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Dry Patches on Lip, Pictures, Causes, Not Cold Sore, Eczema, Cancer, Get Rid, Treatment & Home Remedies

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Having dry patches on lip may be an indication of a mild or serious condition. Although cold sores are common causes of dry lip patches, they may be as a result of other causes. The dry skin on your lips appear scaly and may also peel. Explore the possible causes of dry patches on lips, pictures and how to get rid of them with treatments and home remedies.

Signs and Symptoms

Soft and attractive lips can make you feel happy and proud. However, dry scaly lips can really embarrass you to your peers and friends who have very attractive lips than yours. The embarrassment of having dry patchy lips can limit your freedom to interact with your friends hence it can lower your self-esteem.

In addition, signs and symptoms of dry patches on lip can hurt and lead to a discomfort. Dry cracked lips can also cause difficulties in eating or speaking. It became, even more, annoyance when dry lips prevent you from kissing.

Dry patches on lip - chapped lips
Dry patches on lip

Signs and symptoms of dry patches on the skin of the lips include the following:

  • A feeling of tightness in lower and upper lip
  • Tiny deep cracks on skin of the lips
  • Scaly dry rough lips with gray patches
  • Dry mouth with less saliva to moisten the oral cavity
  • white, yellow, pink, red, dark, or brown dry patches on the vermilion zone of lips
  • Tiny itchy dry bumps, blisters that crust on shallow groove of the lips
  • Whitish scale-like skin on corners of the lips

Signs and symptoms of dry patches on the surface of the lips are not the same. They can vary from one individual to another depending on their causes.

Causes of Dry Patches on Lip

Dry spot or patches on the lips are common problems that can occur on the lips of anybody. There are several factors that can result to dry patchy lips.

Here include some of the causes of dry spots or patches on the lips:

1. Dry environment

The external environment can cause your lips to develop dry patches. Dry and hot weather condition can cause the dehydration of the skin. Exposure to dry air can increase the rate of skin dehydration that can make your lips to become dry or chapped.

The internal body environment such as dehydration of body fluids can result in dryness of the skin including your lips. Body dehydration can occur because of inadequate intake water. Dry patches on the surface of the lips are clear signs that can appear due to dehydration of the body water.

2. Hot bath or shower

Washing your face with hot water can burn the delicate thin mucous membrane that covers your lips. Also, hot water may remove all the natural skin oil that protects the lips from becoming dehydrated or dry. Taking hot bath or shower is one of the risk factors that can cause red, itchy and dry lips.

3. Sun damage

The lips are covered by a delicate thin mucous membrane that can be damaged by sunlight. The sun contains harmful UV rays that can cause sunspots on the surface of the skin. Your lips can also be affected by direct sunlight to cause dry dark spots such as solar keratosis and Melasma.

Dry patches on lip - sunburned
dry patches on sunburned lips

The heat energy from the sun can also increase the latent heat of vaporization on the skin tissue that initiates the skin of the lips to lose moisture content.  A dry hot day with relatively high temperature can encourage the formation of dry patchy lips.

4. Cold sore or fever blisters

Dry patches on the lips can as a consequence of having a cold sore infection.  This infection apart from causing your lips to drying off, it also manifests itself by showing up yellow fluid-filled blisters that can show up on lips, nose and inside the mouth cavity.

Dry patches on lip - cold sore
Cold sore dry patches on lip

A cold sores blister has five characteristic stages that you can experience during the outbreak of the infection. The first stage is tingling that accompanied by dry itchy lips, and then blistering stage occurs. The blister burst and weep out clear fluids, crust over the skin and finally heals.

Cold sore is a contagious viral infection caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). The virus is also known as oral herpes virus. This infection can be transmitted easily from infected person to others through contaminated saliva, kissing process and sharing the same utensil like a glass of water.

5. Eczema on the lip

Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that damages the skin tissue to develop patches that appear dry with red rough spots. It also causes intense itchiness of the skin with inflammations. The condition can show up anywhere on your body skin. However, it commonly affects face, scalp, elbow, and knees.

Eczema on the face can as well result in dry patches on lip line or the entire vermilion zone of the lips. This infection is characterized by rashes on the skin of the upper lip or lower lip that finally result in the scaly cracked skin on the lips.

Dry patches on lip - eczema
Eczema on lip

The main cause of this infection is not clearly known but according to the dermatologists, eczema is associated with autoimmune disorders that affect skin tissue. Also, the environmental factors are attributed to encouraging the development of eczema on the lips.

Dry patches on lip - eczema
Eczema on lip

The risk factors that encourage eczema include;

  • Allergens that include dust, pollen, and mold
  • Irritants such harsh chemical in detergents and soaps
  • Microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, and fungi
  • Stress that weaken body immune system
  • Change of hormones especially during pregnancy period and menstrual cycle.

The condition can be treated by a combination of special medical treatment from the doctor. Corte steroid creams, antibiotics, antihistamine, and laser treatment are some of the methods that can be used to control and treat eczema on the skin.

6. Psoriasis on lip

Psoriasis can also affect the mucous membrane of the lips to develop dry itchy patches. This infection can also occur in other parts of the skin such as scalp, face, neck, arms, and feet.

