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Peeling Lips

Peeling or chapped lips could be caused due to a wide range of reasons. Here we have provided information on the contributing factors and preventive measures.
Smita Pandit
The skin of the lip is more delicate, when compared to the facial skin. It can become dry and peel due to the moisture loss during winter. Chapped lips not only look bad, they can hurt when you smile. Things can get even worse for those who can't resist the temptation of pulling the dry skin from the lips. It might even lead to bleeding.

Contributing Factors

Harsh Weather

The problem of peeling lips is common in winter. The cold, dry, and windy climate robs the moisture from the skin as well as lips. The lips don't have melanin, which is a pigment that provides protection against the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Prolonged exposure to sun can also cause the lips to dry, which might result in cracked lips. Besides being thin and delicate, the skin on the lips is also devoid of natural oils due to the absence of sebaceous glands. Thus, it can become quite dry.

Reaction to Cosmetic Products

You need to be very careful about the cosmetic products you use. Some women don't even realize that it is their lipstick or lip gloss which is causing an allergic reaction on the lips. Bad quality cosmetics can leave the skin very dry and cause the lip skin to peel.

Reaction to the Toothpaste

It could also be a reaction to sodium lauryl sulfate that might be present in the toothpaste.


Is your intake of fluids enough? If not, you might get dehydrated and this will certainly cause your lips to become chapped. Increase your intake of water, if your mouth and throat feels dry, and your lips are chapped. This will prevent the loss of moisture.

Nutritional Deficiency

Lip skin can become dry and might peel due to a vitamin deficiency. Certain vitamins help in keeping our skin healthy. If your diet is not providing you with the necessary vitamins and minerals, the skin gets affected.
The deficiency of vitamin A, B, C, or E could cause dryness and peeling of the skin on the lips. It might also be accompanied by inflammation or redness of lips.


Since chapped lips are mainly caused due to dehydration, you must drink lots of water to prevent this problem.
One must consume food items that are rich in vitamins A, B, C, and E. So, increase your intake of fresh fruits, leafy vegetables, dairy products, whole grain cereals, fortified bread, egg yolks, and red meat. You must avoid spicy food.
Since lips lack the natural oils that help in retaining moisture, you need to keep your lips moisturized. You could apply petroleum jelly, cocoa butter, vitamin E gel, or aloe vera to moisturize your lips.
Exposure to sun or cold winter winds are known to cause dry lips. Therefore, you must protect the skin during harsh weather. If the skin on your lips is peeling, you must completely avoid licking or biting your lips. Frequent licking would not only adversely affect the healing process, but will certainly worsen the problem.
Refrain from smoking, as that dries the lip skin and contributes greatly to this problem. Cheap cosmetic products use certain chemicals that can make your lips dry, which is why you must use good quality cosmetic products only.
You could also try some home remedies. Take a ripe papaya and mash it. Apply this on your dry lips and wash it off after 15 minutes. The exfoliating enzymes in papaya will certainly soften your cracked lips. Applying honey, clarified butter, or olive oil will also prove beneficial.
If your lips often become dry and chapped, you must protect your lips from harsh weather conditions. Keep your lips moisturized at all times. Make sure that you use a good quality lip makeup products.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.