Lip Eczema

Lip eczema is especially common during dry or cold winter months. Also called Eczematous cheilitis or lip dermatitis, this inflammatory skin condition can exacerbate to cause rashes and painful blisters on the lips.

Severe cases of lip eczema can be very irritating due to their appearance and resulting pain. In fact, they can greatly affect an individual's self-image. Thus, proper diagnosis is key to treating or managing the symptoms of lip eczema.

Symptoms of lip eczema

There are a number of symptoms that can signify a flare-up of lip eczema. Generally, you will find eczema around the lips and especially along the vermillion border. This is the line where your lips meet the normal skin. Lip Eczema symptoms are much like those that would occur anywhere on the body when your skin becomes irritated, when you are experiencing an allergic reaction, or when your skin is drying up.

Following are some of the signs and symptoms of lip eczema

1. Redness of the lips

Redness of the lips is a common sign of lip eczema and it is more pronounced in people with a fair complexion or light skin.

2. Thickened lip skin

Thickening is actually the body’s mechanism of protecting the skin from chronic inflammation. This symptom becomes culpable when felt by the tongue.

3. Itchiness

Another lip eczema symptom that can be very frustrating is the itchy feeling. Your lip skin may also peel off if it becomes too dry.

4. Dryness, cracks, and scaling

Eczema is also characterized by dryness of the lips. Your lips may look dry or become literally dry if your eczema is chronic. A thin section of the mucosal area may be affected at times. If not properly diagnosed and treated, your lips may appear scaly with small cracks or fissures.

Causes of lip eczema

Dry lips are caused by both internal and external factors. Some people are born with naturally dry and irritable skin that increases their risk of developing lip eczema. That said, people who are continually exposed to extremely cold or dry temperatures can suffer from lip eczema.

Understanding the cause of your eczema can help inform the treatment and prevention methods.

Internal causes of lip eczema

Some people’s skin is naturally dry, making it more vulnerable to sensitivities. If you have naturally dry skin, it is important that you put in the effort to adequately moisturize your skin in order to prevent eczema symptoms. You may consider talking to your doctor about available pharmaceutical options. It is not yet clear why some people are prone to getting dry skin, with experts attributing it to genetic and environmental factors.

External causes of lip eczema

External causes of dry skin are much easier to identify and can be manipulated to understand their influence on the skin’s health.

• Weather

Low humidity, extremely hot or cold temperatures, and dry air can all contribute to dry, cracked, and irritable skin and lips.

• Cosmetics

Lip balms, lipsticks, and lip liners can cause irritation on the lips. Sometimes, the irritation can be aggravated by the ingredients in the product, while other times, it could be as a result of allergic reactions.

• Allergic reactions

Consuming foods or using products that you are allergic to can trigger skin irritation on and around your lips.

• Lip licking

Frequent lip licking can cause dryness

Treatment options for lip eczema

Obviously, the most irritating part of lip eczema is the symptoms. Thankfully, most people find these easy to manage.

Simple routines like adding and maintaining adequate moisture on your lips can go along way in managing the symptoms of lip eczema. Additionally, you can use non-irritating lip balms, lotions, and moisturizers to offer protection against elements while repairing dry, cracked, and painful lips.

You can apply this protection immediately after a bath or face wash, or when going to bed. Doing so will lock up the moisture into your lips to speed up the healing process. Additionally, it is important to carry these products around for easy application.

If your lips are swollen or inflamed, using a lip cream that contains one percent hydrocortisone may help alleviate your condition. In cases of excessive inflammation that is recurring, be sure to visit your doctor for a comprehensive treatment session.

Other potential treatment options for lip eczema include the following:

  • Antihistamines (if allergies are involved)
  • Antibiotics (if there is an infection)
  • Hydrocortisone creams
  • Oil-based moisturizers
  • Immunodepressant medication

Home remedies for eczema lips

There are a number of home remedies that you can use to relieve the symptoms of lip dermatitis. These remedies can be used independently or in combination with other lip eczema treatment methods. They include:

1. Sugar

You can use sugar as a natural exfoliant to rid the lips of dead skin while encouraging the growth or new, healthy skin. To get these benefits, prepare a paste of sugar with honey and lemon drops and apply as a topical rub twice per week. Brown sugar is better suited for this than white sugar because it is softer.

2. Honey

Honey acts as a great moisturizer with the added benefits of its antibacterial properties. Apply organic honey to your lips throughout the day to restore hydration while easing the symptoms of lip dermatitis. You may also mix honey with glycerine and apply on your lips before sleeping.

3. Rose petals

Rose petals may not be the most accessible or cost-effective lip eczema remedy, especially during winter months. However, it could be an effective eczema remedy when your garden finally blooms. Soak a handful of rose petals in milk or glycerine and apply onto your lips a few times a day.

4. Coconut oil

Pure coconut oil, mixed with shea butter, is an excellent moisturizer that you can apply onto your lips to help restore their health. Apply this mixture 2-3 times per day.

5. Castor oil

Just like coconut oil, castor oil is another wonderful and natural moisturizer. Applying it to your lips a few times per day can help relieve the symptoms of lip eczema.

Other lip eczema home remedies:

  • Milk cream
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Adapting a vitamin A, fruit, and cereal rich diet
  • Using natural soaps only
  • Using a cold compress to relieve inflammation
  • Avoiding swimming in chlorine-treated pools
  • Giving up smoking and alcohol
  • Sleeping with the humidifier on to ensure adequate moisture circulation in your bedroom

Preventing lip eczema

Daily and lifestyle decisions can play a huge role in management and prevention of lip eczema. These include:

Keep your lips moist

Applying creams before you go to sleep and when you wake up can help prevent cracking of the lips. Also, avoid regular licking of your lips and keep natural moisturizer or lip balm in your pocket.

Pay attention to your body

Avoid using products or eating foods that are likely to trigger allergic reactions. Also, be sure to read labels to identify potential allergies in cosmetic products before using them.

Try to avoid extreme weather

Avoid extremely cold or hot and windy days if you do not have to go out. Be sure to use moisturizer or lip balm if you have to go out.

Limit your stress levels

Stress can trigger inflammation and flare-ups. Thus, improving your sleep can greatly help relieve lip eczema.

Lip eczema: Final word

Lip eczema, also known as lip dermatitis, can be very painful and irritating. It is a common condition characterized by the appearance of inflamed, reddish, and itchy skin on and around the lips. This condition is not contagious or dangerous and can be triggered by genetic makeup, allergic reactions, and use of irritating substances. If not well diagnosed and treated, lip eczema may appear scaly with small cracks and fissures.

The fact that lip eczema is chronic means that a multidisciplinary approach is required for proper treatment. Its exacerbation can be prevented by avoiding trigger factors like allergens, stress, alcohol and tobacco products, and other irritating cosmetic products.

There are multiple treatment options available for lip eczema. That said, the best remedy for your lip eczema should be determined by establishing the cause of your dryness and how long you have been dealing with the condition. As a rule, keep your lips moist to avoid irritation and persistent eczema.