ZocdocAnswersWhat's wrong with my chapped and red lips?

Question

What's wrong with my chapped and red lips?

I noticed that on my top lip, not above but the actual lip, has a red mark starting from the middle and going outwards but not across the whole lip. It isn't raised and I don't have any bumps or sores. It just seems really chapped and if I don't moisturize it then it will get a little flaky. It does sort of become warm when it initially occurs, not burning...just warm, but I use lip balm and abreva and it seems to moisturize it some. I'm just really worried its something that is never going to go away....in that case I hope it never gets bad enough to scab or anything like that, even though it sucks, I guess I can deal with a little redness and chapped lips for a few days.

Answer

Thanks for your question, and sorry to hear about your prolonged problem. I recommend that you speak with your doctor. Red and chapped lips can come from many different sources, of course. The most common is the simple dryness that comes from being slightly dehydrated. After that, it is also quite common to have irritation and abrasion of the lips that can make them more sensitive. For this sort of complaint, lip balms and other ointments that help to trap in the natural moisture of the lips can help them to heal. In situations where something does not respond quickly to such conservative care, or when it comes back continually, it is important to be cognizant of the fact that there can be other explanations that require more aggressive intervention. For example, there are some nutritional deficiencies that can cause lip pain and problems. Usually, this sort of problem will begin at the corners of the mouth, and often it will respond readily to an appropriate diet or vitamin supplementation. In other cases, the persistent irritation can be a sign of something wrong with the lips themselves, or the skin of the lip. In the worst cases, this can be a sign of a cancer. Please speak with your doctor about this.

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

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