Actinic Cheilitis

Below you will find more information about Actinic Cheilitis from Medigest. If you believe that you are suffering from any of the symptoms of Actinic Cheilitis it is important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional to ensure that you obtain the correct medication or treatment for your condition. There are medical conditions that carry similar symptoms associated with Actinic Cheilitis and therefore the information provided by Medigest is offered as a guideline only and should never be used in preference to seeking professional medical advice. The information relating to Actinic Cheilitis comes from a third party source and Medigest will not be held liable for any inaccuracies relating to the information shown.


Sometimes known as "sailor's lip" or "farmer's lip," actinic cheilitis is a precancerous condition related to cumulative lifetime sun exposure. People with this disorder often complain of cracking of the lips and persistent dryness where the lower lip is most often affected.


Your doctor may remove a small skin sample (biopsy) for examination under a microscope, in addition to taking a complete checking of the affected area of the skin and as well as a complete medical history. The biopsy is often sent to a pathologist in diagnosing the skin samples.


Without evidence of malignancy in severe cases, a lip shave procedure (vermilionectory may be performed for the treatment of this skin disorder). A physician may also recommend destruction (ablation) of the damaged cells with carbon dioxide laser in less extreme cases.

Symptoms and Signs

Located on the lips, actinic cheilitis is most often on the lower lip. Among the signs and symptoms noted are scaliness, persistent redness and chapping of the lip. Cracks (fissures) and erosions may be present as well.


The main cause of actinic cheilitis or farmer's lip is excessive and chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight. There may be a thickening whitish discoloration of the lip at the border of the skin and lip. The usually sharp demarcation between the normal skin (vermilion border) and the red of the lip may also be lost.

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