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The Best Treatments in 2024 for Eczema On Lips

Updated February 4, 2024

Lips are often the center of attention, whether delivering a heartfelt speech or puckering up for a kiss. But when itchy and sore, they can become the last place you want others to focus on. Lips are also one of the body's most sensitive parts. They are used daily for eating, drinking, and talking - all of which can aggravate even the mildest cases of lip itch.
Many things can cause lip itch. These include allergies, reactions to medications, and exposure to extreme weather conditions. They also include environmental irritants such as pollution, smoke, insect stings and bites. And that's not even counting anaphylaxis from food or pollen allergies. Lip itch can be caused by anything from scratching your lips to using a lipstick.

However, in this article, we will focus primarily on lip eczema, also known as lip dermatitis and eczematous cheilitis. This uncomfortable condition is a highly severe form of chapped lips. Lip eczema is often associated with red, inflamed, itchy skin around your mouth and cracked lips.

Luckily, you can take steps to manage and prevent this significant source of discomfort and embarrassment. We'll discuss the triggers, symptoms, and treatments associated with lip eczema and the best way to avoid cases starting in the first place.

So pucker up and get ready to kiss lip eczema misery goodbye!

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What is lip eczema?

Eczematous cheilitis is also known as eczema of the lips, or lip dermatitis. It is a condition that causes dry, cracked, itchy, scaling, and red skin around the mouth. It can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition for those who experience it. It can also cause self-consciousness due to its noticeable appearance. While not a severe medical condition, it can indicate an underlying issue. People with lip eczema may need to be evaluated by a healthcare provider to diagnose what's causing their lips to itch accurately.
The discomfort and appearance of the condition can impact a person's quality of life. Those who think they may have eczematous cheilitis need to understand the symptoms, causes, and treatment options. This is the best way to manage the condition and prevent it from worsening.

Symptoms of lip eczema 

With the right knowledge, you can relieve the symptoms of lip eczema by understanding its triggers and treatments.
Symptoms and types of lip eczema may vary in severity from case to case. Eczema is a skin condition, and milder cases often include dry lips, chapping, redness, and cracking of the lips, as well as itching and soreness.
Young boy with dry lips

In more severe cases, the symptoms of eczema on lips may cause swelling, blistering, and crusting of the lips, as well as bleeding and discomfort. While the lips are the primary body parts affected by the condition, lip eczema often affects both the lips and the skin surrounding the mouth. Known as perioral skin, this is the skin where the red mucous membranes meet the skin (vermilion margin). Lip eczema can also affect the skin inside the mouth.


Itching is a common symptom of lip eczema, ranging from mild to severe. The sensation of itching on the lips and around the mouth can be uncomfortable and frustrating. It can also lead to further inflammation. and damage to the skin if it is scratched. The itching may be caused by the dry, cracked skin on the lips and any underlying medical conditions or allergies that may contribute to the eczema. In some cases, certain skincare products or medications can also cause itching on the lips.
Boy scratching irritated lips

The severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person. They can aslo go or persist over time. It is essential to speak with a healthcare provider if you are experiencing any of these symptoms to get an accurate diagnosis.

How do you know if you have eczema on your lips?

There are several ways to determine if you have eczema on the lips. One way is to perform a patch test. This involves applying a small amount of a suspected allergen or irritant to a patch of skin and observing the reaction. If the skin patch becomes red, inflamed, or itchy, you are likely allergic or sensitive to that substance. This can help determine if this substance may be leading you to get eczema on your lips.
Another way to determine if you have lip eczema is to try to identify any causes and triggers. For example, if your lips tend to flare up after you use a particular lipstick or balm, you may be allergic or sensitive to an ingredient in that product. This could mean that the eczema is an allergic reaction. Avoiding the irritant or allergen and using a different product may help to prevent future flare-ups.
Woman putting on lip balm

While these techniques may indicate your lip eczema status, you should talk to your doctor or consult a dermatologist for a diagnosis if symptoms occur or persist.

Accurate Diagnosis

To achieve this, an accurate diagnosis is essential to develop an effective way to manage eczema on your lips. Treatment may be ineffective or inadequate without a precise diagnosis. This can lead to further complications and increased symptoms and skin irritation.

Diagnosis requires a thorough physical examination of the lesion and a review of the patient's medical history. Additional testing, such as swab cultures or biopsies, may be necessary. This can help to rule out other skin conditions or determine if you have atopic dermatitis elsewhere, in addition to atopic cheilitis. 

