Split lips

Split lips can be painful and even bleed but it does not indicate a serious condition. Nevertheless, the condition can be bothersome.

What are the causes?

Since split lips can develop in a gradual manner, it might be hard to determine the precise cause.

Some of the usual causes include:

  • Chapped lips – the lips can become excessively dry and crack any time of the year due to environmental factors such as dry air, cold weather and wind exposure.
  • Sun damage – if the lips are exposed to the sun, it can result to inflammation. Prolonged exposure can cause the lips to stiffen and dry, thus resulting to cracking or splitting.
  • Lip injuries – split lips can occur after an injury such as a blow to the mouth, falls, biting the lip or a paper cut. This can be accompanied by swelling and bleeding.
    Split lips

    Since split lips can develop in a gradual manner, it might be hard to determine the precise cause.

  • Dehydration – in some cases, split lips develop due to dehydration where the body does not have enough fluids.
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiency – a deficiency in vitamin B can trigger a variety of skin conditions including split lips, acne, rashes and dryness.
  • Allergy – being highly sensitive to toothpaste, lipstick, moisturizers or any product applied to or around the lips can result to split lips.

Management of split lips

  • Lip protection – exposure to dry air, cold air, sun and wind can dry out the lips and cause cracking and splitting. Apply petroleum jelly or lip balm on the lips before going outdoors. This provides a barrier to keep the lips properly moisturized. Choose a medicated lip balm with SFP to prevent burns.
  • Avoid lip licking – continuous licking of the lips can result to drying and further cracking and split lips.
  • Increased intake of fluids – proper hydration of the body with caffeine-free fluids is vital. Reducing the intake of alcohol is also important since it acts as a diuretic.
  • Application of a cold compress – this helps control the bleeding and swelling especially if due to injury

In case there is crusting or open sores around the lips, a doctor must be seen. This might be an indication of a viral or bacterial infection.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on split lips is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly manage this injury, register for a first aid and CPR course with Vancouver First Aid.


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