Share: how to combat yucky white film on lips?

Hello Vivabellas. I have a lip problem that I hope you can help me with. For quite awhile now, I can’t use lipstick and lip gloss for too long without having a line of white film from the lipstick or lip gloss accumulate on my lips. It is not dry or flaky but just a disgusting looking whitish accumulation that appear on the inside of my lips, the part where my lips are pressed together. This always happen when I’m speaking for awhile in an air conditioned room and it’s darn embarrassing because it’s so unsightly. I always have to rush to the toilet to scratch it off with water and my fingernails!

I’ve done whatever I can to rectify the problem but to no avail. These include:
– using a protective balm on my lips during bed time
– frequently scrubbing with toothbrush, DIY recipes or cotton pad

I doubt it’s anything to do with the lipstick or lip gloss I use as it happens with every one of them! The only thing that works well for me now is lip balms. I’m thinking it’s due to the room temperature, or because of the way my saliva reacts with the ingredients in the lipsticks or lip gloss.

Do any of you have this problem? How do you combat it other than washing it off and applying a new coat of lipstick or lip gloss?


  1. mimi says:

    really lovely comments on here. will try some of the suggestions and see if it works.

  2. Suzie says:

    I have this problem. I haven’t found a solution yet, even lip balm does it to me, including Vaseline! It’s definitely worse when I’m at work, in an air conditioned office so room temperature must play a big part in the problem. I am still looking for a way to wear lip gloss without it turning into a disgusting white slug on my lip, so if you find a real cure let me know ?

  3. DMich says:

    How wonderful it is to know that I am not alone in this struggle!! Like some of u, I came across this discussion after initiating a search on google specifically seeking solutions to this problem. It is absolutely difficult to live with and it’s not just a “small” issue. It affects my social interactions and confidence on a daily basis. It’s horrible to be speaking to someone and they cannot help but stare at your lips. Or, you look away during a conversation and you see the other person lick their lips. Or, worst of all, you are speaking to someone and they pull out their chapstick and apply based on how your lips are. I saw a lot of great ideas on here, some I’ve heard of before and some not. It is completely logical that the problem is due to dry skin and possible other underlying health conditions/vitamin deficiencies. I noticed the problem after the birth of my son, actually. And it has been ongoing for several YEARS now. ? I now notice that he also has excessive chapped lips and gets the “white ring.” So, there has to be a medical or other issue that is common between us. We also both suffer from allergies and he, from asthma. As I attempt some of the ideas I’ve read, I promise to come back and provide an update. I have to be careful because he is a child so I will attempt the more natural route with most of the things I try. Thank you so, so much for starting this forum. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions!

  4. K9810 says:

    I am so happy to have found this forum. I’ve had this problem for about 4 years now and I always thought I was alone! I involuntarily lick my lips ALL the time because they’re so dry and it looks so embarrassing. I can’t even watch videos of myself! I’m going to try all of these methods and I am hoping I find something that lasts. I’ve also noticed the white film gets increasingly worse if I’ve just applied lip balm and then drink something. I’m grateful for these suggestions, thank you

  5. Katrin says:

    I never see this problem on other women, so I’m glad I’m not alone! I moisturize my lips a lot and exfoliating with any product or implement makes them very dry and flakey. In addition to the gunk, the skin inside my bottom lip turns white and dies, and I find myself removing this with my teeth, I know, gross, but this is not an etiquette thread! So far I haven’t seen any suggestions I haven’t tried. I love lip color. I love how it looks and how it makes me feel, but not what it does to my po’ widdle pie hole!

  6. Sesame Chew says:

    I don’t have this problem now that I talk lesser. I used to rush to the toilet to wash. Wiping off didn’t help much.

  7. Lola says:

    I have had this problem forever it seems. I really thought that I was the only one out there. I found a solution in Philosophy’s Kiss Me lip gloss– but only the original, clear one. I wore it for 10 years and my problem was solved. Much to my dismay, they recently discontinued it. For the love of god- Why??? I can’t even find old tubes of it on eBay! The colored ones are still in production, but I find them sticky and gross and they create the “white ring” on me.
    Many of the “answers” on the internet claim your lips are too dry or it’s dead skin cells, but I have trouble believing that, as I always have something on my lips- ChapStick, Vaseline, Burt’s Bees, Myrad, organic/natural lip balms from Farmer’s markets, the local Co-op, etc… I am still searching for a replacement, but to no avail as of yet. I recently found an old tube of the Philosophy original in my car and it was like striking gold. It still works like magic and I’m rationing it for special occasions now. So sad.
    If anyone finds anything, please let me know!
    Chalk Lips

  8. Sesame Chew says:

    Using Hurraw currently and it’s good so far. But it’s a lip balm, not a gloss.

