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

May 14, 2021
Claire Rodgers
By: Claire Rodgers | by L'Oréal
Derm DMs: Why Do I Have Dry Skin Around My 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 will begin to notice drier-than-usual skin during the harsh winter months when moisture from the air is zapped, or in the summer due to air conditioning or sun damage. These dry patches or flakes can also appear on the lips and around the mouth. Additional factors to blame 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. “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, find some bad skincare habits to avoid to help prevent dry skin around the mouth.

Licking Your Lips

Licking your lips only provides temporary relief to dryness and can even 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’s tempting to want to relax in 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.

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. Here’s what you can do to help address the problem:


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 range of Pure-Sugar Scrubs as they are formulated for use on both the face and lips.

loreal pure sugar scrub


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 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 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.

la roche posay anthelios mineral spf moisturizer hyaluronic acid

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 Kiehl’s Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30, can protect your lips from environmental aggressors, such as harmful UV rays and moisturize-zapping winds.

kiehls butterstick lip treatment spf 30

Photo: Shutterstock

Read More:

How to Get Rid of Chapped Lips Overnight

How to Get Naturally Plump Lips in 6 Steps

5 Gentle Exfoliators That Are Perfect for Dry Skin


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