Dryness occurs around the corners of the mouth for a number of reasons, including excessive licking of the lips, exposure to wind, sun exposure and several health conditions. Dry skin can appear flaky, irritated, patchy and even dull. The skin may burn, itch, crack and, sometimes, bleed. Consult a medical professional if home remedies do not relieve the dryness. A more serious health condition, such as iron deficiency, may be to blame.
The corners of the mouth are part of the lips because this is where the upper lip meets the lower lip. When the corners of the mouth are dry, the lips are likely dry as well. MayoClinic.com recommends using an oil-based lubricating cream or lip balm that is made of petrolatum or beeswax before facing the outdoor elements. Repeated use of these products can help rehydrate the lips and treat the dryness around the corners of the mouth.
It is possible to have an allergic reaction or sensitivity to some lip products. Symptoms of sensitivity or allergy can include dry skin that is irritated and itchy. Products containing fragrance or alcohol may exacerbate or cause the problem. Natural oils can be used in place of a balm, such as olive oil or coconut oil.
Facial sunscreen and lip balm products that contain sunscreen should be used when going outdoors. Sunscreen can protect dry skin from burning and getting more damaged, but it can also prevent dryness in the first place.
Severe or minor dehydration can lead to skin dryness, especially in and around the mouth. Drinking fluids can moisten the mouth and can restore the body's fluid levels.
Some foods can irritate the skin around the mouth, such as spicy foods. Dry, poor skin quality can be caused by a poor diet lacking in necessary nutrient and minerals, such as iron. DermNetNZ.org describes one symptom of iron deficiency as painful cracking at the corners of the mouth, called angular stomatitis. To improve iron intake an individual can eat more red meats, take an iron supplement under the guidance of a health care provider, or consume other iron-rich foods such as canned shrimp, sardines, and oat and wheat bran.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil, when diluted slightly, can be applied to the skin to relieve allergic responses, reduce inflammation and fight off infections that may cause dryness around the corners of the mouth, according to the National Institutes of Health. Some individuals may report increased irritation from the use of tea tree oil. This remedy should only be used under the advice of a health care provider.
Sarah Harding has written stacks of research articles dating back to 2000. She has consulted in various settings and taught courses focused on psychology. Her work has been published by ParentDish, Atkins and other clients. Harding holds a Master of Science in psychology from Capella University and is completing several certificates through the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association.