Red-colored, sore, chapped lips can easily crack open when drinking, eating, talking and even smiling. The presence of blisters on the lips can worsen due to the added pain. Even though most cases of blisters on chapped lips can be managed and prevented at home, the irritation as well as presence of mouth sores can point towards an underlying health issues, allergic conditions or tumors. A doctor should be consulted in case the blisters continue longer more than 2 weeks or if there are other signs and symptoms such as skin rashes, fever as well as swallowing difficulties or drooling.
What are the causes?
Exposure to dry, cold winter air and the sun can cause the lips to crack, peel and blister. Even biting on your lips or licking them in an attempt to sooth the dryness will worsen the condition. The development of cold sores that are described as fluid-filled lesions on the mouth caused by the herpes simplex virus can cause blisters to form on the lips as well as irritation and chapping.
Close look on blisters on chapped lips
It is important to note that chapped lips and blisters due to dehydration typically start out with minor irritation or redness and worsens over time if the exact cause of the dryness is not remedied.
When outdoors without adequate protection to the lips with sunscreen, the sun damage can cause blistering, scaling and drying of the lips as it does on other parts of the body. The mouth has a tingling sensation for several days prior to the flare-up of a cold sore. The cold sores start with small-sized blisters that break and ooze and then crust over. In most cases, the sores typically clear up within 2 weeks.
It is recommended to manage dry, chapped lips using beeswax and petrolatum. Avoid hot foods and beverages, salty or spicy foods as well as citrus since these can further irritate the blisters on chapped lips.
The cold sores typically vanish without requiring treatment but the doctor might recommend a combination of topical treatments such as lidocaine and antiviral medications taken orally to reduce the pain and shorten the length of the outbreak. If the individual experiences recurrent outbreaks of cold sores, the doctor might recommend staying on an oral antiviral to prevent recurrence.
Encourage the individual to drink plenty of water during the winter season to keep the lips hydrated and soft. Always apply a lip balm or lipstick before heading outdoors during cold, dry weather.
Utilize a humidifier in the house to keep the air humid. Take note that nutritional deficiencies such as iron and B-complex vitamins can cause cracked, dry lips. In such cases, daily multivitamin supplements should be taken.
Considerations to bear in mind
Blisters on chapped lips are susceptible to infection. Always apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment to prevent the development of infection as well as a hydrocortisone ointment to hasten the healing process.