Lip conditions: symptoms, cause and treatment
The lips, known as the upper lip and lower lip, are both lined by skin and are rich in sensory nerve endings. They are a crucial part of our daily lives. The lips are arguably the part of the body that are always exposed and are almost never covered by clothing, meaning that they are constantly at the mercy of air, pollution and weather which increases their risk of skin conditions.
CHAPPED OR DRY LIPS
Dry or chapped lips are a common skin problem. Wind, prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures or the dry air of air-conditioned environments can cause great stress on the thin skin of the lips, leading it to dry out and crack. Some individuals, however, are affected by these symptoms throughout the year, regardless of external factors.
Cold sores (herpes labialis or oral herpes), are a recurrent skin infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). This virus is usually found in the ganglia nerve and, in stressful circumstances, the virus can be activated and will spread to the lips, leading to the destruction of many epidermis cells.
The lips are frequently affected by atopic dermatitis (atopic cheilitis), which can appear in both children and adults. Symptoms usually include lip dryness, cracking, micro-cuts and itching.
Angular cheilitis (or perleche, from the French, ‘through licking’), is a common condition resulting in the corner of the mouth becoming inflamed, cracked and red. Cheilitis is usually caused by excess moisture at the sides of the mouth.