Eczema is the word generally used to describe the inflammation of the skin. The eczema on lips is the inflammation of the skin in that area and it is also known as lip dermatitis or lip licker’s dermatitis. This is because one of the most frequent causes that leads to the appearance of eczema on lips is the constant licking of the lips. This type of eczema is one of the most encountered skin disorders and it can affect patients of various ages, from small babies to the elderly population.
The lip area is split into three categories. There is the outer zone, meaning the skin tissue that surrounds the lips (perioral area), the vermillion margin (delimitation of the outer zone from the actual lip tissue) and the lip tissue (this has the aspect of a mucosa). In the case there is an eczema, the most affected tissues are the outer zone and the vermillion margin. It is important to keep in mind that this is an inflammatory reaction and that there will be several stages before the healing occurs.
Symptoms of Eczema on Lips
These are the most common symptoms in patients diagnosed with eczema on lips:
- Redness in the affected area
- Dry skin
- Fine scaling
- Fissures in the skin
- Angular cheilitis (affects the angle of the mouth)
- Skin crusts
- Thicker skin
What Causes Eczema on Lips?
These are the most common causes that lead to the appearance of eczema on lips:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Natural dry skin
- Contact with an irritating substance:
- Frequent licking of the lips
- Harmful chemicals contained by cosmetics and other health care products
- Different types of foods (especially processed foods, containing additives and harmful chemicals)
- Environmental factors (the cold temperatures during the winter season cause the skin to become dry, plus there is also the contributing low humidity)
- Allergic contact:
- Lip care products
- Oral care products
- Dental treatments
- Medication for acne
- Nail polish and varnish
- Contact urticaria – this appears in the situation in which there is an allergenic substance that appears frequently in the daily schedule but the amount is too small to trigger a bigger response (such is the case with certain types of toothpaste).
- Loss of moisture (using the hair dryer, a heater, taking frequent hot baths)
- Prolonged and excessive sun exposure
- Smoking (the skin in the lip area received a lot of exposure to smoke and the actual cigarette)
The treatment of eczema on lips depends tremendously on the cause that has led to the appearance of this problem in the first place. If the cause is external, then the best thing you can do is actually avoid that substance. However, if you have eliminated the external cause and the condition has not improved, then it might be a good idea to check and see if there are not other allergens or irritant substances that cause it to persist. You practically need to avoid all those substances that might irritate the lip area and trigger an inflammatory response.
The treatments that are recommended for the symptoms:
- Moisturizers made from natural ingredients – this will help you maintain the moisture and promote faster healing in the area. Oil-based moisturizers are more recommended that those based on water, as they guarantee a better protection of the skin.
- Topical corticosteroids – hydrocortisone creams are recommended not just for the lips but also for the surrounding area, as they can help with symptoms such as redness, inflammation and itching.
- Anti-histamines are recommended especially in the situations where the itchiness is pretty severe. It is a well known fact that scratching can lead to secondary bacterial infections, so you might want to take every measure to prevent such things from happening.
- If the eczema has been infected and there is a lot of inflammation in the area, then you will probably need to take antibiotics to fight the infection
- Immunosuppressants – These can help the immune system to stop attacking the body and they can guarantee a faster healing of the eczema on lips
- Light therapy
- Alternative medicine and Chinese herbs
Is eczema on lips contagious?
Eczema on lips is an inflammatory condition and even though it can be really uncomfortable and can cause a lot of distress, it is not infectious. Given the fact that there is no infectious agent, it is safe to say that eczema on lips is not contagious.
Eczema on Lips Pictures
These are the home remedies and some changes you can consider for eczema on lips:
- Clean the lip area with plain water
- If necessary, use a soap that contains only natural ingredients
- Take oatmeal baths, as these can really help with the itchiness
- Shea butter
- Flax seeds
- Petroleum jelly
- Apply cold compresses to the affected area in order to calm the inflammation
- Make a paste out of oatmeal, ripe bananas, honey or Aloe Vera and apply it to the affected area. It will soothe the skin and reduce the inflammation.
- Use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in order to decrease the swelling and reduce the inflammation.
- Add fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet (carrots, papaya, mango, prunes are loaded with vitamin A, which is excellent for the skin)
- Take Omega-3 fatty acids supplements
- Apply essential oils (carrot see oil, lavender oil, chamomile oil) to soothe the skin
- Avoid swimming in pools that are treated with chlorine, as this can aggravate the condition
- Use a humidifier when you sleep at night, in order to keep the air in the room moisturized
- Avoid smoking
- Stop drinking alcohol
- Do not eat spicy or acidic foods, as these can irritate the lips as well
- Learn stress reduction techniques, as it is a well known fact that stress can aggravate the manifestations of any eczema.