ZocdocAnswersWhy are my lips so chapped?

Question

Why are my lips so chapped?

I've heard people complain about having chapped lips but never really had that problem before. Now it seems like everyday when I wake up my lips are dry and cracked but it goes away during the day and then comes back in the morning. What is this?

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you are having such trouble with chapped lips! This can be a very frustrating and uncomfortable problem. However, fortunately, most of the time it can be cleared up quickly with simple remedies. Chapped lips tend to occur in the winter, because the cold and dry air irritates the skin of the lips. As the lips dry out, they become itchy and red, which leads us to lick them frequently to relieve the itching. Unfortunately, the licking ends up drying out the lips even more, creating a vicious cycle. Chapped lips symptoms can be worse at night, because the air in our homes when the heat is running can be very dry. Most of the time, chapped lips will respond to a combination of trying really hard not to lick or pick at the lips, together with very frequent application of a good chapstick or lip moisturizer. If this doesn't work, however, you could consult with your primary care doctor, who can make sure that there is nothing else going on, such as eczema, that might require more aggressive treatment with a prescription topical medication. Make an appointment with your doctor at your convenience!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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