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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Chapped Lips
      Category : Health Centers > Mouth and Teeth (Oral and Dental)

Chapped Lips

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Chapped lips are a result of very dry skin on the lips. Dry skin occurs when the moisture, or water, content of the skin is decreased for any reason.

What is going on in the body?

The surface of the skin holds a certain amount of water. When the water content decreases, the skin becomes dry, itchy, and uncomfortable. Some people have extremely sensitive skin that is easily irritated. Since a person's lips are often exposed to elements such as cold and moisture, the lips may become irritated before other parts of the body do.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Some individuals have a genetic predisposition to dry skin. As people age, their skin tends to become drier. Dry air, resulting from winter's low humidity and the use of indoor heat, can cause skin to dry out. Long, hot baths and showers can also make skin dry.

Following are factors that increase a person's risk of chapped lips:

  • prolonged exposure to cold, dry weather
  • sunburn or windburn
  • smoking
  • a history of a skin disorder, such as eczema
  • a habit of licking the lips frequently
  • certain medications, such as those used to treat acne
  • allergic reactions to cosmetics or skin care products
  • dehydration


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    Chapped Lips: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Lynn West, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/28/01

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