Derm DMs: Why Do I Have Dry Skin Around My Mouth?

April 18, 2023
Claire Rodgers
By: Claire Rodgers | by L'Oréal
A person looks at the camera with their mouth slightly open and touches their fingers to the corner of their mouth

If you’re dealing with dry, flaky patches of skin around your mouth, rest assured that not only is it common, it’s also relatively easy to fix. We spoke to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Karen Sra to find out the underlying causes of dry skin around the mouth and how to find relief. 

What Causes Dry Skin Around the Mouth?

Most people begin to notice drier-than-usual skin during the harsh winter months when there’s less moisture in the air, or in the summer due to air conditioning or sun damage. These dry patches or flaking skin can also appear on the lips and around the mouth. Certain lifestyle habits and beauty products can also be contributing factors to dry skin in this area. 

While this dryness is often temporary and not suggestive of anything serious, it can definitely be frustrating. “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. Ahead, learn more about causes and habits to avoid to help prevent dry skin around the mouth.

Potential Causes of Dry Skin Around the Mouth

Licking Your Lips

Licking your lips only provides temporary relief from dryness and can actually make matters worse. Once your saliva evaporates off the surface of your lips, it can leave them even drier than before. Instead, hydrate your lips with a moisturizing lip salve or balm.

Taking Extremely Hot Showers

It may be tempting to want to unwind 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 to hot water 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.

Using Products Containing Alcohol or Fragrances

Try to eliminate products in your skincare routine that contain 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 Do I Get Rid of Dry Skin Around My Mouth?

Once you start to notice flaky, dry skin around your mouth, the last thing you want to do is make it worse. Luckily, there are some things you can do to help address the issue.


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 the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Scrub, as it is formulated for use on both the face and lips.


L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Scrub


Applying a layer of moisturizer to the skin twice a day 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 because they can help reinforce the skin’s natural moisture barrier.


CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Wear Sunscreen

Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher like the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral SPF Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid should be a staple in your routine, regardless of whether or not 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. For a versatile sunscreen that can also be used on your body, we like the CeraVe Hydrating Sheer Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30


CeraVe Hydrating Sheer Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Drink Water

Hydration from within is incredibly important for your overall health, including the health of your skin. Be sure to drink the recommended amount of H2O every day.

Apply a Gentle Lip Balm

If the corners of your mouth are dry, your lips are probably parched, too. Applying a lip balm that contains SPF, like the Supergoop! PLAY Lip Balm SPF 30 With Acai, can protect your lips from environmental aggressors, such as harmful UV rays and moisturize-zapping winds.


Supergoop! PLAY Lip Balm SPF 30 With Acai


Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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