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Yet Another Side Effect Of Dehydration: Dry Lips

3 mins

Nora Simion

Dehydration can spark off many conditions, but the worst result of dehydration: dry lips! Find out how cheilitis occurs, how to prevent it, and treat it.

Drinking sufficient amounts of water per day is necessary to prevent health problems. The skin is the most common results of dehydration are dry lips, wrinkles, and scaly patches.

Cheilitis: a blend of dehydration and dry lips

Having dry lips is a common affection, especially among women, as a result of the use of various cosmetic products. 

Yet, the state of our lips can be indicative of some illnesses. The most accessible interpretation is dehydration. 

Dry lips occur when there isn’t enough water or moisture in the body, but there could be other reasons, as well. 

Read more to see the main causes, effects, and treatments of cheilitis.

Table of Contents:

  • Cheilitis: what it is and what causes it
  • Dehydration
  • Cold, dry weather
  • Excessive lip licking
  • Eating salty food
  • Allergic reaction
  • Vitamin and zinc deficiency
  • Types of cheilitis
  • Eczematous cheilitis
  • Angular cheilitis
  • Actinic cheilitis
  • Herpes simplex
  • How do I treat cheilitis or dry lips?
  • Dehydration and dry lips prevention

Cheilitis: what it is and what causes it

dehydrated lips, how to take care of your lips

Cheilitis is the medical term for dry lips. There are multiple symptoms, but you can tell you have cheilitis if your lips are red, itchy, or flaky. 

If left untreated, the lips will crack and bleed. This is why we should not ignore dehydration and dry lips when they occur.


Dry lips usually occur when the body lacks water and starts pulling it from other areas of the body, such as the eyes, the lips, the epidermis, etc. 

To add even more damage: lips don’t have fat parts, which means without water, they become as dry as a raisin.

Cold, dry weather

Living in areas with cold, dry weather can be a nuisance for lip care. The lip surface is usually wet because we sometimes lick them when we speak. 

Add this to dry cold weather, and you get scaly dehydrated lips.

cold weather, effect of cold weather on lips

Excessive lip licking

Saliva is not a friend when it comes to lip care. The more we lick our lips, the drier they get. 

Sure, the first impression might be that the lips are hydrated because of the moist sensation, but once the saliva dries, the lips dry up, too.

Eating salty food

Salt is known for water retention in the body, but it is also a powerful dehydrator. What happens is that our kidneys detect the large sodium intake and work harder to eliminate it. This means they gather all the water from the body, and they dispose of it along with the salt. 

Lips are the most affected: firstly, because the area comes in direct contact with the salt, which is an irritant to the skin. Secondly, they lose water in the body’s attempt to get rid of sodium.

Allergic reaction

Whether it is a reaction to a cosmetic product that we apply on the lips or a more dangerous food allergy, this shows on our lips. 

Whenever we consume something that we are allergic to, the lips get swollen, red, and dry.

Vitamin and zinc deficiency

Skin dehydration is always related to a lack of vitamins in the body. Having scaly, irritated lips may be a sign that you need to increase the vitamin and zinc levels in the body to help it rejuvenate.

vitamin deficiency, vitamins for your healthy body

Types of cheilitis

Eczematous cheilitis

Also known as dermatitis, eczematous cheilitis is an illness that usually affects the lips. 

It is described as an allergic reaction to certain irritant substances. You can tell you have eczematous cheilitis in your lips if the area surrounding them is red and flaky.

Angular cheilitis

Angular cheilitis appears when the corners of the mouth get irritated. Without treatment, the corners become gradually more inflated, and they even bleed sometimes. 

Chronic licking and wiping of the mouth is the main cause of angular cheilitis.

Actinic cheilitis

Dry lips may be indicative of a more serious disease. The actinic cheilitis, for instance, may seem like herpes but is, in fact, a carcinoma caused by repeated sun exposure. 

Keeping your lips hydrated fights against lip carcinoma, as well.

Herpes simplex

Commonly known as herpes, this infection is caused by the HSV virus. 

The lip that gets infected with the virus is swollen and develops into a pustule. The lips also become painful.

How do I treat cheilitis or dry lips?

The solution for dry lips depends on the type of cheilitis you suffer from. If you have herpes or the lip cracks are bleeding, you must use a hydrating product with antibiotics. Keeping the lip skin moist is the only way to treat cheilitis, but you also need to disinfect the area.

This may seem strange, but dehydration begins with purification. The layers of dry skin prevent any ointments from penetrating the surface of the lip. For better results, you should use a natural face scrub to remove the scales and the dead skin cells.

Toothbrush is an amazing massage tool for the lips. All you have to do is gently rub it on the surface of the lips while applying the scrub. Don’t massage too much in one place as you don’t want to start bleeding.  

chapped lips, damaged lips, lip care

Once the area is clean, you may apply nourishing products. Peppermint oil is the best product for lip care because it improves blood circulation, plumps the lips, and diminishes lip wrinkles. 

Peppermint oil in itself is not hydrating enough. You can create your own lip nourishing product by mixing a few drops of peppermint oil with petroleum jelly.

peppermint oil, peppermint essential oil, wow peppermint essential oil, wow skin science, buywow

Honey is another great product for lip care. Not to mention tasty! 

Honey should only be used as a mask, though. Used as a lip balm can cause the opposite effect because we tend to clean the lips by licking them excessively. So, make sure you wipe the honey off the lips after a 15-minute interval.

Dehydration and dry lips prevention

As with many other medical problems, preventing dry lips is better than treating. Should you suffer from cheilitis because you live in a cold or hot weather zone or you have other medical conditions, lip care should be at the top of your priority list. 

dry lips prevention, lips balsam

Always use peppermint lip balms to soothe irritated lips and moisten them. Drink plenty of liquids to keep your body hydrated at all times, especially in the summertime.

The main consequence of dehydration are dry lips. Some lip infections and allergies may require medication, but there is no lip affection that won’t benefit from hydrating products. 

Natural oil-based products, like the ones on, are bliss for sensitive lip skin.

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Nora Simion

My two secret passions are hair styling and dogs. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to mix the two together and get my dog a cute looking hairstyle. Other times, I usually braid my hair or my friends' hair in an attempt to mimic the most recent Tik Tok trends. I love the no-makeup or the bed head look and I live for the relaxed, all bio fashion trends.

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Author: Nora Simion

Latest posts:

Nora Simion

My two secret passions are hair styling and dogs. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to mix the two together and get my dog a cute looking hairstyle. Other times, I usually braid my hair or my friends' hair in an attempt to mimic the most recent Tik Tok trends. I love the no-makeup or the bed head look and I live for the relaxed, all bio fashion trends.
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