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Actinic Cheilitis

Actinic Cheilitis Causes

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.

Actinic Cheilitis Definition

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.

Actinic Cheilitis Diagnosis

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.

Actinic Cheilitis 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.

Actinic Cheilitis Treatment

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.

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