What causes dry skin on your lips

Dry skin

Brief overview

  • Causes: External factors (e.g. heat, cold, solar radiation), diet, certain medications, stress and emotional stress, biological factors (such as age), diseases such as neurodermatitis, allergies, psoriasis, contact eczema (skin rash), leg ulcers (ulcer on the lower leg), diabetes mellitus (diabetes), hypothyroidism, Crohn's disease, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, celiac disease.
  • Treatment: depending on the trigger, e.g. with medication (such as cortisone). In addition, treatment of underlying diseases (such as diabetes).
  • Self-treatment and prevention: Proper skin care, sun protection, protection of the skin from dry heated air in winter (e.g. with a humidifier), balanced, healthy diet, sufficient drinking, as little alcohol as possible, no smoking, lots of exercise in the fresh air, home remedies (such as a face mask with avocado).
  • When to the doctor If your own measures do not change the dry skin. If the skin suddenly dries out, burns, flakes, itches, or becomes inflamed for no apparent reason. For additional symptoms such as hair loss, headache, dizziness or nausea.
  • What does the doctor?Anamnesis (taking the medical history), physical examination of the affected areas of skin with a magnifying glass or microscope, allergy test, if necessary blood / urine test, tissue sample. If certain underlying diseases are suspected: stool examination, colonoscopy, ultrasound, X-ray examination.

Dry skin: causes

Normally, the sebum and sweat glands continuously produce a mix of fat and water that keeps the skin supple. Dry skin occurs when the sebum glands don't release enough fat. Then the functionality of the skin suffers: For example, it can no longer adequately protect the organism from external influences such as UV radiation, pathogens or mechanical injuries, and it can no longer fully regulate body temperature and water balance.

Dry skin is particularly common on the face. But lower legs, shins, feet, hands, elbows and forearms can also be affected. Dry skin feels rough and chapped. It is fine-pored, tense, flaky and itchy. There are also often reddened areas. Dry skin cracks quickly and is sensitive to cold and / or heat. In extreme cases, dehydration eczema can form: the skin tears and becomes inflamed.

Usually external influences, biological factors, but also certain diseases cause dry skin.

External factors

  • The Weather can irritate the skin. If you sweat in summer, for example, the body loses fluid and the skin dries out faster. Air conditioning and solar radiation intensify this effect. But even in cold temperatures, the skin can dry out quickly. Because at an outside temperature of 8 ° C or less, the sebum glands stop production. In addition, you hardly sweat in the cold, so that less moisture reaches the epidermis in winter. This messes up the skin's fat and water balance, resulting in dry skin. Wind, moisture and heated air promote dehydration. Parts of the body that are not protected by clothing, such as the face, lips and hands, are particularly affected.
  • Also the nutrition affects the complexion. Above all, malnutrition and malnutrition and the resulting underweight dry out the skin. Those who drink too little, smoke a lot and / or drink alcohol regularly also develop dry skin quickly.
  • You can also Stress and emotional stress dry out the skin.
  • Dry skin can also be considered Side effect of medication occur that affect the fluid balance in the body or certain glandular functions. These include skin creams containing cortisone, retinoids (used to treat acne and psoriasis), diuretics (drugs that wash away water), and chemotherapy drugs (used to treat cancer). Radiation for cancer can also dry out the skin.

Biological factors

  • With increasing Age the moisture content of the skin decreases. In addition, the skin binds less moisture with age and the sweat glands produce less sweat. Both also dry out the skin.
  • Also the geneticDisposition affects the complexion - dry skin can also be familial.


Certain skin disorders are associated with dry skin. But other diseases can also be associated with dry skin. The main conditions with dry skin include:

  • Eczema
  • Allergies
  • psoriasis
  • Contact eczema (rash)
  • Ichthyosis (also called fish scale disease, hereditary disease of the uppermost corneal layer)
  • Oral rose (rashes around the mouth)
  • Ulcus cruris (ulcer on the lower leg)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Intestinal diseases (such as Crohn's disease or inflammation of the intestine)
  • Inflammation of the stomach lining
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (when the stomach produces too much acid when the hormone gastrin is produced, and ulcers develop in the gastrointestinal area)
  • Celiac disease (chronic disease of the small intestinal mucosa due to gluten intolerance)

Diseases with this symptom

Find out here about the diseases that can cause the symptom:

Dry skin: treatment

The therapy of dry skin depends on the causes. The dermatologist can, for example, use preparations containing cortisone or recommend care products that are specially tailored to your skin and that moisturize the skin. Basic diseases such as neurodermatitis or diabetes must be treated accordingly. But you can also do a lot yourself against dry skin.


Proper skin care is essential for dry skin. You should only wash dry skin with mild substances that are ideally pH-neutral and fragrance-free. You should avoid using alcohol-based toners, as they also dry out your skin. Always apply cream to dry skin after bathing or showering to compensate for the loss of moisture.

The best way to keep extremely dry and calloused areas of skin supple with anhydrous fat creams. In winter you can protect your face from drying out with a moisturizing face cream. Care sticks with jojoba oil, beeswax or palm wax are suitable for the lips. For longer walks or winter sports, you should use a care pen with a UV filter.