Dry patches on lip -psoriasis
Dry patches on lip due to psoriasis

Psoriasis can show up as silvery white patches that sometimes vary in color from pink to red thick patches.

7. Change of body hormones

The sudden change of body hormones has a direct effect on the mucous membrane of the lips. Dry or scaly patchy lips might be the consequence of hormone fluctuation in the body system. For instance, sudden decline of thyroid hormone can result in a condition known as hypothyroidism that can lead to dry lips with white dots or patches.

8. Medications

The use of certain medicinal drugs might have a side effect on the mucous membrane of the lips to develop dry dark patches. For example, a strong antibiotic that is used to treat underlying condition in the body can affect your facial skin including the lips to dry up resulting formation of scale or dry patches on lip.

9. Allergic reaction

Dry patches on your lip might be the consequence of allergic reaction. Direct contact with your lips with a strange substance that can stimulate allergic reaction might result in skin condition known as irritant contact dermatitis.

Dry patches on lip - cheilitis
Dry patches on lip due to allergies

Eating substance that can irritate your lips such as too salty food, spicy and raw tubers can also cause your lip to develop dry patches. Some lipsticks and other facial makeup can also result to an allergic reaction on lips.

10. Fungal infection

Oral thrush is a known fungal or yeast infection that can cause dry patches on lip. Typically, this infection affects the oral cavity to develop white patches. These white patches can as well affect the outside skin of lips to become chapped.

Tinea versicolor is another fungal infection that can cause dry patches on your lips and on other parts of the skin. Tinea versicolor can cause itchy dry flat white patches on the face that extend to the vermilion zone of the lips.

11. Bacterial infection

The habit of licking your lips frequently can soften the lip skin to allow bacteria to enter into the tissue around the mouth. Staphylococcus aureus bacteria can attack the skin of the lower lip and upper lip that can cause dry patches on lip.

Dry patches on lip - bacteria
Dry patches on lip due to bacteria

12. Cancer of the lip

Skin cancer and oral cancer is a chronic infection that can affect the skin of the lips to develop dry patches.

Dry patches on lip - cancer
Lip cancer

The cancerous condition on the lips can result in various dry deep cracks on the lips that can bleed easily if something touches.

13. Intake of too much of vitamin A

Taking too much of vitamin A into your body system can lead to toxicity. Skin peeling and dry cracks on the skin including the lips can occur due to vitamin A toxicity in the body. Most of the food components contain vitamin A. supplementing your diet with a lot of vitamin A might result in dry patchy lips.

14. Other cause

Any underlying condition in the body that can cause body dehydration can also affect the skin of the lips to dry up. The following include other factors that can cause dry marks on the lips:

  • Kawasaki diseases
  • Deficiency of nutrients
  • Angular cheilitis
  • Cholera
  • Body stress and fatigue
  • Diabetes

Dark Dry Patches on Lip

Dark dry patches on lower lip or upper lip is a common problem that can occur to anybody. Dark dry marks on lips can also appear as brown dots, red or black depending on your skin tone. Black dry spots on the lip are often accompanied by deep cracks and scaly skin.

Dry patches on lip - dark
Dark dry patches on lip

Darks dry spots on lips can appear due to various causes that we have already discussed. For more emphasis, sun damage, allergy reactions, injuries, and medication are some of the factors that can lead to dark dry patchy lips.

Focusing on sun damage, the acute effect of UV rays from the sun can result in skin condition such as actinic keratosis and Melasma. These conditions are characterized by dark patches on the face including the skin of the lower and upper lip.

If you noticed any small dark dry patches on your lip, no need to worry a lot because they might be amid skin condition that can face away without medical treatment. Under rare cases, dark spots marks on the lips might be signs of a serious skin condition that needs medical attention.

Dry Patches on Lip Pictures

How do dry patches on the lip look like? Clear pictures are provided in this post to show you how dry marks on the lips look like. These pictures elaborate and explain more about the visual appearance of dry patches on the lip for more understanding.

Dry Patches on Lower Lip

The lower lip is more susceptible to develop dry patches compared to the upper lip. This is because the lower lip can be licked by the tongue several times that makes it more delicate to skin infections and irritations that might result to dry patches.

Dry spots on lower lips are usually associated with dehydration of the body or dry weather condition. Although other causes that we have already discussed can also result to dry patches on your lower lip. You can prevent and help to keep your lower lip soft by using skin moisturizer or lip balm.

Dry Patches on Upper Lip

Dry patches on the upper lip can appear on your vermilion zone and on a shallow grove of the lip. Dry marks on upper lip can either occur on the entire skin of the vermilion zone or can affect a small part of the lip. These dry patches can also result in the dry skin above the upper lip.

The sudden appearance of strange dry patches on your upper lip might be the consequence of mild or a serious skin condition.it is advisable to visit your dermatologist when your upper lip has a chronic dry patch that has refused to go away.

Dry Patches on Lip Not Cold Sore

Cold sore is a known oral infection that can cause dry patches on the skin of lip. According to Mayo Clinic, dry patches on the skin of the lip might not always be a sign of cold sore. Other factors like dry air, body dehydration, eczema, skin cancer and fungal infection can as well cause chapped lips.

