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What Are the Causes of Chapped Lips?

What Are the Causes of Chapped Lips? What Are the Causes of Chapped Lips? What Are the Causes of Chapped Lips?

Almost everyone experiences chapped lips at one time or another. People may experience chapped lips, with their lips becoming red, dry and cracked, as a result of decreased moisture in the body, according to the University of Alabama Birmingham. Dry, cracked and irritated lips can make smiling, laughing or talking difficult. While the exact cause of chapped lips varies, it is believed that environmental factors often play a significant role in their development.


The primary cause of chapped lips is exposure to seasonal elements. Prolonged exposure to the sun, wind or cold weather can dry out the lips and cause them to crack. One of the most exposed parts of the body are the lips, so they tend to dry out more quickly than other parts of the body. Dry air can also deplete the lips of moisture, causing them to dry out and split.

Lip Licking

People who constantly lick their lips may be at risk for chapped lips, according to Go Ask Alice!, a website provided by the Health Services of Columbia University. Chapped lips can occur when the natural oils are repeatedly licked off the lips. People tend to lick their lips when they feel dry, which further depletes the moisture in the lips and causes them to crack. A person may lick her lips in an effort to replace lost moisture, but saliva evaporates quickly causing her lips to become painfully chapped.


Chapped lips may occur when the lips become inflamed, referred to as cheilitis, causing the corners of the mouth to become painful, irritated, red, cracked and scaly, according to The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library. This condition may be caused by a vitamin B2 deficiency or when ill-fitting dentures do not separate the jaws properly, causing friction and irritation in the corners of the mouth and around the lips.


A common cause of chapped lips is dehydration. Dehydration occurs when the body is depleted of moisture. Inadequate water intake or certain medications can dry out the lips, causing them to crack and bleed. The Institute for Integrative Healthcare Studies states that people who breathe out of their mouth due to allergies or nasal obstruction may experience chapped lips when the tissue around their mouth dries out and cracks.

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