Etiologically, chronic exposure to sunlight is responsible for this condition, which in fact leads to genetic alterations of cells over time.
It mainly affects fair-skinned people, with blonde or red hair, and blue, green or gray eyes, who have less melanin and are therefore more sensitive if overexposed to the sun. There is a slight predilection of men because they tend to spend more time in the sun and use less sunscreen protection than women, and they may be more likely to work outdoors, which may be a determining factor.
Upon clinical examination, atrophy, red and white areas and sometimes erosions and ulcers are observed in the lip vermilion, while in more advanced cases demarcation of the sharp vermilion – skin border is reported.
Regarding treatment, a biopsy of the symptomatic area of the lip should take place, in order to document the presence of actinic cheilitis. Additionally a recommendation for the total removal of the affected area, usually using a laser, is made.
It is essential that patients with actinic cheilitis should use lip sunscreens with a high protection index and wear a hat during summer months in order to protect themselves as best as possible.