What Causes Cracked Split Lips?

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What Causes Cracked Split Lips?
What Causes Cracked Split Lips? (Image: http://www.visualdxhealth.com/images/dx/webAdult/cheilitis_52474_lg.jpg)

The lips are one of the most sensitive parts of the human body. Only a thin layer of skin acts as their outermost covering. They have very few oil glands and no sweat glands at all. They are, therefore, prone to dryness and chapping.

Cracked, split lips can be most painful and uncomfortable. A person suffering from this condition experiences dryness, tenderness, redness and swelling of the lips. The lip's skin distends and breaks. Simply talking or smiling may produce a grimace on the person's face because of the pain these actions elicit. This condition may be caused by a number of things:

Weather

Some people may have skin reactions especially manifested in the lips during weather changes, that is, the cold, dry winter or the heat from the sun and overexposure to these. In extreme instances, cracked lips caused by too much sun may lead to a condition called actinic cheilitis, the degeneration of the lips. This condition may lead to cancer.

Infections

A decrease in the efficiency of a person's immune system may make him more susceptible to infections in various parts of the body including the sensitive lips.

Smoking

Cigarette contact on the lips and cigarette smoke may further deplete lip moisture, thereby drying the lips to the extent that they crack and split.

Allergy to Cosmetic Products

Some beauty products, including soaps and shampoos, may contain harsh ingredients that may irritate the skin, especially the lips.

Vitamins and Minerals Deficiency

A condition where the skin becomes dry, flaky and peeling is attributed to a lack of vitamin A and iron in combination with protein energy malnutrition (PEM). Likewise, a lack of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) may cause ariboflavinosis, a condition that causes mouth lesions. A vitamin C deficiency, meanwhile, causes less production of collagen, which helps maintain health skin in the body.

Dehydration

Cracked, split lips also may result from dehydration. This occurs when the normal body level of water in a person decreases into an abnormal level. Some medical conditions that may cause dehydration are: severe diarrhea, vomiting, high fever, excessive bleeding, excessive sweating and insufficient liquid intake. Drinking too much coffee or alcohol also may cause the body to dehydrate.

Kawasaki Disease

An uncommon disease in children ages 5 and below, Kawaskaki Disease is not preventable and is characterized by a high fever that lasts at least five days; redness in the eyes; rashes on the stomach, genitals, and chest; swelling of the tongue, palms of the hand and soles of the feet, and lymph nodes; sore throat and dry, cracked lips.

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