  9. Doris A. says:

    Yes, drinking anything with lipgloss or lipcolor on my lips takes a tumble for the worse. Wow, I cannot believe I am not the only one.

  10. says:

    Make a combo of sugar and olive oil into a paste. You can add any natural flavor like vanilla or orange to your liking. Scrub you lips with the mixture then lick the residue off. Dry with a towel and apply a thin layer of balm. He olive oil should lock the moisture while the sugar will scrub and dead skin off of lips. I have been using this trip for years. ?

  11. Sesame Chew says:

    Sounds like something I can try. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Samantha says:

    So glad I am not alone! It is truly such a frustrating problem. I exfoliate with lip scrub but nothing helps. I feel like the only option is to not wear any lip balm ?

  13. Sesame says:

    Or you could try wiping your lips during a designated time of the day with a wet cloth/tissue so that you can apply a fresh coat of lip balm/lipstick.

  14. AESB says:

    I’ve just started having this problem regularly, though I’ve experienced it from time to time for years. I definitely notice it occurs more frequently when I’m talking or not drinking enough water. But the biggest culprit for me seems to be Crest toothpaste. The Pro Health variety makes the inside of my mouth “peel” in a way and creates a slimy film that collects under my lips. But the Crest Complete (with whitening) is the one that creates the white gunk that collects along the space where my lips meet. Yuck! No more Crest products for me. I’ve noticed that this issue is greatly reduced when I use Colgate Total. Just wondering if some of you are using Crest products as well?

  15. Caitlyn says:

    It apparently is caused by dehydration. I’ve had this problem for years and just now thought to look it up (what is wrong with me?!?!). It makes perfect sense because I know I do not drink enough water. Try it!

  16. Sesame says:

    Hmmm…sounds logical. It’s probably the saliva and the dehydration? I used to get that a lot cos I had to talk a lot in my old job but now that I don’t, this isn’t a problem anymore.

  17. Anon says:

    OMG!! I just switched to the whole crest line and this happens to me

  18. Anon says:

    This happens to me when I get really nervous and get dry mouth. I can feel the moisture in my mouth getting sucked out. I get really dry mouth when doing a public presentation or during, say, a job interview. Even sipping water during doesn’t help. It’s so embarrassing! I haven’t figured out how to stop it.

  19. Sesame says:

    When I was lecturing, I would make sure I do a wipe off of my lips after some time and reapply. Otherwise, it looks completely gross.

  20. Terry says:

    I am not a woman, lol and I do have this problem myself my lips do this and from what I was told by a nurse is that we are mouth breathers (nose blocked or whatever possibly smoking) and it is not just a ac unit that causes your mouth to get dryer than it normally should. As far as a solution goes I really don’t know of one and I do know what you mean you wake up next to your significant other it’s there be talking to people they don’t say anything. I really hate it I have even gone to putting blistex on mine then putting neutrogena soother to seal the air from getting on mine on top of the bistex which does seem to help. You may also if you can rinse out your mouth, brush your teeth etc. as well so your roof of your mouth is cleared of the dryness. The only sad thing is that you still have to watch this throughout the day. Just wipe around your lips on the outer parts after applying and wash your lips before hand with a paper towel, Kleenex, etc. and use a mirror when you can.

  21. Terry says:

    been using crest myself no more will switch hope it helps tired of waking up next to my girl friend like that ? thanks

  22. Terry says:

    Yea and sometimes it does not take long to get back on there just a matter of minutes try to breath through your nose as much as you can

  23. Monika Sahu says:

    heya all ?
    I too had the same problem when I used vaseline or himalaya lip balms.
    but when I started using maybelline’s baby lips this white layer hardly appeared or even if it formed it got mixed up with the color and looked pink instead rather than looking embarrassing white.
    guess the quality and cost of the product does make a difference here.
    hope it helps ?

  24. jay says:

    Hello all,

    This happens to me but, only when I do not exfoliate my lips. If you keep your lips exfoliated, it will not happen. I wear a lot, from baby lips to Vaseline, to lip balms, gloss, lipstick… Lol, you get my drift. Stay exfoliated and it will not happen, well at least for me it doesn’t.

  25. kristy says:

    Vitamin B deficiency

  26. Sesame says:

    Oh a vit B deficiency? Hmm…sounds like something to check out about.

  27. severus snape says:

    i am a boy of 18 and have been suffering with the problem of chapped lips with a white layer that soon turns black… it’s too much…..
    i feel very bad about it…
    whenever i drink water, or wash my mouth, a white layer appears on my mouth…
    very embarrassing and humiliating..
    i have applied many lip balms, but no positive results…
    i hope someday a solution props up…. ?

