Navigation Links
Don't Pout About Irritated Lips: Dermatologists Can Offer Top Tips to Help Keep Lips in Tip-Top Shape

SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- While winter's harsh, windy weather is often to blame for dry, cracked lips, sometimes the cause of lip irritation is harder to pinpoint. In fact, several types of foods, cosmetic products, medications or even bad habits have been linked to dry lips. The key is determining the source of the irritation and modifying your daily regimen to eliminate the problem.

Speaking today at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, dermatologist Margaret E. Parsons, MD, FAAD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California at Davis, discussed the most common causes of lip irritation, available treatments and preventative measures to keep lips healthy.

"When I treat a patient for dry lips, the first thing I try to determine is what this patient might be doing or not doing that could be contributing to the problem," said Dr. Parsons. "In some cases, it might be a new lipstick that contains an ingredient irritating to the skin or an anti-aging facial product that inadvertently comes in contact with the lips that could be the culprit. Or, someone might be working outdoors or participating in sports and not protecting their lips from wind and sun damage with a lip balm, especially one with sunscreen. Once we determine the cause, there are some simple, tried-and-true treatments that work well for most patients."

Mother Nature

Dr. Parsons noted that not only can winter's outdoor elements contribute to dry, cracked lips, but the conditions indoors during this season can play a role in irritating the lips. Heat used to warm the indoor temperature dries out the air and lowers the humidity level, which can lead to dry skin and lips. At the other end of the weather spectrum, the intense summer sun can lead to sunburned or sun-irritated lips.

"When working outdoors or engaging in sports, men and women should apply a lip balm with an SPF of 15 or higher year-round to protect their lips from sun damage," said Dr. Parsons. "By wearing lipstick -- particularly the products in recent years with sunscreen -- women have protected their lips better than men, which could explain why men have significantly more skin cancers on their lips than women."


In some cases, products that you put on your lips -- lipsticks, lip balms or the newer lip plumpers, which are applied topically to make lips appear fuller -- can cause dry or irritated lips.

"Lip plumpers often contain chemicals used to intentionally irritate the lips and make them appear fuller, such as capsaicin (derived from chili peppers), mint, or menthol, among others," explained Dr. Parsons. "For some, this irritation is mild, causing a slight swelling and fuller appearance. For others, this irritation is significant and causes painful swelling and redness."

Dr. Parsons added that the ingredient phenol used in some of the traditional lip balms and other lip products can irritate and actually contribute to further drying out the lips. Even though phenol is used in low concentrations in lip products, it is the same chemical used in deep-penetrating facial peels that removes the top layer of skin.


Spicy foods, the acid found in citrus foods and even the cut edge of a mango peel (which contains the chemical toxicodendron found in poison ivy) can burn the lips and lead to dryness and irritation. In addition, people with nut allergies could react to lip products that contain nut-based products, such as shea butter.


Although many people might not suspect their medications to be the root of their lip problems, Dr. Parsons explained that patients who cannot attribute their dry or irritated lips to other common factors should take a close look at their medicine cabinet. For example, some oral acne medications, such as isotretinoin, can cause considerable lip dryness even though they do not come into direct contact with the lips. Products applied topically, such as acne medications containing benzoyl peroxide or retinoids and anti-aging products such as alpha-hydroxy acids or retinoids, could cause considerable lip dryness when they come into contact with the lip area. Vitamin E and aloe vera gel also can be irritating to many people with sensitive skin.

Similarly, patients with eczema or other skin conditions that make the skin more sensitive could be more susceptible to allergic reactions from lip products. Dr. Parsons advised patients with any underlying skin conditions or who regularly use medications to check with their dermatologist to determine if these are contributing factors to their lip problems.


Another cause of dry, chapped lips that is common in younger children is what dermatologists refer to as "lip-smacking." This habit, which can be hard to break the more the lips become irritated, can be formed when children are nervous about something, such as starting school. In particularly bothersome cases, a mild prescription product may be needed to accelerate the healing process.

