Cracked Lip Corners Have So Many Causes—Right here's Tips on how to Deal with Them


Because the temperatures drop and indoor heating cranks up, it’s straightforward to seek out your self revisiting the annual, chilly climate behavior of licking your lips. Although we all know it solely makes issues worse. Whether or not it’s attributable to chilly climate, sunburn, or another aspect, dry, cracked corners of the mouth are supremely uncomfortable. We talked to board-certified dermatologists about what causes this to occur, the right way to stop it, and what to do when it’s already there.

Meet the Professional

  • Amanda Doyle is a New York Metropolis-based dermatologist. She serves as college at Mount Sinai Hospital.
  • Kenneth Howe is a New York Metropolis-based dermatologist who focuses on each aesthetic and medical dermatology. 
  • Marie Hayag is a board-certified dermatologist with Fifth Avenue Aesthetics in New York Metropolis.
  • Orit Markowitz is a New York Metropolis-based board-certified dermatologist who focuses on non-invasive pores and skin most cancers remedy.

What Causes Cracks on the Nook of the Lips?

Dry, cracked corners of the mouth can happen for numerous causes, starting from environmental components to every day habits. For instance, every thing on this (pretty lengthy) record is usually a contributing issue.

  • Chilly climate 
  • Wind publicity
  • Sunburn
  • Vitamin deficiencies (e.g., B1, B2, and B3)
  • Mouth respiration
  • Drooling whereas sleeping 
  • An infection
  • Sure lip shapes (lips that flip downward on the corners)
  • Individuals who have dentures
  • Sure candies and gum
  • Tartar management toothpaste

Dermatologists discuss with this situation as Angular Cheilitis. Basically, it’s a situation that irritates the corners of the mouth, the place our lips create an angle and might be characterised by bleeding, blistering, cracking, itchiness, redness, ache, scaliness, swelling, and burning. 

After we lick our lips, or drool, or principally do something that exposes our mouths to saliva is usually a wrongdoer. It is because the enzymes in saliva could cause the pores and skin to degrade, which, in flip, leaves it weak to an infection and irritation. Basically, New York Metropolis-based, board-certified dermatologist Amanda Doyle explains, “saliva build-up creates cracks and dryness and likewise permits for sure varieties of micro organism and yeast to develop.”

Basically, every thing about our mouths lends itself to this form of downside. As New York Metropolis-based, board-certified dermatologist Kenneth Howe calls it “an ideal storm,” and there are 4 key causes that is the case. To start with, “that is skinny pores and skin,” Howe says, “it’s facial pores and skin, which is thinner, and it’s on/close to our lips, which is even thinner.” Secondly, it’s cellular pores and skin; the truth is, it’s “in all probability probably the most cellular on the physique.” The angles of our mouths are topic to fixed motion, whether or not from speaking, consuming, yawning. “And it’s not simply the easy motion of opening and shutting—the positioning can also be stretched,” Howe explains. Third, “that is moist pores and skin. There’s lots of saliva right here! That moisture can have the impact of rinsing away the protecting lipid barrier on the pores and skin floor. The outcome: much less pliancy. Extra cracking!” and, lastly, this can be a pores and skin fold, and in consequence, “ a pocket can type on the website, which might retain moisture,” Howe says, noting that when that occurs, the pores and skin can turn into irritated or contaminated with yeast.


To forestall this situation, explains New York Metropolis-based, board-certified dermatologist Marie Hayag, “It’s vital to be sure you’re ingesting numerous water and staying well-hydrated.” Making a real behavior of utilizing a thick, occlusive lip remedy can also be key. Although utilizing a lip balm is easy, Howe notes that many have bother making it a real behavior—and for it to work, it does must be. “It’s worthwhile to have a lip balm with you always—refresh and replenish!” he says. And the very fact of the matter is that the selection of lip balm issues too. “Many frequent lip remedies are loaded with preservatives that aren’t good for the pores and skin,” notes New York Metropolis-based, board-certified dermatologist Orit Markowitz. She recommends in search of a thick product with fewer substances and advises making use of earlier than publicity to harsh climate, underneath sunscreen, and growing software whenever you get sick. 

There are additionally sure behavioral changes we are able to make. Doyle recommends “eradicating any residual saliva that builds up on the world in order that it doesn’t pool across the mouth” (dabbing away extra saliva) and placing an occlusive balm (like Vaseline or Aquaphor) on the corners to forestall overdrying.

In some circumstances, Doyle explains, if there are any “anatomical points that might contribute to folds across the mouth or downturned lips,” filler can be utilized to raise the perimeters of the lips and restore quantity, which in flip will help stop pooling of saliva. 

Lastly (though, sure, it’s simpler stated than achieved): cease licking your lips as soon as and for all. Doing this when our lips are already dry and cracked is a pure response—it makes them (briefly) feel and appear higher. “However it makes issues worse—a lot worse—ultimately,” Howe says. “The saliva evaporates and in flip “wicks” moisture off the lips. So we’re drier than we have been, to start with!” he explains. 


If even considerable slathering of lip balm doesn’t work—it’s time to see a board-certified dermatologist. Along with remedies like Vaseline Authentic Petroleum Jelly ($5) and CeraVe Therapeutic Ointment, a dermatologist might prescribe a topical steroid or antifungal remedy to pair with an occlusive balm. Typically these remedies are used twice every day for two-to-four weeks. “If it’s not resolving with this, or there are different indicators and signs of vitamin deficiencies, this must be evaluated to allow them to be addressed as effectively,” Doyle says.  

Keep away from over-the-counter antibiotics like bacitracin or polyisoprene, Markowitz says, including that “as a rule, these could cause an allergic response themselves, typically worsening the problem.” TLDR: earlier than temps get any colder, refill on a kind of large tubs of Aquaphor and use it often and generously!

This Moisturizing Ingredient Would possibly Simply Save Your Winter Pores and skin

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