Treatment for Dry and Chapped Lips?

I have very dry/chapped lips are there any treatments that will help me? My lips are so dry they are constantly peeling and will crack on a regular basis. I drink plenty of water, is there any kind of treatment available?

Doctor Answers 1

Chapped Lips – 7 Tips To Stop The Dryness

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Now that the weather is getting colder, we are already seeing many patients with severely chapped lips. The best way to deal with chapped lips is to avoid the dry, cold weather that can cause them in the first place. Since heading for the tropics is not too practical for most people, here are some tips to keep your lips happy this winter season.

Protect your lips. Before you go out—and several times while you’re out—coat your lips. We recommend using original chap stick, chap stick with SPF, or Carmex. Since we are using our lips all the time as we talk and eat, frequent applications are a must.

Use a sunscreen. Sun can cause damage to the lips the same way it can damage the rest of your skin. Every year, we treat several patients with skin cancers on their lips due to ultraviolet exposure. When you are spending time outdoors, be sure to use chap stick with SPF.

Wear lipstick. Since lip stick is opaque, it can protect your lips from UV rays. This is probably the reason why skin cancer on the lip is more common in men than women.

Cracked cornerns. Sometimes chapped lips can lead to fissures in the corners of the mouth. This is called perlesh and can be easily improved with the proper treatment. This problem occurs when candida starts to grow in the corners of the mouth, and can be quickly improved with a combination of topical steroid and anti-fungal cream. Don’t wait – the faster you can get treatment, the faster you will improve.

Humidify. The winter air can be very drying. A humidifier can go a long way to keeping your lips moist. Also, when the air is dry, be certain to drink plenty of fluids.

Don’t lick your lips. Chapped lips are a dehydration problem. When you lick your lips, you momentarily apply moisture, which then evaporates and leaves your lips feeling drier than before. Licking chapped lips can lead to something called lip-licker’s dermatitis. Eventually, a rash develops around the mouth. If you are tempted to lick your lips, try to apply Chap Stick every time you have the urge.

Protect Before Bed. Drooling a bit when you sleep is very common. This can aggravate chapped lips, and can predispose you to developing perlesh. You can protect your lips by applying a zinc oxide ointment every night before bed, which will act as a barrier to help protect your lips.

Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.