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Dry Skin in the Corners of the Mouth


Dry skin in the corners of the mouth can be irritating and unattractive. Skin conditions and various other factors may contribute to cracks, sores and a possible rash-like appearance around your mouth. Remedies available to relieve dry, red skin near your lips will vary depending on the source of dryness.


Dermatitis is defined as an inflammation of the skin. Perioral dermatitis is a common skin condition that causes a tender, bumpy rash to appears around the corners of the mouth. One percent of the U.S. population is afflicted with it. The rash may itch and cause a burning sensation. Oral products that contain fluoride, topical corticosteroids and certain moisturizers and may cause perioral dermatitis.


Dry mouth occurs when you are not producing an adequate amount of saliva. Symptoms of dry mouth can include cracked lips, split skin and tender sores around the corners of your mouth, according to the Mayo Clinic. Antidepressant medications, antihistamines, decongestants and drugs used to treat urinary incontinence can cause dry mouth.

A vitamin deficiency or chapped lips can also cause dry, cracked skin in the corners of the mouth, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, or AAFP.

Psychological Factors

Stress can make your skin more sensitive and may worsen dermatitis, fever blisters and other skin conditions, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, or AAD. People who are stressed may be less inclined to follow their normal skin care routines and/or more prone to rubbing or scratching skin, either of which can make skin more vulnerable to problems.


The oral antibiotic tetracycline is the first line of treatment for perioral dermatitis, according to the Mayo Clinic. Your health care provider may also prescribe a mild corticosteroid cream.
Sipping on water, sucking on sugar-free hard candies or chewing sugar-free gum may help relieve symptoms of dry mouth. A room humidifier can add moisture to the air and ease dryness.

Regularly taking riboflavin, also known as vitamin B12, or a multivitamin may relieve cracks or open sores in the corners of your mouth that are caused by a nutritionally deficient diet, according to the AAFP. Regularly apply generous amounts of lip balm can help ease chapped lips and dryness in the corners of your mouth.

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, mediation and yoga may help decrease stress, which is related to skin problems (see References).


Contact your health care provider if a sore on your mouth or lips won't heal. It could be a sign of oral cancer, according to the AAFP.

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