Aa
A
A
A
Close
Dermatology Community
53.5k Members
Avatar universal

dry patch on lip

hi, i have a dry patch on the top of my lip. it started off about 2 months ago as a small discolored dot, then progressed into a darker patch bigger patch (<1cm wide). Now, it looks dry and and slightly flaky, and feels weird when i touch it with my tongue, but i can't really pick at the dry skin. it also feels sort of heavy, not numb or slightly tingling (not like pins and needles) but like i can feel something there. also when i stretch the skin i can see white spots behind it.
what is it, and what can i do to treat it, tried moisturizing with Vaseline constantly, but doesn't help. Could this be a sign of lip cancer?

any advice would help. thanks.
147 Responses
Avatar universal
hi, i have a similar lip skin patch, have had it for about a week.  did you ever find out what was going on with yours? did it resolve on its own?
Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hi,

Just a few questions surrounding the onset of the patch:

How old are you?

Are you male or female?

Are you sexually active?

Have you eaten something lately like a fruit or vegetable?

Are you a smoker?

Have you any nasal discharge or flu like symptoms recently?

Pls do not manipulate the lesion and it is best not to touch it frequently.Wash your hands when doing so. Some infections caused by streptoccocus or staphyloccus may present as crusty lesions in the area surrounding the lip or nose. A hypersensitivity reaction to something that you ate may also cause some lesions to appear near the mouth.

Have a consult done with a dermatologist for a proper evaluation.Keep us posted.
Avatar universal
Thank you for the prompt reply.  I'm a married 40-year-old female, sexually active (monogamous), non-smoker.  I've eaten many fruits and vegetables lately, kohlrabi, rapini, and shiitake mushrooms being the most exotic, but nothing new in my diet that I recall.  Today I had a very mild sore throat / hoarse voice; for the past week or so I have had sporadic runny nose / sneezing (bouts last about a half hour, much like allergic reaction) and my right tonsil has been a bit sore and firm.  I am breastfeeding and my baby likes to touch my lips while nursing.  Sometimes baby has a rough or jagged fingernail; I think baby may have irritated my skin and maybe introduced an infection.  My sleeping is irregular but I usually get at least 6 hours per night.

It's difficult not to touch the sore area, for instance with my tongue if I lick my lips, as it's directly on my lip, near the inner edge close to my teeth.  The area is about half a centimeter across, feels dry and a bit numb, similar to when I have some dry skin built up, but no dead skin comes off if I rub it, and the skin is thin and tender.  I haven't tried to stretch the skin (as sk00 did).  The color is not unusual.

I'd been thinking I'd leave it for a few days to see if it would shrink.  Would you consider it to be more urgent that I see a dermatologist about this?
Avatar universal
hi i have a dry patch on my lip. It dont hurt or anything its just there feels horrible. Hasnt gone away what is it?
Avatar universal
I have this too!!!!!!  On my upper left lip.  I thought maybe it was the beginnings of a cold sore (never had one before but diagnosed with hsv1 & 2 so have been waiting for it to happen someday) but nothing is happening.  It's just like a major dry patch and annoying the **** out of me.  I have been putting vaseline on it religiously and although it feels better with the vaseline, it's not going away.  It's not terribly discolored but it's definitely there and annoying and puffy and numbish and dry....WEIRD! HELP?
Avatar universal
Hi,
I just had exactly what you have described, about a month ago. It drove me crazy and I hated the way it felt. I was so aware of it 24/7 and I was so worried it was something serious. I used cold sore lip balm (Herpecine-L) for about a week and thank god it went away. Try it, because if it's NOT a cold sore then the cold sore medicine won't work. At least you'll know what it isn't. Hope you get your answers, I know how annoying it can be! You may want to see a dermatologist if all else fails. Good luck!!!
Avatar universal
is herpecin the same general thing as something like abreva?  should i try that??  thanks for the input! :) im definitely gonna take your advice!!
Avatar universal
I too have precisely the same thing you describe.  I could have written your post.  It started out as a strip of dry skin on my upper lip, right of center.  It feels like a piece of tape stuck to my lip - unlike anything I'd felt before.  I keep rubbing my lips together.  It is so irritating.  It very gradually spread to a patch and I went to see my doctor.  I was embarrassed because you can't really see much of anything at all.  I felt I was being a hypochondriac, but deep down I was afraid it was a serious virus or cancer.  She was baffled, gave me a script for Valtrex although we both agreed it didn't look or act like a cold sore.  I have a follow up this week and I'm going to ask her for a referral to a dermatologist.  My bio is very much like yours.  Has anyone had any diagnoses or effective treatments?

lm65
Avatar universal
Whatever happened with that?  Mine went away after posting this so long ago (and I faithfully applied the Herpecin but am not sure if that was the cure or not??) but is now back!  Its the exact same spot, exact same symptoms - dry skin, raised bumpish, scaly - but that's IT!  No pain, no burning, no itching, NOTHING.  It's so bizarre.  What was the final diagnosis after trying the Valtrex?  Anything?
Avatar universal
I just found this site because I'm going crazy wondering about what's wrong with my lips?? First there would be a dry spot on my bottom lip feeling like tape just like someone else said. That was like 5 months ago. It would come go away and come back. Now there are two patches on my top lips also, and as you can guess I'm taking it even more seriously. It worries me it could be something serious, but its also noticeable. I'm medium/dark complected having light pinkish brown lips, and this is starting to turn red on the bottom lip. it doesn't hurt, and I can't really pick any skin off any more. help me please!
Avatar universal
i have the same thing and i see a bunch of other ppl do but no answers.... ??? what is it???

also the thing about if you stretch the skin you see small white dots.. i asked my doctor about that he said it's normal.  

idk about this rough patch though it's worrying me!! just noticed it starting yesterday.
Avatar universal
i have a couple of dry slightly dark patches on my lips as well. they usually flake off but then reappear. i suspect this may be related to anti depressants. im on avanza 15mg and ive noticed this started when i was put onto this medication. would anyone whom has posted their concerns by chance be also on any anti depressants???
Have an Answer?
Top Dermatology Answerers
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Learn to identify and prevent bites from summer’s most common pests.
Doctors argue for legislation to curb this dangerous teen trend in the latest Missouri Medicine report.
10 ways to keep your skin healthy all winter long
How to get rid of lumpy fat on your arms, hips, thighs and bottom
Diet “do’s” and “don’ts” for healthy, radiant skin.
Images of rashes caused by common skin conditions