When diagnosing the condition's cause, a dermatologist typically begins with a physical examination. This includes looking at the lips to check for any visual signs or symptoms. Additionally, feeling them to assess any swelling or tenderness on our around the lips is often done. Depending on the individual case, the doctor may order laboratory tests such as a complete blood count (CBC) or a panel of tests. These help rule out underlying conditions, such as an autoimmune disorder.

In addition, the doctor may also order a culture of the affected area to understand any type of eczema that could be present. This allows them to check for any bacteria or fungi that could be a significant cause of this type of condition.

Finally, the doctor may ask about any other symptoms the patient has. They may also inquire about the patient's lifestyle, such as any changes in diet, hygiene, or environmental factors. These are common question asked of people with eczema. 

Understanding eczema involves recognizing both genetic and environmental factors that can influence its development. 

Treatment Plan

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, healthcare professionals can develop various treatment methods.
This may involve topical medications, oral medications, or even lifestyle modifications. Proper diagnosis is the key to successfully managing the symptoms. This should be done as soon as possible to maximize the effectiveness of the treatment.

What are the causes of lip eczema that can trigger an outbreak?

Several factors can irritate the skin and trigger lip eczema, also called lip dermatitis. The main causes of lip eczema are atopic dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis.

The difference between allergic contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis is the cause.

Contact dermatitis is the result of an external factor that can affect the lips. This can be anything from licking your lips to a chemical or irritant contacting your skin and causing a reaction.

On the other hand, atopic dermatitis (or atopic eczema) is caused by an internal trigger. This trigger causes inflammation throughout the body, including on the lips. 

Lip eczema triggers are often not the same from one patient to another.
The significant causes of lip eczema and resulting symptoms may appear different for one person and may not cause it at all in another. Some common triggers include contact with irritants, allergens, lip licking, and dryness.
Woman with dry, cracked lips

Contact with irritants is one of the most common causes of cases of lip eczema. These irritants can include ingredients in cosmetics. This category could include lipstick that irritates your skin.

It might involve chemicals found in household products, such as detergents and cleaning products. If your lips or the skin next to the lips come into contact with these irritants, they may become inflamed, red, and itchy.

This could be eczema on your lips. This is why avoiding your triggers is essential once they are identified.

Allergic Reactions

Often, eczema occurs due to allergic reactions, and the same is true of lip eczema. This is also known as allergic contact cheilitis. If your body has an allergic reaction to a substance, such as a particular type of food or medication, you may become inflamed and develop eczema

For example, if you switched to a new brand of toothpaste and started to have flare-ups, you might find that the new toothpaste was the cause of eczema. In other cases, an inherited allergy could mean that you have a genetic predisposition to eczema.

A skin patch test can help identify allergens, while a skin biopsy might be necessary for unclear cases. 

Dryness and lip licking

Keeping your lips from drying out is extremely important and the best way to prevent or manage lip eczema.

Cold, dry weather can cause the lips to become dehydrated, chapped, and cracked, triggering a flare-up of irritant contact cheilitis. It's also essential to avoid licking your lips. It's natural to lick your lips when they feel dry. But counterintuitively, this only dries your lips out more.

Woman licking dry eczema lips

In addition to avoiding irritants and keeping the lips moisturized, it is also essential to manage stress levels. High-stress levels can weaken the immune system and make the skin more sensitive, triggering a flare-up of eczema on lips.

Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation. This will help to reduce stress and improve overall health. This can help to prevent a flare-up of eczema on the lips and improve overall skin health. 

Treatment of eczematous cheilitis and lip dermatitis

While there is no cure for eczema, the condition can be appropriately managed. Treating lip eczema can involve a combination of home remedies and medical intervention. Some possible home remedies:

Avoiding triggers that irritate the lips

The best treatment is prevention. So taking steps to avoid a flare-up is a worthwhile pursuit. Some lip balm and lipstick can irritate the lips if they contain certain ingredients that trigger allergic reactions.

For example, some lip balms and lipsticks contain fragrances, preservatives, and other chemicals. These are all major causes of lip eczema; and factors that can cause the lips to become red, swollen, and itchy.

Some lip balms and lipsticks are not designed for sensitive skin, which can also cause inflammation. To avoid this, choosing lip balms and lipsticks free of known irritants and specifically designed for sensitive skin is vital.

