What Is Farmer’s Lip?
Farmer’s Lip is caused because of continuous sun exposure for longer periods of time. Farmer’s Lip is a precancerous condition and can develop in to cancer. As the lower lips are more exposed to sun, thus the Farmer’s Lip generally occurs on the lower lip and very rarely on the upper lip.
What Are The Symptoms of Farmer’s Lip?
The symptoms of the Farmer’s Lips are keratosis i.e. the lips become scaly and rough and the skin of the lips thickened. Further, there is an inflammation on the lips and the differentiating line between the lips and the facial skin disappears. There is tenderness and soreness on the lips and severe dryness occurs, that gives the lips a scaly appearance. There are white lesions which may be due to keratosis. In others, red lesions are seen due to inflammation and loss of the upper skin. When the exposure is chronic, and if the symptoms continue without any treatment, the skin becomes grey white and severely dried. It has been seen that the fair-skinned people are more vulnerable to Farmer’s Lip as they are less protected from sunlight.
What Are the Causes and Risk Factors for Farmer’s Lip?
The Farmer’s Lip is caused by excessive exposure of the skin to solar radiations. The radiation causes mutation in the DNA and may result in cancer. Following are the causes and risk factors that are responsible for triggering Farmer’s Lip:
- Excessive Solar Exposure: As the sunlight contains UV-radiations, long term exposure to these radiations may cause this condition.
- Fair Skin: It has been found that as the fair skinned people have less protection from the damaging effects of sun, they are more prone to this condition.
- Sex: Males are more prone to Farmer’s Lip as compared to females.
- Profession: Those people who are involved in such profession that requires a long-term exposure to sun are at higher risk such as fishermen, lifeguards, farmers, construction workers etc.
- Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of Farmer’s Lip as it changes the basic characteristics of the lips.
- Immunosuppression and Other Skin Conditions: Patients who are on immunosuppressive drugs should take care when going out in sun as this may increase the chances of getting sunburn. Also, the people having the skin conditions that increase photosensitivity are at greater risk of developing Farmer’s Lip.
What Are The Further Complications of Farmer’s Lip?
The DNA of the cells of the lips is mutated by the harmful solar radiations and thus this disease has a significant risk of developing in to lip cancer. It has been shown that the Farmer’s Lip is a precancerous condition and according to an estimate almost 15 to 20% of the people diagnosed with Farmer’s Lip develop cancer.
What Are the Treatments for Farmer’s Lip?
The treatment for farmer’s lip depends upon the severity of the condition. If the disease is acute, it may take few weeks to heal while in chronic cases the treatment takes too long. The treatment is oral, topical and surgery. In mild to moderate conditions, the symptoms can be treated drugs. However, in severe conditions, surgery is advised. The drugs used are topical 5-Fluorouracil and imiquimod. The surgery can be cryosurgery, chemical peeling, CO2 Laser, electrosurgery and vermilionectomy.
How Can Farmer’s Lip Be Prevented?
As farmer’s lip disease is causes by the chronic exposure to solar radiation, the best method is to prevent the skin from the damaging effects. If possible, the sun exposure should be completely avoided by the people who have at higher risk of getting Farmer’s Lip. The people should use a high-quality sunscreen on the lips and keeps the skin hydrated. Use of broad head that effectively blocks direct sunlight on face is also advised.
Farmer’s Lip is the condition occurring due to chronic exposure to solar radiations. The symptoms include dryness and occurrence of flakes along with inflammation and white or red lesions. It is a precancerous condition and may develop into cancer. However, due to its visible location it is diagnosed early and thus treatable. The person who is more at risk should avoid the long exposure to sun. The treatment includes topical and surgical.
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