Sore Lips : Dry or Chapped lips? Let us find out more


Dry lips are frequently described as having chapped or cracked lips. Many things can lead to chapped lips, such as weather or whether some drugs cause excessive lip-licking

Chapped lips are a common condition that the majority of people only experience. Nevertheless, cheilitis, a more severe form of chapped lips, can occur in certain persons. Broken skin at the corners of the lips is a symptom of the disease cheilitis.

Most of the time, simple cures and preventative measures can treat dry lips. If your lips continue to be excessively dry and cracked, make an appointment with a dermatologist.

Chapped lips may be unpleasant, uncomfortable, and even bleed. A lot of us have trouble with them all year long for a variety of reasons. Whether the weather is to blame or a bad lip balm, there are things you can do to prevent and cure dry, chapped lips.


Lips do not contain oil glands, in contrast to other skin types. This means that it is more probable to become chapped and dry lips (cracked). Whether the problem is brought on by the weather or a failure to take care of oneself, a lack of moisture might make it worse.

Chapped lips are a typical wintertime indication of low humidity in the air. Regular summertime sun exposure might aggravate your illness.

Constant lip-licking is another typical cause of chapped lips. Saliva from the tongue can dry the lips by removing more moisture.

Risk Factors

Lips may get chapped for anybody, especially if they have dry skin.

Also, taking some drugs might make you more prone to getting chapped lips. Supplements and medications that might result in chapped lips include:

  • Retinoids (Retin-A, Differin)
  • Lithium
  • Vitamin A (commonly used to treat bipolar disorder)
  • Chemotherapy medications

Chapped lips are also more prevalent in those who are malnourished or dehydrated than in healthy individuals. If one of these causes your chapped lips, call your doctor right away. Malnutrition and dehydration are both significant diseases that need to be treated right away.


Any of the following signs might appear on or around your lips:

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


Never lick. Lip licking simply serves to further dry up the lips. Your lips are drier than they were before you licked them because saliva quickly evaporates.

Use unflavored lip balms only. You may feel inclined to lick your lips when you have something yummy on them. While flavoured lip balms may be enjoyable, they can also result in a dry, cracked mouth, which is not at all enjoyable.

Put sunblock on. Use a lip balm that contains sunscreen if you want to spend the day in the sun. Your lips will not be burnt, and the subsequent dryness and peeling will be prevented.

When outside in the elements, cover your mouth. Lips can get dry, especially in cold weather. When you venture outside in sweltering conditions, covering them with a scarf can assist. 

Stay away from allergies. It is possible that you have delicate lips that become irritated by perfumes, dyes, or smells. Thus, avoid using cosmetics and goods containing these substances near your mouth.

Inside and out, stay hydrated. Use a humidifier to maintain moisture in your home's air during the dry winter months. In order to prevent dehydration, which can result in dry skin and lips, be sure to consume lots of water.



You should contact a dermatologist if the extreme dryness and cracking do not go away with self-care. Lips that are very chapped are frequently caused by cheilitis. Cracked skin around the mouth corners and many lip cracks are symptoms of this illness.

If this is a condition, your lips could:

  • Be either dark pink or crimson in hue.
  • An uneven texture
  • Acquire ulcers
  • A white surface with plaques

Cheilitis is frequently linked to inflammatory illnesses including Crohn's disease and infections. Other factors that might cause cheilitis include dental trauma and excessive salivation. Infections can be brought on by bacteria that enter via cracks. Adults and children who use pacifiers, wear dentures or have orthodontic braces are all at risk for cheilitis escalating.

A dermatologist can assess if you have cheilitis or just chapped, dry lips.

Dehydration or a poor diet can also result in dry lips. Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Constipation
  • Less urine being produced
  • Mouth pain headache

A person with severe dehydration may also have a fever, fast breathing, low blood pressure, or a rapid heartbeat.

Several of the signs and symptoms of dehydration are also present in malnutrition. Other signs might be:

  • Muscular tremor
  • Rotting teeth
  • An enlarged stomach, and brittle bones

Vitamin deficiency may lead to malnutrition, thus those with restricted diets (such as vegans, for example) must make sure they are getting enough of the vitamins they require.

Alcohol abusers are also more likely to experience starvation and this can lead to vitamin deficiencies since drinking too much alcohol might prevent the body from absorbing vitamins. Elderly persons are more likely to suffer from malnutrition because of their usual diminished appetite.

See a doctor straight away if you think you could be undernourished or dehydrated.

Lips that are chapped are typically treatable at home. Making sure your lips have enough moisture is the first step. You may achieve this by:

  • Using lip balm all day long
  • Increasing your water intake
  • Using a humidifier at home
  • Staying out of the cold, or covering your mouth with a scarf

Chapped lips can also be caused by sun exposure, especially as you become older. Before going outside, use a lip balm with at least SPF 15. The balm aids in moisturizing the lips, while the sunscreen lessens the consequences of additional dryness.

These preventative measures may stop dry, cracked lips from getting worse if you already have them. You may, however, take further steps to hasten their recovery.

Exfoliate gently

Your lips may feel scratchy and begin to peel if they are chapped. Nevertheless, removing skin that is not totally dead might cause bleeding and discomfort, so use caution. Using your finger, apply a mild exfoliant, such as a sugar scrub. Be sure to use a quality moisturiser after.

Online stores sell lip-sugar scrubs.


To prevent your lips from drying out even more, apply a moisturiser. Items made of petroleum or beeswax function to keep moisture within. Apply extra before going to bed at night and use ointments made of petroleum, cocoa butter, and coconut oil. The best alternatives are jelly and even heavy body creams.

If you discover that your lips simply will not heal, a medical ailment may be at fault, and you should be examined.

Bacteria can penetrate fissures and abrasions on chapped lips, causing an infection. Cheilitis is the medical term for this, and a doctor must treat it.

Everyone has chapped, dry lips occasionally. The best way to improve the appearance and feel of your lips is typically via constant attention and prevention.


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Page last reviewed: Mar 16, 2023

Next review due: Mar 16, 2025

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