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What Causes Cracked Split Lips?

What Causes Cracked Split Lips? What Causes Cracked Split Lips?

Your lips are at a distinct disadvantage compared the rest of your skin because they do not have any oil glands. Lips that are exposed to adverse conditions are more likely to become chapped. Chapped, dry lips may peel, crack and split. Although severe cases of chapped lips, such as angular cheilitis, require treatment by a physician, most cases can be effectively treated at home by addressing the cause and with over-the-counter remedies.

Environmental Conditions

Although your lips may become chapped in any season, chapped lips are more common during the winter months. Lips that are exposed to cold, dry air and wind outside and dry heat inside the house, without the benefit of lip balm, can become chapped. Your lips may become chapped in the dry heat of summer as well. Too much sun exposure can also lead to red, chapped and peeling lips.

Oral Habits

If you have a tendency to lick your lips, they can become chapped; lips that are already chapped for another reason can get worse. Saliva evaporates off the surface of your lips, according to Dr. Lawrence E. Gibson of the Mayo Clinic, leaving little or no moisture behind. Breathing through your mouth can also result in chapped lips.

Side Effects

Some cosmetic products may contain fragrances or dyes that are irritating and can cause your lips to chap. Chapped lips are also a potential side effect of certain medications such as lithium, D-penicillamine and some chemotherapy agents, and supplements such as high doses of vitamin A, according to Skinsight.

Health Conditions

Some health conditions that can lead to chapped lips. Dehydration can result in chapped lips so it is important to drink enough fluids to stay hydrated. Bacterial and fungal infections may also cause chapped lips, also known as cheilitis, and should be treated by a physician. If your lips are always chapped, a visit to your physician to rule out a more serious illness is warranted.

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