Apply a moisturizing balm or ointment to the lips regularly

Moisturizers work by forming a skin barrier that helps retain moisture and prevent water loss. This can help to keep the lips hydrated and prevent them from becoming dry and cracked. In addition, moisturizers often contain ingredients that can help soothe and calm the skin.

This can be beneficial for reducing inflammation and redness associated with eczema of the lips.

Man putting on lip balm

To use a moisturizing balm or ointment, apply a small amount to the lips using your fingertips and massage it gently. It is best to apply the moisturizer after washing your face or using a lip scrub to remove dead skin cells. This will help ensure that the moisturizer can penetrate the skin and maximize the benefit.

While moisturizers or ointments containing steroids may help manage eczema, they also have an extreme risk of side effects. It's essential to talk to your healthcare provider about the best approach for your condition, and whether using a steroid-free alternative is a better option.

Using a cold compress to reduce swelling and inflammation

Using a cold compress to reduce the swelling and inflammation is an effective way to relieve discomfort.

To do this, soak a clean cloth in cold water and apply it directly to the affected parts of the lips. This can help to reduce redness, swelling, and itching associated with eczema.

Cold compresses can also help reduce inflammation by slowing down the body's response to infection or irritation. This can decrease the amount of time it takes for symptoms to subside.

Cold Compress, medicinal remedy

However, using a cold compress too often may lead to further irritation or dryness of the skin. If you experience any pain or discomfort while applying a cold compress, then be sure to stop immediately. Contact your doctor for medical advice. 

Avoiding picking, itching, or scratching at the lips

The best way to avoid making the eczema of the lips worse is to avoid picking, itching, or scratching at the lips. 

This can be difficult because these are natural reactions when dealing with an itch or a rash on your lips, but it's essential to try and resist the urge.

Picking and scratching can cause further inflammation and lead to an infection. It can also spread bacteria from your fingers onto the skin of your lips, leading to further irritation and possible infection. 

Instead, use a gentle cleanser designed for skin care with no fragrances or harsh chemicals that could further irritate the lips.

Use Dermeleve® instead of a topical steroid to relieve the itching from eczema on lips

The most immediate concern for most people suffering from eczema is to find relief from the constant itching.

And for this, topical steroids are often the first product category to come to mind. However, their prolonged use has some terrible side effects and serious risks.

Dermeleve® is an excellent alternative to topical steroid creams used to relieve itching.

It's a natural and safe way to quickly and effectively reduce the itching caused by eczema. Dermeleve® includes ingredients such as shea butter, ceramides, and Vitamin C+E.

This help soothes and moisturize dry, itchy skin. The product also helps restore the skin's natural barrier. This protects the skin from further damage from environmental irritants.

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Plus, Dermeleve® can be used on all skin types and ages, including sensitive skin.

Unlike topical steroids, it does not cause any side effects like redness or flaking of the skin. There is also no risk of Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW) from prolonged use. A single application starts working within minutes. 

This is in contrast to the weeks topical steroids like hydrocortisone cream can take. And that same single application can last for up to 10 hours! Without any risk of long-term effects, you can use Dermeleve as often as you like, as long as you want!

So if you're looking for an easy-to-use solution for your uncomfortable itching symptoms, give Dermeleve® a try!

Use Antihistamines to relieve symptoms such as itching

Antihistamines are one of the most effective treatments for relieving eczema symptoms such as itching. This type of medication works by blocking the histamine receptors in the body. This blockage prevents them from releasing chemicals that cause allergic reactions and inflammation.
Antihistamines can help reduce the symptoms of lip eczema.

Common antihistamines include hydroxyzine, chlorpheniramine, loratadine, cetirizine, and diphenhydramine.

These medications can be taken orally or applied topically to the affected areas. In addition to relieving itching, they can help reduce swelling and redness.

It is essential to consult with a doctor before taking antihistamines, as they may have side effects such as drowsiness or dry mouth.

Use Antibiotics if the lip eczema is infected

Antibiotics may be necessary if the lips' eczema has become infected. Antibiotics can help reduce the amount of bacteria in the infected area, reducing inflammation and itching.

It is crucial to speak with your doctor before taking any antibiotics. They can help you determine the best type and dosage for your situation, and may prescribe a treatment you weren't aware of.

Antibiotic ointment can help lip eczema if the lips have become infected.

Depending on the severity of the infection, the antibiotics may need to be taken orally. Or they may need to be applied directly to the affected area if you have dermatitis elsewhere on your body.

Additionally, your doctor may recommend using a topical ointment or cream to help reduce inflammation. This can also help soothe any discomfort associated with the infection. Most infections can be treated effectively with proper treatment within a few days or weeks.

