Lip buildup from talking
January 22, 2014 11:45 AM   Subscribe

I teach a short lecture class, and by the end, there are gross white (spit? dead skin?) lines on my lips from talking that won't come off unless I scrape at them with a fingernail. I want this to not happen.

My mouth usually gets fairly dry when I talk. I drink water throughout the day, including during class, and usually put on lip gloss or Aquaphor before class, but nothing seems to make a difference. As a preventative, I gently exfoliate and put coconut oil and vaseline on my lips right after showering, which has reduced the dead skin on my lips, but hasn't addressed this particular issue. Students come up to talk to me one-on-one after class and I feel self-conscious about this, and I don't want it to happen when I do job interviews soon. this previous question but it did not have solutions. What can I do to prevent this?
posted by deus ex machina to Health & Fitness (13 answers total)
Thrush? (That is, a yeast infection?)

See a doctor for meds.
posted by vitabellosi at 11:51 AM on January 22, 2014

I'm assuming these lines are at the corners of your mouth?

Drinking from a glass instead of a water bottle can help, especially if you let as much of your lips as possible touch the water.

Wipe your mouth off periodically when you talk. You can subtly incorporate this into hand on chin type gestures or wipe your mouth when you turn to face the board if you like.

Try different brands of lip balm and see if any work better for you. If your lip gloss is adding color to your lips it's just going to make the white lines contrast more.
posted by yohko at 12:17 PM on January 22, 2014

Yeah...unless you have other symptoms of thrush, I highly doubt you have it. I often get this (I call it "lip scum") when I've been talking more than usual. I've found that the biggest "cure" is to never lick your lips and to try out a variety of moisturizers. I'm partial to Lush's Lip Service, but YMMV.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 12:18 PM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh! And I also like to scrub my lips with a washcloth in the shower. It takes a while for results to show, but I feel like this process has really cut down on my lip scum issues.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 12:24 PM on January 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

Could it be the foundation you're wearing? Do you have oily skin that causes product to build up there?

I'd definitely try switching to a lip stain vs. lip gloss/lipstick.

Try honey on your lips - keep it on overnight - and then exfoliate your lips with a towel/wash cloth/old toothbrush.

Here are others talking - about - it, maybe there is more in terms of help.
posted by travelwithcats at 12:31 PM on January 22, 2014

Any chance your toothpaste might be to blame? Crest Pro-Health can cause this sort of slime. See reviews.
posted by figgy_finicky at 12:34 PM on January 22, 2014

Yes, it could be thrush. Are you on antibiotics? That can be a contributing source.
posted by Leontine at 12:38 PM on January 22, 2014

Are you well-hydrated?
posted by sockermom at 1:30 PM on January 22, 2014

I also doubt it's thrush. I get this too (I'm assuming you mean across your lips in a line, from corner to corner, one "line" on each lip?) I just thought it was a normal thing that happened when you're talking a lot - I got it a lot when I worked in retail and was talking to customers all day. Like you I needed to scrape it away with a fingernail. I kind of thought it might be like a tide-line of saliva (ick etc) that happens when you lick your lips and it dries quickly as you keep talking, and this just builds up over a period of time. So schroedingersgirl's advice not to lick your lips might be helpful. I also got into a habit of surreptitiously running a nail across my lips now and again, maybe after taking a drink of water, to prevent it building up in the first place.

However the other thing I'd say is that I've noticed it on other people now and then, and have never thought "ew gross!" I doubt your students would be thinking anything about it so don't feel self-conscious. It's just one of those things that bodies do!
posted by billiebee at 1:34 PM on January 22, 2014 [5 favorites]

This happens to me when I'm dehydrated and/or not putting on lip balm enough. I highly recommend Kiehl's lip balm in the tub. Seriously is the only reason my lips aren't bleeding in this cold and it help keeps the dry crud away.
posted by whoaali at 2:04 PM on January 22, 2014

Regular use of a glass of water and a nice crisp handkerchief should be sufficient. A discrete sip and wipe every now and again and mouth scum should be easily avoided.
posted by Caskeum at 3:06 PM on January 22, 2014

Hmmm...I use Sensodyne with extra whitening and don't rinse with water afterwards, per my dentist's instructions. travelswithcats' links seem to suggest that that could be to blame. I'm thinking that I'll start rinsing really well afterwards or switch up the toothpaste if that doesn't work. I'll try some Kiehls and/or some Maybelline Baby Lips (recommended in the links) and see if either of those help. Thanks!
posted by deus ex machina at 3:15 PM on January 22, 2014

If the lines are at the corners of your mouth, try taking a B-complex vitamin. My ex used to get the white scum and sometimes painful cracks in the corners of his mouth and it helped him.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:21 PM on January 22, 2014

« Older Seventeen thousand books, no carpentry experience...   |   Does organic produce taste better than... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.