Having dry, chapped, or tiny bumps on lips is a common annoyance for a large part of the population. It can be very painful and unattractive. Causes for chapped lips can be many, such as dehydration, allergic reaction, smoking, licking or other things. Usually keeping your lips moisturized can treat the tiny bumps but if that doesn’t work, the cause may be more than the usual suspects. If you notice something on your lip that feels scaly, looks like a burn, or turns white, you may need to see a doctor. Here are 3 important things to know about tiny bumps on lips that feel like sand paper.
The tiny bumps may be (AC) which results from chronic exposure of the lower lip to solar ultraviolet radiation. It is more vulnerable than surrounding skin because mucosal epithelium is thinner and less pigmented than the epidermis. It usually appears as very chapped lips, then may turn white or sandpaper like. AC may be painless, but it can become a type of skin cancer if left untreated.
If you burn or freckle easily in the sun, or have a history of skin cancer, you might also be more likely to develop AC. Actinic cheilitis mainly affects adults with fair skin who live in tropical or subtropical areas, especially outdoor workers.
Because it’s impossible to tell what AC patches will develop into skin cancer, all AC cases should be treated with medication or surgery. Limiting further sun exposure is usually the most important part of treatment. Moisturizers and staying hydrated can often help reduce symptoms of dryness. There are some prescription medications used for the treatment of actinic cheilitis, but a dermatologist first needs to examine each lesion to see if that is going to be an effective option.