It is important for you to differentiate clearly dry patches on the skin of the skin of lips that are not signs of a cold sore. In comparison with other infection that causes dry spots the on the lip, the outbreak of cold sore is always accompanied with yellow blisters that burst, ooze out fluids and finally crust over on the lip.

How to Get Rid of Dry Patches on Lip

How do I get rid of dry skin on my lips? There several methods that you can use to remove dry patches on your lips. You can use home remedies for mild skin conditions like allergy reaction, fungal infection and bacterial infection. Alternatively, for more serious health condition like cancer, eczema, and psoriasis, medical treatment is the best option you can go for by visiting your doctor.


Medical treatment can be used to cure various types of dry patches on the skin of the lips. After visiting your doctor, he or she will conduct a physical examination of your lips. Also, the sample of your skin can also be taken to the laboratory to determine the causes of dry lips.

From the doctor’s results, he/she will decide the method of treatment that can help you to get rid of dry lips. The following are a method that your doctor might use:

  • Laser treatment that uses a strong beam of light to destroy cancerous cell that can cause dry patches on lip
  • Prescription of oral drugs to treat underlying condition that may result to dry patchy lips
  • Prescription of ointment creams

Home Remedies

Try the following home remedies for your dry patchy lips:

  1. Use moisturizer

You can use appropriate moisturizing creams or lotion as a home remedy to keep your lips soft and moist. Moisturizing creams and lotion can help to look in skin moisture and prevent excessive dehydration of the skin tissue. You can apply a suitable moisturizing cream or lotion during dry, cold or hot weather condition.

  1. Drink enough water

Drinking enough water into your body is an excellent home remedy that can help to keep your entire skin soft and moisturized. Body dehydration can initiate the formation of dry patches on the lip. To prevent and escape the problem of dry cracked lips, you can drink clean water daily accord to the requirement of body demand for water.

  1. Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a known skin care product that can help to keep your lips moist and prevent dry patches. The oil has medicinal value that can also help to cure scaly patchy lips. Simple get extra virgin coconut oil and apply it on your lips three times per day for few weeks until dry marks on your lips go away.

  1. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera has medicinal ability to cure and prevent the skin of your lips from becoming dry.

Aloe vera
Aloe vera

Aloe Vera contains vitamins that can help to nourish the skin tissue and keep it supple. It also has ant-microbes’ property that can help to keep away bacterial and fungal infection that can result to dry flaky skin on the lips.

  1. Lemon juice and honey

A combination of lemon juice and raw honey is an excellent home remedy for scaly lips. Honey is a natural skin moisturizer while lemon juice has citric acid that can help to soften and exfoliate scaly patches on lips that help to restore your lips to an attractive appearance.

Simply mix one teaspoon of raw honey with equal amount of fresh lemon juice. Apply it on your dried lips two times per day for few weeks until dry patches on lip go away.

  1. Milk cream

Milk cream is a cheap natural skin moisturizer that can help to keep your skin supple. It also has lactic acid that can help to exfoliate dry scales from the skin of your lips. Mix two teaspoon of milk cream with one teaspoon of lemon juice and apply it on your lips twice per day for few weeks.

  1. Apple cider vinegar

You can apply apple cider vinegar on dry skin of your lips. The reagent has the ability to heal and exfoliate dry and scaly skin from lips.

Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar

Just dilute two teaspoons of the apple cider with an equal amount of clean water. Apply the solution on the affected part of the lip with dry patches two times per day for few weeks.

Tips to prevent chapped lips

  • Avoid frequent tongue licking of your lips
  • Don’t eat irritating spicy or acidic foods
  • Avoid the use of harsh makeup on your face that contains salicylic acid
  • Always practice proper oral and skin hygiene
  • Supplement your diet with vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E

Sources and References

  1. Dry patches on skin of lips: https://www.doctorshealthpress.com/general-health-articles/treating-dry-patch-on-lip/
  2. Cause of dry or chapped lips: https://www.symptomfind.com/health/causes-of-chapped-lips/
  3. Cause of dry patches on the lips: https://www.bustle.com/articles/133706-7-ways-chapped-lips-could-be-a-sign-of-something-else
  4. Cause of chapped lips: http://www.steadyhealth.com/articles/dry-patch-on-the-lip-that-wont-go-away-is-it-lip-cancer
  5. Dark dry patches on the lips: http://www.healthhype.com/dark-lips-causes-of-lip-discoloration-brown-black-or-blue.html
  6. Dry patches on the lip pictures: https://www.healthline.com/symptom/chapped-lips
  7. Dry patches on lower lip: http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Dermatology/Dry-skin-on-lower-Lip/show/662741
  8. Dry patches on upper lip: http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Dermatology/dry-patch-on-upper-lip-wont-go-away/show/1127194
  9. How to get rid of dry patches on the lips: http://www.livestrong.com/article/188789-how-to-get-rid-of-dry-skin-on-lips/
  10. Home remedies for chapped lips: http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/effective-home-remedies-to-cure-white-spots-on-lips/#gref

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