How Do I Relieve Peeling Lips?

Madeleine A.

Peeling lips are typically caused by dryness, and they can usually be relieved by restoring moisture. Not only are peeling lips unattractive, they can predispose a person to significant cracks in the lips and even infection. One of the most effective ways to relieve peeling lips is to use a lip balm or lip moisturizer to restore suppleness to the tissue, and reduce irritation.

A woman with peeling lips.
A woman with peeling lips.

To remove dry skin from peeling lips, the individual should spread a lip moisturizer onto her toothbrush and gently brush the lips, taking care to not injure the skin. By doing this, dry and peeling skin will flake off, giving the lips a healthy appearance. After the peeling skin has been removed, applying a thin coat of lip balm on the lips will keep them from drying out and peeling even more.

An allergic reaction to lipstick can cause the lips to peel.
An allergic reaction to lipstick can cause the lips to peel.

Another way to reduce the risk of peeling lips is to stay hydrated. Dehydration can contribute to dry skin, including the skin on the lips. Drinking eight glasses of water per day will keep the oral tissues moist and decrease the appearance of dry, chapped lips. People who are on fluid restrictions, however, should check with their physicians before drinking large amounts of water, however.

When the weather is cold and dry, people tend to lick their lips to keep them moist. Although this tactic can temporarily relieve dryness, it can further dry out the lips and cause peeling lips. A better alternative is to keep the lips moistened with a thin coat of petroleum jelly when going out in the cold and wind, as it will act as a barrier from the elements.

Certain allergic reactions can also contribute to peeling lips. Someone who is sensitive to cosmetics should look for lipsticks that are marked "hypoallergenic." An allergy to lipstick can cause the lips to burn, itch, and peel. It is important to note that if the lips become swollen or the throat swells, immediate medical attention should be sought because reactions such as these can be life threatening.

When peeling lips become especially significant, a person may be tempted to pull off the skin. This should never be attempted because doing so can cause bleeding and significant injury to the lips. If this occurs, however, it is important to apply pressure to the site until the bleeding stops. The lips are very vascular and bleeding may be prolonged if pressure is not applied for a long enough period of time.

Allergic reactions may cause peeling lips; if they become swollen, a doctor should be consulted.
Allergic reactions may cause peeling lips; if they become swollen, a doctor should be consulted.

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Discussion Comments


@burcinc-- It might be an allergic reaction. I'm allergic to strawberries and if I eat anything with strawberry in it, my lips become itchy and start to peel.

Do you have itching as well? Does the peeling occur after eating a particular food?

You should be careful because allergic reactions can become dangerous. It would be a good idea to see a doctor and get an allergy test.


My lips aren't dry and I don't use lipstick, but my lips are peeling. What could be the cause? What should I do?


Sugar is a great exfoliator for peeling lips. My lips peel a lot in winter because of the cold weather. To get rid of the flaky skin, I take some sugar and rub it on my lips. It removes the dry skin very easily. Then, I lather on a lip moisturizer.

I avoid lip moisturizers with petroleum jelly though. These are great for keeping the moisture in the skin, but they do little for lips that are very dry. I like using lip balm with natural oils like cocoa butter and beeswax. These keep my lips hydrated.

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