  28. Sesame says:

    Have you exfoliate like how some of the commenters suggested? Maybe it’ll help you.

  29. Rohit Gupta says:

    I have a problem of having a layer on my bottom lip all the time….when water touches it it become white..its realy very embarasing..plz help me

  30. TheJessDream says:

    This has always happened to me. MY SOLUTION? I STOP WEARING LIP GLOSS. I will tell you the products that work for me. i recently tried to wear lip gloss again (hence why I google-searched the topic…) & it hapened again.

    When I was in h.s. around 15yrs lipgloss was trendy and i could never wear it because people would tell me i had a white line on my lip. Yes i agree, embarrassing. Now at almost 24yrs old, I was working at a bridal shop and i ran in the break room for a second, walked pass a mirror and seen that line again, after years of not wearing lipgloss.

    *THE PRODUCTS FOR US: MAC lipsticks! The matte kind is better. Just make sure to use some light moisture on it when you’re home and have no make-up on. And as soon as u get out the shower before your make-up routine.

    * Organic OILS work! (Any) Organic olive oil, coconut oil, African oil, vitamin E oil, etc.. <This works really well for me and it gives that lipgloss shine! ?

    *BLISTEX. Not the chapstick kind that comes in the blue tube. The BLISTEX that comes in a little navy blue finger size lipbalm container with a twist off cap.

    Trust me, these work wonders.

  31. Sarah Clemens says:

    I have the same problem and it was two posts on here that made me think I finally figured out why I have this problem. It only happens to me when I’m at work (which just now dawned on me) and it’s cold in my office. And while I’m at work, I have a really bad habit of not drinking any water, even though I always have water with me I get caught up and I leave at the end of the day with a full bottle. When I’m not working, I’m constantly drinking water and don’t have this problem. Maybe it really is as simple as not drinking water and I’ve lept to the conclusion that it happens all the time when it really only happens at work. And it could be made worse by the cold office environment.

  32. Sesame says:

    I think the aircon has something to do with it and you’re probably right about the water intake too…I think when I talked a lot, I was draining the water from my lips…

  33. lou says:

    I also have this, I am 26 now and I never got to wear nice lip makeup coz since I was about 17 I started getting it. What is it?

  34. JJ says:

    Hi. I have the same problem. Turns out I have an allergy to strong fluoride products. Have found that Mentadent is the only toothpaste that doesn’t cause the sloughing of the skin. Good luck.

  35. Kahley says:

    I have had this problem for years, also, and I have found that it may be a combination of a few different things: mouthbreathing (which another post mentioned)- when you’re constantly breathing though your mouth and your lips get dry, which leads to putting on a coat of lip balm/lip gloss/lipstick, etc. These oils on your lips then react to water (or your saliva) and then you get the combination of breathing and the oil-water and then this “scum” forms on your lips.

    I also think, (and this hasn’t been posted, has it?) that there is a condition called Candidiasis at play here- basically an overgrowth of yeast in the digestive system (and including the mouth). I have had issues with yeast overgrowth for years, and I have found that when I drink sugary drinks (such as soda or sweet tea) this yucky phenomenon happens all the time. Why? Yeast thrives on sugar and it likes to set up shop in moist areas like the mouth. In fact, an extreme overgrowth is called “thrush.” But in this case, as what happens with most of us, there may be a low-level of yeast overgrowth present.

    When I took some really powerful probiotics years ago all of this cleared up. In fact, I felt better, my digestion got better, and strangely enough, I felt more calm. But I am not trying to make a case for Candidiasis and/or probiotics. But for each individual, this is something that may be worth looking into.

  36. Ericka P says:

    It is not caused by a vit B deficiency. I went and got a blood test to check my levels and I still have my lip problem.

  37. amy says:

    Hi there! Did you ever find a cure?!! I also have struggled with this every day for years and years!! I just want to be done with it forever!

  38. amy says:

    Omg. Same here about the bottom lip drying and biting it off! Please tell me you found a cure. .

  39. amy says:

    Whats the ingredients in that lip gloss

  40. Aria says:

    This used to happen to me, back when i couldn’t care less about my lips but then one day my friend was like, “You’re not using enough lip balm” and she proceeded to make me apply a very heavy layer. then i started coating my lips in a lot of chapstick at night and covering that with vaseline. then in the morning i would take my toothbrush and exfoliate the dead skin. i guess the combination of products softened the dead skin enough that it was easily removed. within a few days the dry skin problem stopped. i’m never avoiding lip balm again!

  41. C. says:

    At age 28 this suddenly started happening to me and I don’t wear lipstick, lipgloss, or even have to really use chapstick. It started happening within a few days of my sinus surgery. This comment made me realize that, due to the surgery, I’ve had to breathe out of my mouth when I normally don’t!

