Does having chapped lips indicate possible health problems?

30 August 2014
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30 August 2014, Comments: 0

Chapped lips can eventually cause the skin in the lips to crack open, bleed and peel. It is a known fact that everybody gets chapped lips at some point in their lives. Always remember that chapped lips can also indicate underlying health problems that the individual is not aware of such as vitamin deficiency, dehydration or a serious condition especially if it is persistent and does not respond to home treatments. In case a lip ointment or lip balm does not seem to work, it is best to consult a doctor since it might indicate a serious health condition.


Pellagra occurs from vitamin B2 deficiency. This condition is characterized by mental confusion, diarrhea and dermatitis. If the condition is left untreated, it can lead to death. Pellagra can occur if the individual does not receive enough vitamin B2 or suffers from a chronic condition such as ulcerative colitis that prevents proper absorption of niacin.

Chapped lips

Kawasaki disease can cause chapped lips, fever, swelling of the neck, throat irritation and redness in the white part of the eyes.

The condition can affect the tongue, lips and gums. The skin can become thick and hard, thus resulting to bleeding and cracking. In most cases, intravenous and oral niacin can effectively treat the condition while vitamin B3 supplements are required for full recovery. As for secondary pellagra, it can occur from chronic conditions and difficult to treat since the cause should be addressed first before recovery can be achieved.

Kawasaki disease

Kawasaki disease mainly affects children below 5 years old that can lead to heart damage if it is not treated right away. The precise cause of the condition is still unknown. Kawasaki disease can cause chapped lips, fever, swelling of the neck, throat irritation and redness in the white part of the eyes.

In some cases, the child does not have any symptoms. If the child experiences the symptoms of this condition, he/she must be tested in order to rule out other possible conditions. The treatment for Kawasaki disease requires hospitalization for a few days and administering high doses of aspirin and a special medication called IVIG.

Angular cheilitis

Angular cheilitis is a common inflammatory condition that affects the corners of the mouth. Take note that this condition is triggered by various factors such as dribbling saliva, chapped lips, spread of cold sores, overhanging of the upper lip as well as bacterial infections such as yeast and impetigo. In most cases, those who have sensitive skin such as the elderly and malnourished face a higher risk for developing angular cheilitis.

Licking of the lips in an attempt to restore the moisture will only worsen the condition as the saliva quickly evaporates on the lips, thus more dryness. The individual can experience bleeding and cracked lips, redness and blisters. The condition can go away on its own but as a first aid care measures, you should apply lip balm or use a topical anti-fungal cream.

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