Tips and Treatments

In most cases, applying petroleum jelly or a lip product containing petrolatum or mineral oil will soothe and heal irritated lips. Dr. Parsons also recommends the following tips to prevent lip irritations and to keep lips healthy and moisturized:

-- Opt for lip products, such as lipsticks or lip moisturizers, which

contain sunscreen whenever possible to protect lips from harmful sun


-- Be smart about what you put on your lips. Avoid lip plumpers or other

products that intentionally irritate lips to make them appear fuller,

as the chemicals they contain can be irritating to some people.

-- Apply a petrolatum-based product at bedtime, which Dr. Parsons refers

to as the perfect time for patients to "grease up" their lips.

-- Choose a simple product with few additives to minimize possible


-- See a dermatologist if lips are not getting better with simple at-home

treatments or if new symptoms develop.

"Caring for your lips shouldn't be an after-thought," added Dr. Parsons. "By incorporating good lip care into your overall skin care regimen, you can maintain healthy lips, avoid some of the common sources of irritation and protect your lip area from possible skin cancers."

Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 15,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or

SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Growing Link Between Diabetes and Periodontal Disease Focus of National Gathering for Health Care Leaders
2. Treating your periodontal pockets may benefit your pocket book
3. Ortho Organizers(R) Announces the Launch of the Ancor Pro(TM) Orthodontic Anchorage System Hands-on Course
4. Survey confirms Americans prefer root canal treatment by endodontists
5. Donate Life America Dispels Myths About Organ & Tissue Donation Among Hispanics During National Hispanic Heritage Month
6. Researchers estimate about 9 percent of US children age 8 to 15 meet criteria for having ADHD
7. New Survey Shows Americans are Still Concerned About Food Safety, Yet Still Not Smart About What They Like to Eat
8. The Philadelphia Walk Now for Autism Expected to Draw 10,000 Walkers and Raise $1 Million to Help Find Answers About the Nations Fastest-Growing Developmental Disorder
9. One of the Largest Post-WHI Physician Surveys Shows More Education is Needed: Patient Misinformation About Hormone Therapy Remains High
10. Middle School Marks Most Critical Time to Start Ongoing Conversations About Drug and Alcohol Use With Kids
11. The 7 Key Questions About the Schwarzenegger/Nunez Health Care Compromise
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, ... ... (AIS) is pleased to announce the speakers for “Value-Based Payer-Provider Partnerships: Three ... learned from three innovative value-based care arrangements: Essentia Health and UCare, MissionPoint ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Vasont Systems, a top component ... (VUI) extension unites with Syncro Soft’s latest software update, oXygen XML editor Version ... with the latest release of oXygen® XML editor and the Vasont® CCMS. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Scott Newman MD, FACS ... select few plastic surgeons in the New York City area to utilize the ... world’s first heat-induced laser treatment for fat loss in the abdomen, flanks, and ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... TransPack Volume 6 features 30 customizable ... from scrolling web-styled transitions to wipes with blur & drop shadow options. Utilize ... Seamlessly transition from one clip to the next with TransPack's easily customizable styles. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... strategic partnership at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2015 conference. ... providers of cutting-edge dictation and speech-enabled documentation software, announced their partnership today ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... iCAD, Inc. (Nasdaq: ICAD ) ... solutions for advanced image analysis and workflow tools ... Radiological Society of North American (RSNA) 2015 Annual ... November 29 to December 4, 2015. The company ... automated breast density assessment solution, PowerLook® Advanced Mammography ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... SALT LAKE CITY , Nov. 30, 2015 ... Systems (NYSE: VAR ) will exhibit a broader array ... meeting of the Radiological Society of North America ... The Varian exhibit at the meeting will feature X-ray components ... Cardinal CT tube, a line of products from Varian,s Claymount ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Nov. 30, 2015  Novartis will demonstrate the strength ... th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting. ... as well as supportive care, including key findings in ... cell therapies. The ASH Annual Meeting will be held ... Novartis Oncology . "We will be presenting ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: