Scabs are formed when the platelets in the body, work to heal a wound. Therefore, although scabs on the lips are unsightly, they are a clear indication that the body is working to heal that damaged area.
There is no trick to hiding them when in this area. Furthermore, if you try to pick the scab or remove it, then you risk dealing with an open wound all over again.
Attempting to remove them delays healing and leads to the formation of more scabs. The only solution is to fasten healing so that they would drop off.
Causes or why do they form?
There are various factors that can lead to the formation of scabs on the lips. These factors include:
Blisters from injuries, fever, chemical burn, or frequent sun exposure can develop into scabs. The Herpes Simplex Type 1 (HSV-1) can also trigger the formation of blisters on this area.
Cold sores are blister-like lesions that can appear on the nostrils, lips, on the cheeks or chin. They are also known as fever blisters and are mostly caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). If you have a cold sore anywhere, then you are likely to develop a cold sore scab.
Shingles and chicken pox
The herpes zoster virus (that causes shingles and chicken pox) can trigger the development sores on the affected area. This virus can remain dormant in the body for a long time, only to break out when the immunity weakens.
Dry lips or a bad case of chapped lips can cause wounds. There are extensive factors that can trigger this chapping. For instance, harsh weather conditions, dehydration, or cheilitis. However, this condition can at times lead to risks of developing wounds if it is chronic. These wounds, in turn, become scabs during the healing process.
There are other extensive factors that can trigger scabs on the lips. They include drug side effects, diseases or medical conditions such as eczema, and other skin infections such as candidiasis.
If you develop a fever, or a cold, then you are at risk of developing a blister that, in turn, develops into a scab. At times a pimple on the lip can break open and become a scab. Overall, any wound on the lip is likely to develop into a scab as it tries to heal.
Scab on lip healing: what to do?
The scab formation on any wound on the lip is a signifier that the wound is trying to heal. Therefore, it would be unwise for you to provoke the wound either by touching it, licking it, or picking at the wound. It is a protective layer on the wound that protects it from infection. Once the skin has repaired itself, the scab will fall off.
The sight of a scab on the lip is something that most people find uncomfortable. However, this is a time for you to practice patience and give the wound some time to heal. One of the things you can do is apply a lip balm, Vaseline, or any paraffin-based ointment on the lip. The paraffin forms a protective layer that seals in moisture and prevents bacteria from interfering with the healing process. This, in turn, fastens the healing of the wound.
Applying a lip balm is a short-term solution to the problem. It is advisable to understand the root cause of the scab. Is it the result of a bacterial infection, fever, or an underlying condition? If the wound was as a result of frequent sun exposure, then look for a lip balm with a broad spectrum SPF to give your lips the much-needed protection from the sun.
Avoid touching the lips. Although this is one of those tempting habits, touching the wounded areas reintroduces bacteria into the wound. Moreover, you run the risk of spreading the virus (this is in the case of Herpes), to other areas in the body.
Take in lots of water and try to maintain a healthy diet. Your body needs the vitamins to heal. Moreover, Cheilitis, which can also cause lip sores, is associated with vitamin B12 deficiency. Therefore, it is advisable to adopt a healthy, vitamin-rich diet that will boost your skin’s immunity.
You can gently wash a scab. Here, you can mix a bit of antiseptic in some water, take a clean cloth, and gently dab the affected area with the antiseptic solutions. You can also opt for an antiseptic soap. Once you finish washing your face, take the soap, carefully wash the affected the region, rinse, and dry out by dabbing with a clean towel. Remember to rinse your hands after the process.
There are over the counter ointments that you can use to fasten the healing time. For instance, lidocaine/benzyl alcohol, or Abreva. On the downside, the American Academy of Dermatology discourages the use of topical ointments and antibiotics to heal scabs. The frequent use of ointments increases the risk of your body developing anti-microbial resistance.