Chapped Lips Causes Treatment

Chapped Lips: Causes, Picture, Symptoms and Treatment

Chapped Lips or Cheilitis is an inflammation of lips that develops with small cracks, dryness and scaly appearance on lips. Chapped lips may or may not cause swelling or redness but mostly it is a painful condition which gets aggressive in winter season or in cold weather. As this inflammatory condition of lips hampers your appearance as well, so it is very important to get immediate treatment of chapped lips once its symptoms recognized.

This inflammation of lips can develop due to various underlying as well as external reasons as well. Excess sun exposure, cold wind, etc are some external factors that cause dry leaps leading to chapped lips symptoms if persist for a longer duration.

Cracks in lips can develop as a side effect of certain medication intake as well. In those cases, the avoidance of that particular medication provides relief by initiating the healing of chapped lips signs or symptoms. There are several over the counter medications are available which helps to relieve this inflammatory condition of lips.

Other than that one can try many effective natural measures as well to reduce the dryness of lips and for combating the peeling, cracking, redness and painful lips condition. Some people get chapped lips issue in winter season only, whereas some people face this problem around the world irrespective of all seasons.

Angular cheilitis is a very common condition in elder age people which develops at both the corners of the mouth and very uncomfortable one. The treatment aim of this inflammatory condition circulates around early healing by soothing and moisturizing the dry lips. Though you can get its medical treatment or use natural tricks to heal the condition, still it’s better to maintain certain precaution to prevent the chapped lips problem to develop or future recurrence risk.

If over the counter medications or natural measures fails to provide relief from the chapped lips issue then it will be safe to consult with a professional health care provider to recognize whether this condition is occurring because of some underlying problem or not. In that case, necessary treatment is a must to avoid chronically chapped lips risk.


Chapped lips issue develops generally because of the following reasons or causes-

Lip Licking

Lip licking or lip biting is the most common reason behind the growth of chapped lips condition. Licking can occur as a reaction of certain stress or anxiety or maybe just as a bad habit of a person.

This activity causes evaporation of existing saliva on lips leaving it dehydrated, peeling and painful thereon. The lips get reddish, cracks and can even bleed as well. Peeling lips create more urge to bite which further makes the lips condition worst.

Though chapped lips can occur at any age however cheilitis caused by lip-licking is mostly seen in children aging between 7 to 15 years.

Medication’s Reaction

Drugs-induced chapped lips develop because certain medications intake causes dehydration in lips which further develops the cheilitis symptoms. Retinoid such as acitretin and isotretinoin are the most common drugs induced condition of chapped lips.

Apart from this other medication which contains the risk of developing chapped lips inflammatory condition includes chemotherapeutic agents (actinomycin and (busulfan), phenothiazine, d-penicillamine, lithium, isoniazid, medications for high blood pressure, nausea, acne and excess doses of Vitamin A intake, etc.

Mouth Breathing Habit

Human beings are supposed to breathe through the nose but sometimes due to certain underlying conditions or due to other external factors, people tend to breathe through the mouth instead of nose especially during sleep.

Sleeping with an open mouth can cause your lips dry by evaporating the existing saliva in it which develops a favorable condition for dry lips leading to cracks, peel and pain occurs.

Sun Exposure

Lips are the most delicate or tender area of your whole body which have a very thin layer of skin. So the risk of its damage remains too high than any other area of your body in an unfavorable environmental condition.

This is the reason it easily gets damaged in dry winter air or due to excessive sun exposure. To prevent this condition it is very important to use a protective layer of lip balm all the time on your lips especially when you are out of your home for a very long duration.

Using a humidifier to maintain the room or home temperature in the normal level can also reduce your risk of getting dry lips or chapped lips condition.

Nutrient Deficiency in Body

The human body needs a proper amount of nutrients in the form of food intake or in supplement forms not only for their healthy survival but also for ensuring a charming and beautiful appearance as well.

This will be only possible when your most external layer of the body that is skin will be fully moisturized, smoother and toned. So when a nutrient or vitamins deficiency occurs in the body it reflects its effect in the form of dry lips and dryness in overall skin.

