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Causes of Dry & Cracked Lips

Causes of Dry & Cracked Lips Causes of Dry & Cracked Lips Causes of Dry & Cracked Lips

Dry and cracked lips can result from a variety of conditions that also cause dry mouth. When the mouth and lips are dry, there is generally a lack of sufficient saliva to keep the mouth and lips moist. This condition can have a detrimental effect on teeth, because saliva helps to remove plaque and food that causes tooth decay. Saliva also helps to limit the growth of bacteria.


Many medications can cause the dry mouth, from which dry and cracked lips can develop. Decongestants and antihistamines are two types of drugs that can have this effect. Other types of medications that can cause lips to become dry and cracked are muscle relaxants and drugs used to treat high blood pressure. Anti-diarrhea medications and drugs used to treat urinary incontinence can also result in dry and cracked lips. Some of the drugs that are used in the treatment of depression and anxiety can cause dry mouth. Medicine used to treat Parkinson's disease can also result in dry and cracked lips.


The use of tobacco can result in dry mouth, which can result in dry and cracked lips. This can result from tobacco that is smoked or tobacco that is chewed.

Environmental Conditions

Too much exposure to sunlight or to cold wind can result in dry and cracked lips. Cold air has less capacity to hold moisture and is usually drier than warmer air. Dry and cracked lips from environmental conditions can be hastened when the body is dehydrated.

Cancer Treatment

Drugs that are used in chemotherapy can alter the amount of saliva produced and also change the nature of saliva. This can have a drying effect on the mouth, causing dry and cracked lips. Also, radiation treatment in the neck or head area can damage the saliva glands, which could lessen the amount of saliva production.

Medical Conditions

There are certain medical conditions, along with their treatments, which can reduce the amount of saliva produced and result in dry and cracked lips. These medical conditions include Sjogren's syndrome and diabetes. Also, snoring and breathing with an open mouth can result in dry mouth and dry and cracked lips.

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