Learn what you need to know about what might cause dry skin around your mouth and how to treat the issue so you can get back to looking your best.

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Dry Skin Around Mouth: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

04/27/20238 min read

Do you have dry skin around your mouth? When you’re dealing with skin issues, some of them have more of an impact on your comfort and self-esteem than others. Skin issues on your face can have the biggest impact on your self-confidence because they’re almost impossible to hide.

At Bodewell, we understand how frustrating and embarrassing facial skin trouble can be. In this article, we’ll go over some of the possible causes of dry skin around the mouth and explain how to take care of the problem so you can get back to looking and feeling your best.

Table Of Contents

Understanding Your Skin

Flaking skin around a person’s lips and chin

When considering the cause of skin imperfections, start by understanding that not all skin is the same.

There are different types of skin, and which type you have is largely determined by genetics. This means that not everyone’s skin will be prone to the same problems and that skincare products and practices that work for one person won’t necessarily work for another.

The characteristics of your skin also vary from one part of the body to another. This is why you may have more trouble with recurring skin issues on certain parts of your body.

In the case of dry skin around the mouth, the skin in this area is naturally thinner and has fewer oil glands. Because of this, you may struggle with dryness around your mouth while also dealing with oiliness on other parts of your face.

If the skin around your mouth is just slightly drier than the rest of your face, it’s usually a simple fix with moisturizer. However, if it has become so dry that it’s noticeably and uncomfortably irritated, red, or flaky, then it’s time to take more serious action.

To help, let’s look at different factors that could be causing the problem.

Causes Of Dry Skin Around Mouth

Dry skin peeling around a woman’s mouth


The weather can have a big impact on the health of your skin.

When we say weather, we mean lots of different types of weather: extreme heat, extreme cold, strong winds, very low or very high levels of humidity — all of them have the potential to throw off the moisture balance in your skin and impede its natural barrier function.

Since the skin around your mouth is normally thinner — and since it’s almost always exposed when you’re outdoors — it’s highly susceptible to being affected by weather and climate.

Licking Your Lips

Woman licking her lips

If you lick your lips frequently, it can lead to the skin around your mouth becoming drier. This may seem counterintuitive since your tongue is wet, but it’s also rough and can strip away the natural oils of your skin.

You might lick your lips because your lips themselves are dry. As we’ve already mentioned, climate can have a big impact on your skin, and your lips are no exception. Many people find their lips become chapped and dry in the winter.

Some people may also lick their lips simply as a nervous habit or when they’re thinking hard or concentrating on a difficult task. We can’t tell you how to break the habit, but try to be aware that you’re doing it so you can determine whether it’s causing your dry skin and treat it appropriately.


Dry skin around your mouth may be caused by an allergy to some of the cosmetics that you use.

You might be skeptical if you’ve been using the same cosmetics for some time without noticing issues anywhere else. But remember that the unique characteristics of the skin around your mouth make it more vulnerable.

In particular, artificial fragrances, colors, and preservatives used in some cosmetics may trigger allergies in some people.

Improper Skin Care

Hot water running from shower head

Using the wrong skincare products can actually be worse for your skin than making no effort to take care of it at all. Even if your goal is to nourish and protect your skin, using products that aren’t right for your skin type can backfire, leading to dryness and irritation.

The way you clean your skin also matters for your overall skin health. In fact, your hygiene routine can dry out the more delicate areas of skin on your face.

For example, too much hot water in the shower can leach away moisture and break down the skin’s barrier, making it more vulnerable to irritation. People with a naturally drier skin type can be especially prone to this problem.

Medical Conditions

All of the causes we’ve discussed so far are external factors that can usually be addressed by making changes in your habits and routine. However, it’s possible that the dry skin you’re noticing around your mouth is caused by a deeper medical condition.

One possibility is Perioral Dermatitis. This is a skin condition that most often affects younger women, and it presents as dry, scaly patches around the mouth that can also spread to your nose and under your eyes.

Other possibilities are the more commonly seen Seborrheic form of dermatitis and eczema. If you have either of these conditions, you will probably notice symptoms on other parts of your body besides the mouth area.

How To Treat Dry Skin Around Mouth

Woman applying moisturizer to her face

Exfoliate And Moisturize

One of the best ways to treat dry skin around your mouth is to exfoliate and moisturize — but not always at the same time!

You can apply moisturizer on a daily basis as part of your morning or evening routine. Pick a moisturizer that suits your skin type and is free from common allergen triggers.

Certain other ingredients, like dioxane, and alcohol, can also make flaky skin around your mouth worse, so avoid them if possible as well.

When it comes to exfoliating, work with your body’s natural cycle of skin maintenance instead. Approximately once each month, your body completes a cycle of replacing old skin cells with new ones. Exfoliating once a week is enough to help clear the old, dead skin cells.

Note: When exfoliating, be sure to use a gentle exfoliator and avoid scrubbing too hard, which can make your skin trouble worse.

Pay Attention To What You Put On Your Face

We’ve already mentioned that, depending on your skin type and possible allergies, certain ingredients in cosmetics and skin care can actually harm your skin and lead to symptoms like dry skin around your mouth.

If you suspect that cosmetics, cleansers, or other products you use may be playing a role in drying out the skin around your mouth, discontinue use and see how your skin reacts.

If you’re trying to rule out a particular product, work systematically and remove products from your regimen one at a time. If you discontinue multiple products at once and the dryness around your mouth improves, you won’t know which product was the culprit.

Make Simple Lifestyle Changes

Woman drinking glass of water

Consider reducing the temperature of your shower from piping hot to just lukewarm and limiting your bathing time to no more than five to 10 minutes.

In addition, while you can’t control the weather, you can do things to mitigate its effect on your skin. If you live in an arid climate or have to use air conditioning most of the time, it can be worth it to get a humidifier for your home.

Scaly, flaky skin around your mouth could be a symptom of overall dehydration as well. Prioritize upping your water intake, and you’ll reap the benefits not only in fresher skin but in whole-body health.

Address Underlying Conditions

If you feel you’ve addressed all other possible causes for dry skin around your mouth but don’t see improvement, or if you just want to be sure what you’re dealing with, see a dermatologist to determine whether a condition like dermatitis or eczema could be the cause.

If you suffer from eczema, our Eczema Daily Calming Cream can help hydrate your skin and relieve itch and irritation caused by eczema.

Caring For Your Skin With Bodewell

Dry skin around your mouth can be especially unsightly and damaging to your self-confidence. However, most of the time, simply making some smart changes to your habits and routine can get you back to putting your best face forward.

Bodewell is here for you! Check our blog for more skin tips and see if one of our range of high-quality skincare products is right for you.


American Academy of Dermatologists
National Institute of Health Library of Medicine
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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