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Wrap Up

This article provides an overview of the treatments available for eczematous cheilitis. Which causes redness and itching around the lips. Luckily, there are many different treatments and ways to identify and avoid conditions that trigger a flare-up.

Eczema can develop in various ways, but understanding its triggers is a crucial step in managing the condition effectively.

It's essential to speak with a healthcare provider if you think you may have eczematous cheilitis. You can then get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan designed for you.

In the meantime, a great option is Dermeleve®. It's specifically designed for skin care and helps to soothe and moisturize dry, itchy skin. Best of all, it does this without any harsh chemicals or fragrances that can cause further irritation.

So, read our lips: give Dermeleve® a try if yours are itching!



Q: What is lip eczema?

A: Lip eczema is a skin condition that demands attention, especially when considering how eczema is a skin irritation that can significantly impact daily life. The National Eczema Association emphasizes that understanding whether one's symptoms are due to eczema or an allergic reaction is crucial for effective management. Since eczema can affect various body parts, it's particularly troublesome when it causes your lips to become dry, inflamed, or even painfully cracked.

Eczema on the lips can manifest in various forms, each with its unique triggers and symptoms. Understanding these types is crucial for effective management and treatment. The primary types include:

  • Irritant Contact Cheilitis: This form results from external irritants such as harsh weather conditions, lip-licking, or exposure to irritating chemicals in cosmetics and environmental factors. It's characterized by inflammation, redness, and itching around the lips.

  • Allergic Contact Cheilitis: Triggered by an allergic reaction to substances in contact with the lips, such as certain ingredients in lip care products, dental materials, or foods. Symptoms include swelling, redness, and itching.

  • Angular Cheilitis: This type involves an infection, usually fungal or bacterial, causing inflammation, cracking, and soreness at the corners of the mouth. It's often associated with saliva buildup due to lip-licking, dentures, or braces.

  • Atopic Cheilitis: Linked to atopic dermatitis, this form presents as dry, itchy, and inflamed skin on or around the lips. It's part of a broader systemic condition affecting the skin's ability to retain moisture and protect against irritants.

Each type of lip eczema requires a tailored approach to treatment, emphasizing the importance of accurate diagnosis and understanding of the underlying causes.

Q: What causes eczema on the lips?

A: Eczema on the lips can be caused by several factors, including lip licking, using products that irritate the lips due to frequent exposure to irritants, or underlying skin conditions.

Q: How can I treat eczema on my lips?

A: The best treatment for eczema on the lips involves identifying and avoiding triggers, keeping the lips moisturized, using gentle lip products, and in severe cases, seeking medical attention.

Trying home remedies like applying moisturizers and avoiding irritants can significantly help manage eczema on the lips.

Q: Are there any home remedies for eczema on the lips?

A: Yes, there are several home remedies that can help soothe and heal eczema on the lips. These include applying aloe vera gel, coconut oil, shea butter, or honey to the affected area.

Q: Can I get eczema on my lips from using certain lipsticks?

A: Yes, using a lipstick that irritates your lips can lead to lip eczema. It is advisable to avoid lip products that cause any discomfort or irritation.

Q: Is licking the lips a common cause of people who experience lip eczema?

A: Yes, licking your lips frequently can disrupt the skin's natural barrier due to saliva, leading to lip eczema. It is important to avoid excessive lip licking to prevent this condition.

Q: How can I prevent my lips from getting severely chapped?

A: To prevent severe chapping, it is essential to keep the lips moisturized, avoid licking the lips, protect them from harsh weather conditions, and use a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher.

Q: Can lip eczema occur on one side of the lips only?

A: Yes, lip eczema can occur on one side of the lips only. It is important to consult a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Q: Should I see a doctor if I have eczema on my lips?

A: If you experience persistent lip eczema or if it becomes severe and affects your daily life, it is advisable to seek medical advice from a dermatologist or allergist.

Q: How can I determine if I am allergic to certain lip products?

A: To determine if you are allergic to certain lip products, you can perform a patch test. Apply a small amount of the product on your inner forearm and wait for 24-48 hours for any allergic reactions. 

Lip eczema can present with symptoms such as scaly and inflamed skin, which often leads to dryness and irritation around the lip area. Identifying the right treatment for lip eczema is essential to manage these symptoms effectively. It's important to avoid known triggers and use emollient creams or ointments that can help maintain the natural moisture of the lips.

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