Actinic chelitis is caused by chronic and excessive exposure to the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight. There is thickening whitish discoloration of the lip at the border of the lip and skin. There is also loss of the usually sharp demarcation between the red of the lip and the normal skin (vermilion border). This condition is considered premalignant and may lead to squamous cell skin cancer.
Review Date: 7/25/2017
Reviewed By: David L. Swanson, MD, Vice Chair of Medical Dermatology, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Mayo Medical School, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.