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What Are the Causes of Cracked Lips?

What Are the Causes of Cracked Lips? What Are the Causes of Cracked Lips? What Are the Causes of Cracked Lips?

Cracked lips are a nuisance and often a symptom of chapped lips. The lip condition can occur at any time of the year and effect people of all ages. The medical term for chapped lips is cheilitis, and most people have suffered from its effects. When the lips are sore, sensitive, rough or cracked, it is likely that an individual is experiencing cheilitis. Harsh weather and certain medical conditions can factor into cracked lips and cause mild to severe reactions.

Environmental Conditions

Environmental conditions play a significant role in cracked lips and its frequency. The lips are more susceptible to drying out and scaling because of changes in weather and harsh environmental conditions. Overexposure to sun, wind or dry conditions can lead to cracked lips. Cold weather and windy condition are most problematic because of evaporation of moisture from the lips that can lead to dehydration. The American Academy of Dermatology explains that the lips do not contain oil glands, so they tend to dry out easily. Wintery conditions can rapidly produce this drying.


Dermatitis is an inflammation that can appear anywhere on the skin. It is the result of reactions to substances or damage caused by irritants. The symptoms of dermatitis include red itchy rashes, scaling, swelling, blisters and sensitive areas. When dermatitis affects the lips, it commonly results from licking the lips too often and with allergens. Saliva acts as an irritant for the lips when excessively licked and dry air is a common predisposing factor, according to Consultant Live. Lip-lickers dermatitis is a result of habitual licking of the lips that removes the thin layer of oil on the lips.


Cracked lips may form from an allergic reaction. Allergies develop from a reaction of the immune system to foreign substances. The immune system attempts to remove a substance from the body and triggers mild to severe allergy responses. Allergens primarily expose to the lips through touch or swallowing a substance. MedlinePlus reports that the mouth is a common site for allergic reactions and symptoms include itchiness, swelling and rash of the lips and tongue. Irritants and allergens in skin-care products and cosmetics can produce cracked lips. Allergic reactions to certain foods may also form chapped lip symptoms. Common food allergies include peanuts, eggs, milk, soybeans, wheat and fish.

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