ZocdocAnswersWhat causes dry mouth, dry Lips, and dry skin?

Question

What causes dry mouth, dry Lips, and dry skin?

I have been struggling with dry mouth, dry lips, and dry skin most of my adult life. At first, my doctor thought my dry mouth was caused by anxiety, but it does not make sense why I also have dry lips and skin. My lips are almost always cracked and bleeding, regardless of the weather conditions or how often I use chapped sticks. My skin is similarly dry, although they do not tend to crack in the summer time, unlike my lips. I drink plenty of water each day (typically 8-10 cups), and I also take fish oil and Vitamin E.

Answer

Many people who have chronic dry skin end up having a condition called eczema. This is a condition in which the skin lacks natural substances which keep it moisturized, and this leads to cracking, dryness, and itching. Fortunately, there are excellent treatments available for eczema, so you should definitely discuss these problems with your primary care doctor. The mainstay of treating eczema involves keeping the skin well hydrated and moisturized. In addition to avoiding irritating soaps and chemicals and excessive exposure to hot water, this requires frequent application (multiple times per day) of a good skin moisturizer. Most people use standard creams or lotions, but these usually are not thick enough to have the right effect. It is better to use something like hydrolated petrolatum, which is very thick and greasy and therefore protects the skin better. In addition to moisturizer, controlling eczema usually requires applying a steroid cream to the more persistent areas of cracked and itching skin. This should be done with the help of your doctor. Most of the effective creams are by prescription only, and you will need to have some advice about treating areason the face, as steroid creams have to be used cautiously on the face.

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

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