umm..lippity split?
October 7, 2008 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Sorry this is kind of mundane, but I have a split lip, and it won't seem to heal. Advice?

OK, YANAD and YANMD. I've actually been to the doc about this but it's yet to resolve and it seems to stupid and mundane that maybe someone else has some glistening wisdom that my doc missed? So my mouth gets really really dry at night when I sleep. Because of this, my upper lip has split at the lefthand "point" of my upper lip. The split is partially outside my mouth but mostly inside, where the skin is typically moist and glossy. You can't see the split when i have my mouth closed. I would say that it's 80 percent inside and 20 percent outside. The edges of the split seem to have calloused almost from constantly reopening. My doctor said that the part inside would heal on its own and i should keep vaseline on the outside part. But he didn't seem to understand how incredibly dry my mouth gets at night -- it's NOT healing, it's closing up and then reopening every few days and as time goes on it's getting more firmly...entrenched....and it's quite painful especially in the middle of the night. I really want to avoid a humidifier if possible because I seem to get sick whenever I use those. I kind of want to start putting like neosporin on it, but I know that's not supposed to be for internal use.

Can anyone give me advice on how to deal with this issue? Dry mouth didn't bother me until this lip-splitting thing started. FYI it's been like this more on than off for the last month or more.

posted by Soulbee to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Leaving out the humidifier makes this a rough proposition. Some of my suggestions:

Use this "Biotene" toothpaste for dry mouth late at night. You can use your usual in the morning. It seems to leave my mouth more moist.

Drink a heck of a lot of water, to the point where you have to wake up in the middle of the night to hit the bathroom.

Experiment with Vitamin E instead of Neosporin.

If you can breathe through your nose, experiment with a compression garment for the face, particularly for necklifts. That might help keep your mouth shut at night.
posted by adipocere at 8:53 AM on October 7, 2008

Best answer: I'm a compulsive chapstick user in the winter otherwise this happens to me. When it does I find Orajel is a life saver. It boths numbs the area so I can sleep and as a side effect makes me drool like an idiot which I find undesirable but may help you out. I see they have a dry mouth formula.

It's definitely key, in my case anyway, to keep the area moist otherwise it scabs up and re-cracks.
posted by Mitheral at 9:05 AM on October 7, 2008

For the outside parts, this stuff is worth every penny.

I would recommend finding a different doctor or perhaps a specialist. A dermatologist perhaps, or someone who specializes in mouth stuff?
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:45 AM on October 7, 2008

I don't know if this is helpful, but I had a lot of problems with split lips (esp at the corners, but on the lip itself like you as well) that just wouldn't heal, and I went through every damn lip ointment in the drugstore before someone told me it could be a vitamin deficiency (which was possible, since I was in a work situation where I was eating lots of convenience food every day, and no veggies to speak of). I went on a multivitamin and ate a big salad, and three days later my lips had completely healed, with no change to anything I was applying topically.

So: how's your diet? Any chance this is your problem?
posted by olinerd at 10:31 AM on October 7, 2008

Best answer: Triple antibiotic creams like Neosporin heal those for me. I don't want to think about why that might be, but give it a shot.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:51 AM on October 7, 2008

You should investigate chelilitis. Cracked lips can actually be infected sores, which can be caused by bacteria from the mouth "leaking" out. Agree with small_ruminant to treat lips with triple antibiotics. Also, modify dental hygeine to neutralize pH. Gargle with hydrogen peroxide, brush with baking soda, use organic mouth washes like Jason's.
Fair skinned people seem expecially prone to chelilitis.
posted by ohshenandoah at 12:21 PM on October 7, 2008

Best answer: Also: don't lick your lips or let your tongue probe the wound on the outside. Saliva is very drying.
posted by gramcracker at 12:57 PM on October 7, 2008

Try Aquaphor (made by Eucerin) -- look in the skin lotion section (it's OK to use on your lips). It is recommended for people who take Accutane and notice that every part of their skin is completely drying out.
posted by oldtimey at 5:11 PM on October 7, 2008

When I was on Accutane, my lips split pretty frequently. My doctor recommended Aquaphor, which worked well.
posted by booksandlibretti at 5:19 PM on October 7, 2008

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