Burning lips: 18 Causes and 7 Remedies

Have you experienced the following scenario…?

You are ready to attend a party.  You are wearing the prettiest dress and the most desired accessories.  You look into to the mirror but find one thing more glaring than your dress and your pretty eyes…. your chapped lips. It spoils looks, and you do not feel like going to the party at all.

Did you wonder, “Why do my lips burn in spite of all the moisturization?”    Consider the following, and you will get answers to this condition!

There are few ailments in the body which you feel are inconsequential and is usually, ignored.  Burning lips is one of these.  Burning lips occur for various reasons, so it is better to give two minutes time to check if it is happening just because you ate something spicy or it is because of a severe underlying condition.

Burning lips have any or all of these characteristics.

  • Lip is chapped and almost dry
  • Bleeding
  • Irritation
  • Burning sensation

18 Causes of Burning lips:

burning lips
Burning lips
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Here are few reasons for the occurrence of Burning and chapped lips

Cold sores and Herpes:

Upper respiratory tract infections like Kawasaki Syndrome and herpes simplex stomatitis(also called cold sores) are also responsible for causing upper lip infections.  Cold sores are filled with liquid and are caused due to the herpes simplex virus. This problem is infectious and can spread on personal contact like kissing.


Hypoglycemia occurs when your blood sugar levels reduce.  You may experience this situation on any day.  In extreme conditions, this leads to diabetes.

Symptoms of this condition include blurry vision shaking, nausea and burning lips.

Autoimmune disease:

Sjogren disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus are diseases caused due to disorder in your immunity system.  The main symptoms of these health problems are dry eyes and mouth.

Perleche infection:

Perleche infection is a yeast infection.  The persons affected by this infection end up with cracks in the skin such as corners of the mouth.

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Endocrine disorder:

The Endocrine system is made of glands that secrete essential hormones in different parts of the body.  These glands play a significant role in the processes of production of blood cells, pregnancy, bone development, body weight issues, puberty and stress management.  Their malfunctioning can cause Thyroid disorder, diabetes and early menopause.

One of the symptoms of their malfunctioning is Stinging lips.

Precancerous disease:

Precancerous diseases show growth of abnormal cells which may have the potential to cause cancer.  Dry burning lips is a precancerous condition that may reflect impending cancer or cancer in its preliminary stages.

Raynaud’s syndrome:

A burning sensation in your lips could also be due to Raynaud’s syndrome.  There are two types of this syndrome

  • The cause for primary Raynaud is stress or exposure to cold climes.  Home remedies are enough to cure this one.
  • The cause of secondary Raynaud syndrome is reduced flow of blood that causes the areas to turn blue.  This is experienced mostly in people above 40 years of age.  If your experience burning lips plus blueness, it is wise to consult a doctor.
Sun poisoning:

While most of the parts of the body can be covered, the face and lower arms are usually exposed to the sun.  Lips are a part of the front and sun can cause chapped, itchy lips that even crack at the corners.

Medical procedures and Dental procedures:

Medical and dental procedures around the mouth like fitting dentures can lead to dryness of mouth and lips.  Poorly fitted dentures can cause lip trauma when both come in contact.

Neurological causes:

When the nerves near the mouth are altered, then you have a burning sensation in your lips. Nerve damage or neuropathy occurs due to injury to the skin in extreme cold or hot conditions or exposure to substances like bleach.


Different types of allergies can cause burning lips:

  • Food allergy – Eating milk, fish, nuts, soy, wheat, peanuts and shellfish can cause food allergies to some people which would lead to burning lips.  This allergic reaction can be seen only after 2-4 hours of ingesting these foods
  • Allergens in the air – During some season’s pollen grains, mites and insects populate the air. During such times people with seasonal allergies they experience burning lips, itchiness, rashes, hives and skin rash.
  • You might be allergic to drugs.  Certain penicillin or penicillin-based antibiotics cause allergies in few individuals.  If you are allergic to such drugs, the first reaction will be a stinging pain in your lips.  Rashes, facial swelling and hives follow next.  Keep track of the drugs which cause allergy and inform these allergies when you visit a doctor.
  • Chemical allergies occur if you use cosmetics that have chemical ingredients.  These chemicals react with your skin causing dry patches, burning lips and blisters.
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Monitor Allergies closely.  They may either go away in few hours or may cause life-threatening situations!

