Dr. Shilesh Iyer is a board-certified dermatologist in private practice in New York City. He has an interest in medical dermatology and cosmetic dermatology with an emphasis on lasers and injectable treatments. Dr. Iyer is a co-founder of myDoqter.com and the myDoqter blog which aims to provide practical information to patients in a concise, clear manner from trusted sources. In this original post, Dr. Iyer discusses some simple tips and best practices to address dry, chapped lips.
In general, dry and chapped lips are a very common problem without any medical significance. Usually due to dry winter and ambient conditions, dry lips and mouth can also be a sign of dehydration so adequate water intake is recommended. Usually, simple over the counter lip products can effectively address the common causes of dry lips but if persistent, further investigation and perhaps a visit to your dermatologist may be warranted.
Dry chapped lips can be uncomfortable and painful especially when cracking and fissuring occurs. Usually over the counter products will alleviate the symptoms but when they do not, it may be prudent to investigate possible underlying causes. Some possible medical conditions that your doctor might consider could include:
Persistent symptoms may require additional testing that can be readily performed by your physician.
Non-healing fissured corners of the lips often can signify a more serious problem characterized by a superinfection of the dry, cracked lips with a yeast called candida. This condition is also known as perleche and can be improved by adding a topical anti fungal cream. In some cases, cold sores may occur in these locations as well so an evaluation with your dermatologist may be required.
I am often asked which lip balm is the most effective. Many preparations are readily available at the drug store and we have all seen the sea of products in the local drug store. They come in a wide array of colors and flavors and sometimes are fun to use. In most cases, any of these products can help. However, there are two caveats:
For a quick overview of some simple measures that can be taken to manage dry lips, review the following:
Following these simple tips can help maintain lip moisturization, especially in the dry cold weather and environments.