Derm DMs: Why Do I Have Dry Skin Around My Mouth?
If you’re dealing with dry skin around your mouth but don’t know why — don’t worry — we’ve all been there. To get to the bottom of this annoying, yet all too common skin-care problem, we tapped board-certified dermatologist Karen Sra, MD, to discover what causes dry skin around the mouth and how to find relief.
What Causes Dry Skin Around the Mouth?
Most people will begin to notice more-than-usual facial and body dryness during the harsh winter months when moisture from the air is zapped. These dry patches or flakes can also appear on the lips and around the mouth. Additional factors to blame can include lifestyle habits (more on that later) and product use. While this dryness is usually temporary and not anything serious, it can definitely be frustrating to deal with. “The skin around the mouth is more sensitive than other areas on the face,” says Dr. Sra. Because of this, it’s important to take proper care to not aggravate the area. Here are some bad skin-care habits to avoid to help prevent dry skin around the mouth:
Bad Habit #1: Licking Your Lips
Licking your lips only provides temporary relief to dryness and, in fact, makes matters worse. Once your saliva evaporates off the surface of your lips, it can leave them even drier than before. Instead, hydrate your pout with a moisturizing lip salve or balm to get the job done.
Bad Habit #2: Taking Extremely Hot Showers
It’s tempting to want to relax with a long, hot shower. However, we urge you to resist that temptation as hot, steamy showers can strip the skin of natural oils — especially if exposed for a long period of time. This can leave your skin feeling dry from head-to-toe. Stick to a short shower routine with lukewarm water, instead.
Bad Habit #3: Using Products Containing Alcohol or Fragrances
Try to eliminate products in your skin-care routine that contain skin-drying alcohol or fragrances. These ingredients have a track record of irritating sensitive skin. Specifically, take a look at your lip balms, toothpaste and facial moisturizers.
How to Address Dry Skin Around the Mouth
Once you start to notice flaky, dry skin around your mouth, the last thing you want to do is make matters worse. Here’s what you can do to help address the problem:
Skin-Care Tip #1: Exfoliate
The build-up of dead cells on the skin’s surface can cause a dull appearance and rough texture. To help slough them away, incorporate a gentle exfoliator into your routine. We like L’Oréal Paris’ range of Pure-Sugar Scrubs, as they are formulated for use on both facial and lip skin.
Skin-Care Tip #2: Moisturize
Applying a layer of moisturizer to the skin is one of the best things you can do to promote a healthy, hydrated complexion. Moisturizers formulated with ceramides — like the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream — are a good choice as they can help reinforce the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
Skin-Care Tip #3: Wear Sunscreen
Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher should be a staple in your routine, regardless of whether you have dry skin around your mouth. Just as the sun can cause damage to the skin on your body, it can also burn your delicate lips and the area around it.
Skin-Care Tip #4: Drink Water
Hydration from within is incredibly important for your overall health, let alone dry skin. Be sure to drink the recommended amount of H2O every day.
Skin-Care Tip #5: Apply a Gentle Lip Balm
Chances are, if the corners of your mouth are dry, your lips are probably parched, too. Applying a lip balm that contains SPF can protect your lips from environmental aggressors, such as harmful UV rays and moisturize-zapping winds.