Vitamin  and mineral deficiency:

If your body lacks Vitamin B-9, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin C, Zinc, Potassium, Magnesium and Iron you likely have certain problems like irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps and also Burning lips.

This occurs because your body lacks the nutrients to prepare new red blood cells which carry food and oxygen around the body.  Also, vitamin B12 deficiency is the cause of Cheilitis, a condition where lips become red and itchy.

Vitamin deficiency occurs due to poor diet, pregnancy, chronic illness, alcohol and smoking.

You can solve this problem either by taking supplements on advice from a doctor or including meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables in your meals. Be informed that overdose of vitamin A also caused cracked and dry lips.

Food Poisoning:

One of the reasons for burning lips is food Poisoning.  Eating from outdated cartons, food kept in the fridge for a very long time or contaminated foods are some of the caused by food poisoning. Stomach cramps, burning lips, nausea, diarrhea, fever and vomiting are some of the symptoms of food poisoning.

Insect bite and other reactions:

Insect bites may sometimes cause allergic reactions like itchiness, swelling in the area and burning lips.

Dry burning lips may be due to Cancer:

People who have oral cancer also experience problems in other parts of the mouth.  Oral cancer causes burning lips, sores and sometimes bleeding too.

Physical trauma:

Tingling lips is a result of pain/trauma in a particular area of the mouth.  For example, people who use dentures face the problem of itchy, red or dry lips

Dry weather:

Dry weather causes loss of moisture insensitive and exposed parts of our body.  Lack of moisture causes lips to become chapped. This creates a burning sensation in the lips


Cigarettes contain a significant amount of tar and tobacco that can stain and dry your lips.  Also, the heat of the burning cigarette can harm your lips in many ways.

Symptoms of Burning lips:

These symptoms are visible when you have Burning lips

  • Swelling of lips
  • Dryness
  • Chapping/cracking
  • Redness
  • Hives

If burning lips is due to a minor cause you can cure it with home remedies.  But seek medical attention if this ailment occurs along with symptoms like:

  • Dizziness or nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Speaking difficulties
  • You lose the sense of taste and smell
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Weakness experienced in arms and legs
  • Numbness on one side of face
  • Severe headache
  • Unable to sit stand or walk
  • Pain in chest or arms.
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If these symptoms occur take a doctor’s appointment immediately.  It is better you note down all the symptoms you experience and tell your doctor so that a proper diagnosis and treatment mode is prescribed by him/her at the earliest.

7 Remedies for burning lips:

Treatment of burning lips is decided after ascertaining the cause of the same.  In case the cause is minor, go for moisturization of lips using the numerous home remedies available.  But if burning lips are a result of cancer or severe allergies take a trip to your doctor who will give you medicine accordingly.

Moisturize during dry weather:

With the onset of the dry season every part of our body experiences dryness.  Lips are exposed to weather conditions, and hence you should moisturize them at frequent intervals.

Sun poisoning:

Sun Poisoning is one of the regular reasons for Burning lips.  You can protect your lips by applying sunscreen whenever you are going out in the sun.

Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency:

Eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers like milk, fish, nuts, pork, eggs, bread, poultry, vegetables, soya beans etc.  In case you avoid the non-vegetarian food you take a help of a doctor who will prescribe supplements so that your deficiency goes away.


If the cause of dry burning lips is an infection, then doctors may prescribe antimicrobial creams or antibiotics to combat it.

Avoid overuse of cosmetics:

Avoid over-use of lipsticks and other cosmetics that can cause problems to our sensitive lips

Prevent cigarettes and excess caffeine:

Cigarettes and caffeine both cause harm to sensitive lips by drying them.  Avoid cigarette and reduce caffeine intake to minimize chapped lips.

Stay away from allergens:

If you are allergic to some foods or airborne substances, it is better to keep away from the allergens to ward off allergic reactions like leaky nose, cramps in the stomach or dry burning lips.

Home remedies:

Home remedies concentrate on moisturizing lips.  Here are a few of them that you can try to solve this problem in a jiffy.

  • Using Baking soda to heal chapped lips
  • Milk cream – The fat in milk cream dehydrates chapped lips and reduces burning.
  • Balanced diet – Provides vitamins and minerals to keep you and your lips in good shape
  • Apply aloe vera in the affected area several times a day can moisturize and heal chapped, dry and itchy lips
  • Drink water, and it keeps you hydrated in any temperature or weather condition.
  • Avoid licking lips

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