Lips chapped or cracked (cheilitis) is a very common condition and most people have experienced. Most of these problems can be prevented and treated with simple measures. But under certain conditions when the problem does not go away / persistent, you may need to see a doctor to get proper treatment.


Lips have a thin layer of skin and do not contain oil glands like the skin on other parts so are more susceptible to drought and become chapped or cracked. Usually the bottom lip hit by more severe than the top. It can be caused by a number of factors, including the weather, excessive licking lips, dehydration / fasted and some drugs.
  • Weather: lack of humidity and exposure to sunlight, especially if also dehydrated or fasting.
  • Licking lips: saliva contains acids that help break down food and to reduce moisture and irritate lips.
  • Drugs / supplements: vitamin A / retinoid drugs, lithium (for the treatment of psychiatric problems) and chemotherapy drugs.
In rare circumstances, chapped lips caused by other conditions such as infection, autoimmune disorders, allergies and malnutrition.

Solution and Prevention

Chapped lips can usually be treated at home. Here are the steps you can do to cope with and prevent chapped lips:

Make sure that you have enough moisture lip with:
  • Drink more water.
  • Avoid cold and dry weather. When you are traveling to an area where the air humidity is low, wrap your mouth with a scarf and coat lips with lip gloss (lip balm) or moisturizing lipstick. You can also use vegetable oil, petrolatum (Vaseline) or fish oil to keep the moisture in the lips.
  • Avoid the sun. Your lips do not contain melanin that protects from the sun so it is more flammable than other parts of the skin. When you need to bask in the sun, do prevention with a moisturizer that contains sunscreen SPF = 15 or more.
  • Check toothpaste / mouthwash. When chapped lips, toothpaste / mouthwash containing menthol, eucalyptus, and the like can irritate the lips. For a while, replace it with toothpaste / mouthwash softer.
  • Control instinct to lick your lips are chapped because it will only make it worse.
  • Do not rub, scrape, or bite flaky skin on the lips because it can cause bleeding, infection and slow healing ease.
  • Breathe through your nose. Breathing through the mouth can cause your lips to dry.
Dry lips and chapped usually can be prevented and managed with the simple steps above. If your lips are constantly dry and cracked did not improve with the steps above or have a condition so severe wounds, swollen and bloody in the corners, you should consult your doctor. Chapped lips are chronic and severe may indicate other underlying problems or have been complicated by infection.