ZocdocAnswersAre peeling lips a sign of dehydration?

Question

Are peeling lips a sign of dehydration?

My lips have started to peel this summer and I think it's because I'm not drinking enough water. Could this be the cause of my troubles?

Answer

Acute dehydration can cause peeling of the lips. However, this doesn't sound like what is going on with you as this is more of a chronic problem for you over the last several weeks. There are several potential causes. The most simple would be that you have some sun damage to your lips, like a sunburn of the lips. This can be helped by applying a good moisturizing lip ointment with a good SPF rating. You should also avoid picking at or peeling away the areas of dry skin, as this will make the lips more irritated and delay healing. Another possibility is eczema of the lips. This can often also be treated just with a moisturizing lip ointment, although more severe or persistent cases may require a steroid cream or ointment. You should talk to your primary care doctor or dermatologist if you think this might be going on. Finally, redness and irritation at the corners of the mouth only might be a condition known as angular cheilitis, which is sometimes caused by a vitamin deficiency and other times by a fungal infection. If lip moisturizing does not clear things up, then start by talking with your doctor who will help you figure out what to do next.

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

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.