Do You Have Dry Skin Around The Mouth? Here Are The Reasons

Written by Ramona Sinha

Dry patches around the mouth can be annoying and make you self-conscious, especially if it is accompanied by redness, itchiness, and skin lesions. An underlying condition, allergic reaction, and dehydration – anything can cause dryness around the mouth. Luckily, you can easily relieve it with home remedies, proper skin care, and other treatment options. Keep scrolling to understand what you can do to improve your skin condition to look and feel your best.

Causes Of Dryness Around The Mouth

The skin around the mouth can get dry and itchy due to various reasons:

1. Perioral Dermatitis

Perioral dermatitis causes red, itchy rashes around the mouth along with dryness. These rashes appear bumpy and scaly. You may experience an itching or burning sensation around the mouth. It is often caused by excessive use of topical steroids, heavy creams, and moisturizers. This condition is predominant in women compared to men and children. It can turn into a recurring issue if not treated properly.

2. Eczema

Eczema is an autoimmune condition that may cause dry skin. It is also known as atopic dermatitis. You may experience severe itching (especially at night), rough and dry patches, and small red fluid-filled bumps that crust when scratched.

3. Contact Dermatitis

You are likely to experience skin irritation, itching, and dryness if you come in contact with allergens. The allergic reactions can result from exposure to harsh chemicals in soaps, skin care, and makeup products, ultimately causing the skin to dry. It can cause inflammation and redness around your mouth.

4. Changes In Environment And Hydration

Exposure to dry, windy, or cold climates can strip the natural moisture from your face. In addition, lack of water or other fluids in your body may also cause dehydration, which may reflect on your skin.

5. Saliva Around The Mouth

Saliva can also make the skin dry. If you have the habit of licking your lips or drooling in your sleep, it can cause dryness around the mouth.

6. Medications

Certain medications, such as anti-acne creams and lotions, can dry out the skin on your face. Prescription medicines (topical and oral) like tetracyclines and tretinoin are common drugs causing dryness around the mouth.

Your doctor will perform a physical examination and ask for your medical history to diagnose the exact cause of dryness around your mouth. If an underlying skin condition causes it, they will prescribe medicines. If it is nothing major and serious, you just need to care for your skin to reduce dryness around the mouth. In the next section, find out the treatment options.

Treatment Options For Dryness Around The Mouth

Your skin specialist can help you with the available treatment options based on the cause:

1. Perioral Dermatitis

If topical steroids trigger this condition, ask your doctor for alternate medication. The doctor may prescribe emollients, humectants, or antibiotics to help with your flare-ups.

2. Eczema

You can manage the eczema symptoms by using OTC moisturizers, topical anti-inflammatory medications. In severe cases, you may require oral steroids to control the flare-ups.

You may need several weeks before the dryness and rashes around the mouth subside. You also need to take extra care of your skin to avoid dryness. Here are a few tips to help you do that.

Tips To Prevent Dryness Around The Mouth

Changing your habits and taking better care of your skin can limit your skin troubles.

1. Use A Mild Cleanser

Wash your skin with a mild cleanser. Using harsh cleansing agents (like SLS and SLES) or soap can dry out the delicate facial skin. Pick a cleanser that does not contains artificial fragrances, colors, alcohol, and artificial preservatives. These irritate the skin and cause itching and flaking. Also, avoid washing your face with very hot or very cold water. Always use room temperature water to clean your face.

2. Exfoliating Your Skin

Your skin has a natural cycle where new cells replace the older cells. The skin cell turnover takes about 28 days to complete. However, if the dead skin cells remain on the surface, they may clog your pores and cause patchy, dry skin on the face. Exfoliating your skin once a week can help clear the dead skin cells, improve the skin texture, and help maintain skin health.

Note that over-exfoliating your skin can be counter-productive; it can increase the dryness by stripping off the natural oils on the skin.

3. Daily Moisturizing

Your skin needs to stay hydrated and maintain an optimal moisture level. Applying moisturizer can prevent the skin cells from drying out and maintain a soft and plump look.

Ensure you use a hypoallergenic moisturizer – free of artificial fragrances and colors – to prevent irritation. Also, keep in mind that different skin types have different requirements. So, pick a moisturizer as per your skin type.

Petrolatum, dioxane, and alcohol in the moisturizers can sometimes worsen the flaky skin around your mouth. Hence, use them with caution.

You can use natural alternatives, such as pure aloe vera gel, coconut oil, and shea butter. Experiment with the quantities to find the right amount for your skin when moisturizing with oil, as too much of it can also prove damaging for your skin.

3. Use A Humidifier At Home

Exposure to dry air for a prolonged period can reduce the moisture levels in your skin. If you stay in an arid area or use air conditioning, install a humidifier at home. It helps maintain humidity in the air and prevents skin dryness.

4. Improve Your Lifestyle Habits

Skin dryness can be a result of unhealthy habits. Drink plenty of liquids throughout the day to prevent dehydration. Limit your alcohol intake and avoid smoking, as they can cause the skin to dry up. Use fluoride-free toothpaste to avoid irritating the skin around the mouth.

Also, if you are a person who loves to stand under a shower or soak in the bathtub for a long time, it can be harmful to you. Prolonged exposure (over 15 minutes) to water can strip the moisture from your skin, resulting in dryness. Limit your bathing time to 5-10 minutes to maintain healthy skin.

You can try these tips if your condition is not severe. Changing your skin care products can also help you tackle dryness issues.

To Conclude

If you experience dry, flaky skin around your mouth, you can follow the tips discussed in the article to reduce dryness. However, if the problem persists, it might be due to an underlying condition. Consult a doctor immediately and start treatment. Also, take care of your skin, understand what it needs, and follow a suitable skin care regimen to keep it glowing and healthy.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What does your face look like in perioral dermatitis?

Perioral dermatitis appears in circles around the mouth. It can cause red, dry skin around the mouth with inflamed bumps and may spread to the areas around the nose and upper lips.


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Ramona is a journalist-turned-content writer. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and has been writing for the digital world for over five years. She specializes in writing for Skin Care. She has done a certificate course titled ‘Dermatology: Trip To The Skin’, offered by Novosibirsk State University. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps and guides readers in selecting products and ingredients specific to their skin type/issue. When Ramona is not working, her books and passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.