    Because of this, I really think this connection to mouth breathing has some merit!

  42. Thomas says:

    Great post! Have nice day ! ? lqwvu

  43. A says:

    This happens to me when I wear lighter coloured lipsticks. Never when I’m wearing reds or darker tones.

    Luckily I was able to find two natural toned lipsticks that the white ring does not occur with – makeup forever rouge artist natural in n9 and Mac persistence. So I think it may have to do with the formula.

  44. Mic says:

    After reading the posts on here.

    I drink water and I am
    Not in air conditioned rooms.
    I am a man I do not wear lipstick and all that other stuff though I do use lip balm
    For my dry lips.

    That white film is a layer is Skin basically.
    After reading the posts on here I strongly feel it’s the toothpaste.
    It may be too strong for certain people and so a thin layer of skin around the lips that it touches peels off.

    Like using a glycolic face peel
    Or something. This peeling does not always have to be immediate as sometime is needed for it to break off after it has died. So it can happen in the afternoon or next day after having brushed your teeth in the morning . But then you brush your teeth every morning and for me every evening too.
    So my lips will constantly peel off
    Due to the strength of the toothpaste.

    How interesting it’s always the inner ring with the film which is usually as far the toothpaste sits the longest as you brush.

    I think if I tried a natural toothpaste my problem would vanish.

    You think you are looking all fly and then Someone looks at your lips and reminds you.
    Oh no !

  45. Chrissie says:

    I no longer get that white film on my lips since I started using Burt’s Bees lip balms. I think it may be because they are 100% natural or more oil based.

  46. Veronica says:

    Hello I have had a similar problem for years with a layer forming on my inner lip which is so disgusting even though am no scientist I believe that most of the lip balms don’t mix well with the saliva just like when you apply gel on the hair which has other hair oil products it flakes and forms a whitish substance. Generally what has been working for me is coconut oil which I apply constantly in stead of the lip balm try that and tell me whether it works

  47. ashleyshutup says:

    Hi! I’m an experienced makeup artist (and makeup lover) and I too get this gross white layer on my lips sometimes. Not always, but sometimes.
    I know I’m late here jumping on the bandwagon with the toothpaste thing but I genuinely believe it has to do with the formulas we all use. I have Invisalign currently and I have to brush my teeth a LOT during the day (before I put my trays back in). I absolutely cannot wear lipstick while I have Invisalign because I believe the toothpaste I am using is creating the problem. I never had the problem prior to my braces.
    Some brands that I have experienced the dreaded white film:
    Kylie Cosmetics – liquid lipsticks
    MAC – matte lipsticks
    Colourpop – ultra matte liquid lipsticks
    Anastasia Beverly Hills – liquid lipsticks

    Brands I swear by:
    Kat Von D – everlasting liquid lipsticks
    ANY LIP PENCIL – I wear these as lipsticks all the time. I love NYX, MAC, Rimmell London, and Colourpop.
    Buxom – plumping chapstick in “Big O”
    Bite Beauty – lipstick primer. This hydrates the lips, prevents feathering, and creates a smooth canvas preventing matte lipsticks to cling to lines on the lips.
    LUSH – lip scrubs.

    Best of luck, lipstick lovers!

  48. Hannah H says:

    Glad to know I’m not alone thanks will try all these suggestions till I find the one that works for me

  49. Toni Williams says:

    I thought it started when I got older and started menopause but now I see it just happens no matter what. I talk a lot because I have to at work but I have been looking at posts and see where they say put a little baby powder on your lips then put on lipstick; and I LOVE lipstick. I have tried everything. I saw a statement that talked about lip liner and I have started using that. I found that chapstick has come out with new formulas and they are great and sometimes it happens and sometimes not. I read that petrolium products does it but OMG I just do not know!!! It is the worst thing. Now today, I feel really dehydrated so I have been drinking water all day. I am going to try the baby powder and just keep looking for the cure!!!! I love this site and will visit again.

    Let’s keep looking, hopefully one day we will find the remedy!!

  50. MoJo says:

    I have this problem and it has happened with all my lipsticks and lip glosses! It happens when I find myself talking to much and licking the inside of my lips from talking to much! I to suffer this problem but more so when I feel my lipstick has wore off…that’s when o start licking my lips to feel moisture because of not my lips feel naked with out lipstick! I am addicted to have something on my lips at all times …

  51. MoJo says:

    Sorry guys for got to say that it helps when don’t put on so much lipstick and try avoid go to far inside the lip… it decreases chance of build up of course this mean more frequently apply more lipstick ! Good luck

Leave a Reply