Chapped lips condition often develops as a deficiency of lower levels of B vitamins, zinc and iron leading to cracks at the corners of the mouth. Necessary changes in diet can subside these symptoms of dry lips by nourishing your lips from deep inside.


Drinking enough amount of water is the vital necessity or requirement of a healthy body and its scarcity can give birth to several diseases and unfavorable conditions. Out of the long list of health-related benefits by drinking plenty amount of water your healthy lips appearance and health is one.

In the lack of enough amount of water in the body, your body gets dehydrated which reflects its effect in the form of chapped lips symptoms. You can maintain the necessary level of water in the body via drinking enough amount of water and also by eating watery fruits and vegetables which also fulfills the necessity of water level in the body and doesn’t let it dehydrated leading to dry lips and other chapped lips signs.

Hormonal Changes, Illness, and Diseases

Certain hormonal changes in the body can affect your lip’s health leading it dry, scaly, reddish and painful. This is mostly seen in the cases of menopausal women because estrogen level in the body drops drastically leading to frequent cracks and dry lips and skin problem.

Illness or some diseases can also cause dryness and cracks in your mouth corner and other signs of chapped lips. Though disease induced chapped lips is not a very common condition but may develop in the cases of a certain disease or health conditions.

These diseases include candida overgrowth, impetigo, thyroid disorders, herpes infection, Kawasaki disease, etc.

Toothpaste or Lip Product’s Reactions

People who have sensitive skin type easily get affected by the allergic reactions caused by the use and application of some toothpaste and lip products.

This happens because the ingredients used in the preparation of those toothpaste and lip products are not suitable for their sensitive lip’s skin leading to mild allergy causing chapped lips issue.

Also, usage of lip plumper can irritate your lips, especially in the cases of women with sensitive skin type. In those cases, one should avoid using plumpers. Also use toothpaste and lip products which contain natural ingredients such as neem rich toothpaste, aloe vera-rich lip products, etc.

Irritating Foods Intake

Certain foods intake can easily irritate your lips causing it rough, dry and cracking such as spicy foods, salty foods, acidic foods, etc. So for the safer side, one should eat these foods carefully so that it doesn’t contact your lips area.

Also avoiding them for some time can relieve you from pain, peeling and cracking lips problem and promotes faster healing.

Symptoms of Chapped Lips

treatment of chapped lipsChapped lips or Cheilitis is an inflammatory lips condition which develops with following symptoms

  • Scaling or patches in lips
  • Cracks or Fissures in lip corner
  • Swelling (mild to moderate level)
  • White, Red or scaly patches over lips
  • Painful cracks
  • Bleeding (not a common scenario)
  • Lower lips lines get less visible in the cases of advanced AC.


The treatment of chapped lips will depend upon the underlying cause behind this inflammatory condition. Mostly chapped lips develop in the mild form which gets relieved with frequent application of sunburn or windburn protective, soothing, and nourishing lip balms or lip care products.

In the cases of Angular cheilitis, lesions at the mouth corners are treated with the prescribed topical antifungal such as econazole, clotrimazole, nystatin, etc. Chapped lips caused by lip licking or biting are relieved by avoiding licking or biting of lips.

Drug-Induced chapped lips are treated by avoiding the use of concerned drugs or using any other alternate medication instead of that particular medication after proper consultation with the doctor. Also, the application of Vaseline petroleum jelly can help in faster healing of cracked or peeled mouth corners or lips.

Chapped lips caused by dehydration or due to mouth breathing can be relieved with excess intake of water to keep your lips and body hydrated and by avoiding breathing through the mouth. In such cases, the patient should take necessary medications to relieve stuffy nose issue if this is causing you to breathe through the mouth instead of the nose during nights.

In the cases of lesions at the lower lip’s inner border or Actinic Cheilitis special therapy is used for freezing the affected area. Apart from this in such cases, topical chemotherapy is also given along with topical drugs which directly stimulates the immune system of the body such as immunomodulator.

Home Remedies

Other than the over the counter medications some natural and homemade tricks can also help you to replenish the moisture level of your lips for reducing dryness, scaling and cracks caused by chapped lips issue.

Some effective homemade remedies are mentioned below which can relieve your chapped lips symptoms naturally and will prevent its recurrence in the future if you maintain these care regularly.

