Sometimes it really does take a doctor to fix up sore lips. For example, if your lips are cracking on the sides of your mouth where your lips meet, this may be an issue -- especially if inflammation, redness, painful sores or constantly reopening fissures develop. Once you've tried supplements, stopped worrying at the cracks with your tongue and followed other sound lip advice, it could be time to dial up your doc.
Experts are still trying to determine exactly how the process goes, but this is one of the most likely scenarios. Factors like licking or rubbing the corners of the mouth, wearing a poorly fitted set of dentures, or dealing with a nutritional deficiency have all been suspected of kicking things off.
Then a fungal or bacterial infection that's been waiting in the wings can creep into the moist corners of the mouth and exacerbate the problem. Although, keep in mind that sometimes these symptoms can signal an even more serious medical situation. So while at times cracked lips can be treated by over-the-counter medications, supplements and lip treatments, at other times, a professional needs to be called in on the job. With a good diagnosis, lots of people can have healthy lips in no time.
For a bonanza of advice on other skin and beauty topics, travel over to the next page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- "A Balm for Cracked, Dry Lips." Current Health. January 2001. (8/31/2009) http://proxygsu-dep1.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=3915912&site=ehost-live
- "Angular cheilitis." WebMD. May 25, 2007. (9/1/2009) http://www.webmd.com/hw-popup/angular-cheilitis
- Blistex Web site. (8/31/2009) http://www.blistex.com/
- "Cheilosis/Cheilitis." Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. Sept. 28, 2007. (9/1/2009) http://www.simplestepsdental.com/SS/ihtSS/r.WSIHW000/st.32219/t.32775/pr.3.html
- "Dermatologists' Top 10 Tips for Relieving Dry Skin." The American Academy of Dermatology. (8/31/2009) http://www.skincarephysicians.com/agingskinnet/winter_skin.html
- Ellis-Christensen, Tricia. "How Can I Relieve Chapped Lips?" WiseGeek.com. (9/1/2009) http://www.wisegeek.com/how-can-i-relieve-chapped-lips.htm
- Gibson, Lawrence. "Chapped Lips. What's the best remedy?" Mayo Clinic. Oct. 4, 2008. (8/31/2009) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chapped-lips/AN01440
- "Iron Deficiency Anemia." WebMD. May 7, 2007. (9/1/2009) http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/iron-deficiency-anemia-topic-overview
- "Iron in diet." U.S. National Library of Medicine. March 9, 2009. (9/1/2009) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002422.htm
- Krishna, Dave. "Soothing Winter Skin." Pediatrics for Parents. 2003. (8/31/2009) http://proxygsu-dep1.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=12525470&site=ehost-live
- "Lip and Mouth Care." American Academy of Dermatology. (8/31/2009) http://www.aad.org/members/media/_doc/Materials_Lip%20and%20Mouth%20Care.pdf
- "Oral Health Center." WebMD. Sept. 26, 2008. (8/31/2009) http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/tc/mouth-problems-noninjury-home-treatment
- "Repair Ripped Lips." Men's Fitness. July 2003. (8/31/2009) http://proxygsu-dep1.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=12602107&site=ehost-live
- Smith, S.E. "What is Petroleum Jelly?" WiseGeek.com. (9/1/2009) http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-petroleum-jelly.htm
- "Symptoms and Diagnosis of Angular Cheilitis." Angular Cheilitis Center. (9/1/2009) http://www.angular-cheilitis-center.com/
- Tatum, Malcolm. "What is Angular Stomatitis?" WiseGeek.com. (9/1/2009) http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-angular-stomatitis.htm
- Triffin, Molly. "Winter Beauty Woes -- Simple Solutions." Cosmopolitan. January 2008, (8/31/2009) http://proxygsu-dep1.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=28753822&site=ehost-live
- "Vitamin B12 Deficiency." Langone Medical Center. November 2008. (9/1/2009) http://obgyn.med.nyu.edu/conditions-we-treat/conditions/vitamin-b12-deficiency#symptoms
Millennials are crazy about lip fillers, and it seems we have Kylie Jenner to thank. HowStuffWorks fills you in on lip fillers.