As older people are particularly likely to suffer from dry skin, they should pay more attention to adequate skin care.


A balanced diet also protects against dry skin. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide important minerals and vitamins for the cells. Drink enough, preferably water, fruit spritzers, fruit or herbal teas. On the other hand, you should avoid alcohol as much as possible, because it can also dry out the skin. The same goes for smoking.

Atopic dermatitis: eight tips for little ones who don't like cream

  • The right cream

    Apply cream from head to toe twice a day? Many children don't like that at all. This daily routine is important for children with neurodermatitis in order to prevent new itchy eczema. The right cream is the most important requirement for stress-free creaming. It should contain fat and moisturizing factors that the skin is inherently lacking in atopic dermatitis. In addition, the cream should be easy to spread, be absorbed quickly and not burn on sensitive skin.
  • Take your time

    Applying lotion to the whole body takes time. So that the daily basic care does not degenerate into stress, parents should plan the time for it consciously and prefer to get up a quarter of an hour earlier. Attitude also plays a major role: Approach the cream with a positive attitude - this will also be carried over to your child.
  • Cream and massage

    Try to combine the creaming with something positive. A massage, for example! Massage the cream gently all over your body. This not only treats the stressed skin, but also promotes the bond between parent and child. Build the massage into everyday life. Then the offspring learns that creaming and massage are related and no longer associate the cream with negative memories.
  • Put it in the fridge!

    With neurodermatitis, the skin itches and tightens uncomfortably - especially in summer! Put the cream in the refrigerator on hot days. The cold cream soothes the itching - many little patients find this very pleasant. Make sure, however, that the cream is not too cold. Therefore, test the cream on the back of your hand first.
  • Create a distraction

    In hectic everyday life, there is often only little time left for stories, fairy tales and the like. Why not combine the pleasant with the useful and use the time in the bathroom to tell stories? An exciting story distracts the little patient from applying lotion and is fun! Perhaps you will also integrate the procedure into the story: There might be a little frog jumping over the skin and dabs of cream everywhere. And the frog dad has to wipe up afterwards.
  • Full-stop full-stop comma line

    If you don't have an exciting story to hand, you can draw letters, numbers or even figures on the little patient's skin while applying the lotion. Your child then has to guess what it is. That too distracts from the annoying cream and is fun!
  • Like adults: more personal responsibility

    Many children cannot stand the use of lotion because you have no control over it. They prefer to do everything alone and without the help of the big guys. With some children, it can help to give you a little more responsibility: Allow your child to apply lotion to themselves - you are only helping the dwarf to do so. This can take a little more time at the beginning, but the creaming works with less nagging.
  • Find the right groove

    (Almost) everything goes better with music. Therefore, put on your child's favorite music when applying lotion. This can also help with older children and teenagers. They are usually in a better mood when they hear their favorite songs. Singing along loudly in the bathroom while applying lotion should definitely be allowed.

Home remedies

Some sufferers swear by home remedies for dry skin. For example, the following are recommended:

  • avocado
  • olive oil
  • honey
  • Carrot juice
  • Clay

Mixed with water, rose water or a high-quality oil, applied as a cream or mask, the substances can supply dry skin with moisture and make it supple again.


Exercise a lot in the fresh air, because this will stimulate the blood circulation in your skin and prevent dry skin. You should avoid frequent direct sunlight. To protect your skin from dry heating air in winter, you can use humidifiers or set up bowls with water.

Dry skin: when do you need to see a doctor?

If you have naturally dry skin or your skin becomes drier with age, moisturizing care products will usually help.

You should see a (skin) doctor if:

  • You have been suffering from dry skin for a long time and applying lotion does not alleviate the symptoms.
  • the skin suddenly becomes dry for no apparent reason.
  • flaky and dry patches of skin develop.
  • the skin is painful, red and inflamed.

Additional symptoms such as hair loss, headache, dizziness and nausea, significant weight gain or loss, severe thirst, frequent urination, inner restlessness or unusual anxiety make a doctor's visit urgently necessary.

Dry skin: what does the doctor do?

In the beginning there is anamnese (Medical history survey), where your doctor will ask you detailed questions about your symptoms. Possible questions are:

  • How long have you been suffering from dry skin?
  • Did you change your diet before the skin got dry?
  • Do you regularly take medication?
  • Are there any other symptoms accompanying dry skin?
  • Do you suffer from a specific underlying disease such as an allergy or diabetes?

Physical examinations

After taking the medical history, the doctor will examine you physically. The dermatologist (dermatologist) concentrates on the changed skin areas and examines them with a magnifying glass or a microscope. In this way he can determine how moist or oily the skin looks and whether it is noticeably rough. An allergy test can also show whether the dry skin is due to an allergic overreaction of the immune system.

Laboratory tests

Special blood tests and urine tests can also be informative. This can be used to determine deviations in the salt-water balance, deficiencies and hormonal disorders.

Using a tissue sample (biopsy), the doctor can diagnose psoriasis or ichthyosis.

With the help of a stool examination, a colonoscopy, ultrasound and X-ray examinations, other diseases can be identified as possible causes for the dry skin detect.

Important investigations

These examinations help to find out the causes of the symptoms:

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