Use Natural Balms or Oil for Moisturizing Lips

You can soothe and moisturize your lips naturally by using some skin-friendly ingredients available in your kitchen itself. These natural lip balms not only save your money that you would spend for buying expensive lip products but also contains high natural healing properties that promote faster healing of your cracked and dry lips.

Some common natural ingredients or natural balms that you can apply in your lips directly include coconut oil, green tea, honey, aloe vera gel, cucumber, etc. These natural products are rich in natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, exfoliating and moisturizing properties.

Apply them before bedtime in nights and more frequently during the day time to stimulate the healing process of your damaged or affected lips. It will soothe and moisturizes your lips naturally and ensure smoother, glowing and beautiful lips appearance naturally.

Drink Plenty Amount of Water

Lack of necessary level of water in the body can lead you dehydrated which develops with symptoms like dry skin, dizziness, thirst, dry mouth, and headache. Dehydration is the most common reason for the chapped lips condition.

So to avoid this issue drink plenty amount of water throughout the day so that your body doesn’t get a chance to dehydrate leading to dryness in lips. At the lower level of dehydration, you won’t feel any symptoms but persistent dehydration or scarcity of water level in the body can reflect its effect by causing your lips and skin dry and cracking.

This happens because your body fulfills the scarcity of water by taking water level from different areas of the body to keep your cells hydrated. The necessity of water level in your body varies depending upon your daily life physical activities.

People who are more physically active their body secretes more fluid in the form of sweats etc. so these people need more water intake to keep their body and lips hydrated. Basically, 7 to 8 glasses of water are suggested for a healthy body and for preventing chapped lips problem.

Use Lip Balms Frequently

Lip balms help to maintain the moisture level of your lips and doesn’t let it dry or dehydrate which can further cause chapped lips issue. However, you have to be very sure regarding the ingredient content of a lip balm.

Always prefer a lip balm rich with natural ingredients such as aloe vera, cocoa, natural oils, etc. Also, you should use a lip balm several times in a day especially in winter season when dryness issue is very common due to dry environmental weather.

Apply lip balm before bedtime as it helps to heal your cracked and scaly lips during the resting hours in the night. Frequent application of lip balm will relieve you from the pain caused by chapped lips however the improvement in your lips appearance can be seen after 2 to 3 days of consistent and frequent use of lip balm.

Exfoliate Your Lips

Lips affected with cheilitis are generally covered by the dry layer of skin which obstructs the absorption of healing ingredients existing in lips balms to reach the area which is needed to be healed. However, this problem can be relieved with proper exfoliation of your chapped lips.

Just like you use homemade remedies or tricks to exfoliate your facial skin similarly you can use some safe and healthy ingredients to exfoliate dry and dead skin layers from your lips so that the healing properties of lip balms or natural lip remedies can perform its healing work to ensure a smoother and moisturized lips.

Also, you can use lip scrub available in the market which is rich with gentle ingredients such as sugar or baking soda to exfoliate your lips and relieve the symptoms of chapped lips.

Eat Enough Nutrients

Scarcity of enough level of nutrients in the body can also cause chapped lips problem. So to relieve nutrient deficiency induced chapped lips problem you should increase your daily nutrient intake.

Foods which can increase the moisture level of your lips and relieve from the symptoms of chapped lips include beef, red meat, oysters, dark leafy green vegetables, pumpkin seeds, whole grains, beans, juicy fruits, grass-fed butter, olive oil, coconut oil, etc.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is considered as one of the primary lifestyle factors that can cause your lips dry and irritating leading to chapped lips issue. This particularly happens because smoking evaporates the natural level of moisture or saliva from your lips leaving it dry and cracking.

So to avoid this concern and speeding up the healing process of the chapped lips issue, quit smoking if you are a smoker. You can take the help of counseling or other coping remedies to deal with the symptoms developing during the leaving process of smoking or tobacco.

Chapped lips problem can develop to anyone at any stage of life so it is very important to maintain precautions in order to avoid its growth risk. However, if it develops the necessary treatment of chapped lips must be given to the affected person without making delay to avoid its chronic symptoms.

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