavored lip balms as it contains ingredients that dry out your lips. Instead, look for products containing the following ingredients:

  • Ceramides
  • Beeswax
  • Lanolin
  • Petroleum

The above-mentioned products can moisturize your lips and offer soothing sensation.

Natural Lip Remedies

Several natural remedies are available to manage skin peeling off your lips. You can find these items easily in your kitchen. It will soothe your lips and moisturize to prevent drying.

Use Aloe Vera

You can apply the fleshy part of the Aloe Vera plant directly on your lips to prevent cracking. The flesh of the aloe vera plant contains vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidants. So it rehydrates and soothes the damaged skin.

Coconut Oil

Coconut has known properties to solve several skin problems. It also has properties to control the inflammation of your skin. Coconut oil is an emollient, which can offer softening and soothing effects on your skin.


Honey is a natural moisturizer. So, it is an effective treatment for your dry and cracked lips. The antioxidants and antibacterial properties can prevent infection. In normal cases, dry lips are prone to secondary bacterial and fungal infection. Therefore, applying honey on your dry lips can offer positive results.


It can gently moisturize the lips and may contain vitamins and minerals that could improve the lips’ appearance.

Green Tea

Green tea is rich in antioxidants. It contains polyphenols that can manage the inflammation. You can soak the bag of green tea in warm water. Then, apply it on your lips to heal the cracked lips. It removes dry and dead skin. So, it soothes your lips and makes it soft. The technique offers gentle exfoliation.

All the natural items have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. So, it can successfully prevent any infection occurring due to skin peeling off your lips. Apart from that, the products offer moisturizing and soothing effects. These products are not tough to get. You can buy it from any supermarkets or online platforms like Amazon.

Exfoliate Your Lips

Your lips can become dry and have a layer of dry skin. The dead skin cells prevent the ingredients in the lip balm from penetrating deep into your lips to see an effect. So, you need to remove the layer of dry skin to ensure the lip balm reaches the right area. You can use lip scrubs containing sugar or baking soda to exfoliate your lips. If you want to buy a commercial product, then look for the ingredients list. It must contain ingredients to moisten and smooth the lips.

Drink Water

Dehydration can result in skin dryness, including cracked lips. It refers to the condition when your body loses fluid more than what it takes in. Dehydration can make your body pull water from the specific areas in your body to keep the cells hydrated. It can result in skin dryness and chapping of lips. So, you need to drink water throughout the day to rehydrate yourself. It will moisten the lips and prevent dryness. Dehydration can cause major complications in your body. If you suspect dehydration, then you can suffer from other symptoms like:

You may not drink sufficient water required for your body. The recommended daily intake of water varies. It depends on the sex, a person’s age, level of physical activity. You have to determine the correct quantity of water required every day. It will aid in replenishing the fluid levels in the body.

Use A Humidifier


Exposing your skin to dry air can strip the moisture from it. So, you can suffer from peeling or cracking of the skin, including lips. The particular problem is common in the winter season. It is because the air has no moisture content in it. You have to drink water to restore the moisture content in your skin. But, some people find it difficult to drink water throughout the day. In such cases, you can use a humidifier in your room. A humidifier can add moisture back into the dry air. It acts as a natural moisturizing agent, which can relieve the dryness in several parts of the body. It also relieves other issues like:

Avoid Smoking

Avoid Smoking

Tobacco is harmful to your body. The tobacco smoke can irritate the sensitive skin around the mouth. It also affects your lips. So, it can dry out the lips and cause peeling of the skin. Smoking also increases your chances of developing a problem in the mouth. Therefore, you can suffer from gum pain and mouth ulcers. Once you stop smoking, you can see the difference immediately. People who stop smoking can see skin healing and notice the chapped lips clearing.

Preventing Chapped Lips

You can prevent the condition by taking some precautions. You can avoid cracked lips with the following steps easily:

Avoid Scented/Flavored Lip Products

Scented lip products can contain allergens. The fragrance or dyes in your cosmetic like lipstick, lip gloss or lip balm can cause irritation and dryness. It will result in cracked lips. So, try to avoid allergens.

Use Sunscreen

Use Sunscreen

When you go out, use sunscreen. The products containing sunscreen can offer protection from extreme dryness of your lips. Applying the lubricated lip balm or cream containing sunscreen can avoid dryness. Cover your lips with a scarf when you go outside. Reapply the lip balm as per necessity.

Protect Your Lips

You play with your lips. While you may not notice it, the excessive touching and playing with the lips can make your skin dry, resulting in cracking. The following actions can make your lips dry:

  • Lick
  • Chew
  • Pull

When you indulge in such actions, it can leave saliva on your lips. Saliva can dry out your lip and cause peeling. If you tend to lick your lips, avoid flavored lip balms. It tempts you to lick the lips more.

Exfoliate Regularly

You exfoliate your face to make it smooth and glowing. Similarly, you need to take care of your lips. So, exfoliate your lip with a scrub to remove the dry skin. It will help you see better effects while using a lip balm.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to keep your skin hydrated.

Breathe Through Nose

Breathing through the mouth can make your lips dry. So, it increases the chances of skin peeling and cracking. You need to breathe through your nose to avoid the problem.


Chapped lips refer to the common condition occurring due to climatic conditions or other problems. But, the problem makes you uncomfortable. At times, the cracking of the skin can lead to infection and pain. So, you need to take care of the problem. You must always maintain caution while buying lip products to prevent any allergic reactions. With a few lifestyle adjustments and home remedies, you can control the problem and prevent it from affecting your life. If you have a chronic case of the problem, you need to see a doctor check if occurs due to side effects from medications. You can switch the medications to get relief from the problem. The condition is not a serious one. So, it needs simple treatments. Take good care of the lips to prevent problems affecting it and making you uncomfortable.

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