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Causes of Dark Chapped Lips

Causes of Dark Chapped Lips Causes of Dark Chapped Lips

The lips are a sensory organ, which do not receive much protection. The lips only have a thin layer of skin and do not have sweat glands, so they lack layers of protection like other parts of the body. Physiologically, the lips predispose to dryness and because of this, most people have suffered from dry lip issues. Water loss is three to ten times higher on the lips than other parts of the face or body, according to Cosmetic Cop. Although there may be more severe underlying causes of why your lips become dark, dry and chapped, there are common causes.


The body needs enough fluids to sustain the amount of fluids leaving the body. Dehydration occurs when the amount of fluids leaving the body is greater than what the body is taking in. Loss of water and important blood salts like potassium and sodium, leave the body unable to reduce toxins as well as keep the system lubricated. Symptoms of dehydration consist of chapped lips, dry mouth, skin flushing, thirst and head rushing among other symptoms.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin caused by an allergy-causing substance or irritant. The irritants or allergens in skin-care products and cosmetics can result in contact dermatitis on the lips. Dermatitis on the lips also result from saliva when licking the lips too often. Constant moisture and chemicals in the saliva break down the skin, causing the dermatitis, says Pediatrics for Parents. The symptoms of contact dermatitis are dark sports, skin rashes limited to the exposed areas, dry patches, pain and tenderness.

The Sun

Sun exposure can contribute to dark, chapped lips. The lips are more susceptible to burning and becoming dehydrated because they do not possess an adequate shield from the sun. Melanin is a natural pigment in the skin that helps protect it from the sun, and the lips have almost no melanin for protection. When the lips ared exposed to too much sun, they also face collagen being altered, resulting in lips becoming less resilient and prematurely aging. Blistex reports that an estimated 3,500 new cases of skin cancer of the lips are reported each year, and 90 percent of those cancers are squamous cell carcinoma.

Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin deficiencies can cause reduced cellular hydration and dark, chapped lips. Deficiencies of certain vitamins such as the lack of B-complex vitamins and iron can cause scaling of the lips and cracking at the comers of the mouth. Other nutritional and vitamin deficiencies that cause dark, chapped lips are from lack of vitamins A, C, riboflavin, calcium and magnesium, among others. Speaking to a doctor can help you find what foods and vitamins can protect the lips from spotting and chapping.

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