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 7/1/2023
Updated by: Ramin Fathi, MD, FAAD, Director, Phoenix Surgical Dermatology Group, Phoenix, AZ. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 11/27/2023.