Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do my lips peel?"
I'm a 19 yo female, and my lips have been peeling for 3 months. I keep using chap stick and balm, but it isn't helping. I don't bite them unless there's dead skin that's just falling off and then I try to get it off. Why is this happening?
Dry peeling lips are a common complaint, especially during the winter months. Chapped lips aren't only bothersome, they can lead to infection since the natural barrier is broken down so it is important to take care of the problem. It is possible that your condition is just due to environmental factors (dry cold air during the winter, wind, and sun exposure), however, there are some medical problems that could account for your symptoms, especially if this was never a problem for you in the past and it started abruptly 3 months ago. Dry peeling lips (also known as cheilitis) can be a sign of anemia (low blood count), certain vitamin deficiencies, and allergies. Some people are sensitive to certain ingredients in toothpaste so if you switched to a new toothpaste 3 months ago this might be the problem. Make an appointment with your primary care provider or dentist to rule out any medical problems that might be contributing to your problem. In the meantime, here are some general treatments for dry peeling lips. First of all, it is very important to try not to pick at the dead skin as this is causing a vicious cycle. You rip of the dead skin which causes trauma to your lip which makes it even more irritated. Apply a coating of vaseline to your lips several times a day. Gently exfoliate your lips once a day with a clean toothbrush. Use a humidifier to keep the air moist.
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