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Last Updated on April 22, 2024

Lip licker’s dermatitis, lip eczema, or lip cheilitis is a common form of dermatitis resulting from irritation caused by saliva. It often seems as if a red rash has appeared around the mouth, and you can think of this dermatitis as eczema on the lips, which is easily treatable at home. Lip Licke


Lip licker’s dermatitis is a common skin disease that affects many individuals. However, it often needs to be recognized or identified. The paramount cause of this dermatitis is constant exposure to saliva, which irritates the lips. However, the person might lick the lips repeatedly due to dryness and patchy skin, thus further aggravating the situation.

It was a brief overview of lip licker’s dermatitis. Keep reading to explore further insights.

Lip Licker’s Dermatitis Symptoms

Mostly, people ignore the symptoms and take things casually. However, if the symptoms are left untreated, they can increase further and cause a big round of rash around your mouth or eczema on the lips.

Therefore, it’s necessary to understand the symptoms.

Skin irritation can occur across the body, especially on and around the lips. Dry and cracked lips are frequent in the colder months and dry locations, but many people have them all year.

The primary signs of this dermatitis often appear circular around the lips and include:

Chapping and inflammation
Redness or discoloration.
Peeling, cracking, and crusting
While these signs appear at the lips, they can also appear as far as the tongue (and saliva) can reach.

Lip Licker’s Dermatitis Causes

It occurs due to excessive licking and wetting of the lips or the area surrounding the mouth. The following are the contribution factors for this condition:

Dry Lips

When your lips feel dry or cracked, you desire to lick them for a quick fix. However, this could make them worse. Dry lips might mean the skin around your mouth is dry.

Cold and Dry Weather

The weather affects how moist our skin is. When it’s cold and dry, our lips can easily get chapped. So, during winter, many people get this dermatitis.


Some medicines can dry out lips quickly, whether swallowed or applied to the skin. So, when you start taking new medication, keep your lips hydrated to prevent them from drying out.

Behavioral Tendencies

Many people often develop small habits to handle feelings like anxiety, nerves, or boredom. For instance, excessive lip licking might be one of these habits. Moreover, it could be linked to cognitive issues in both grown-ups and kids.

While lip licker’s dermatitis is primarily caused by external factors, some eczemas occur due to immune system and genetic factors. You can read more about intrinsic eczemas, their causes, symptoms, and treatments.

How To Get Rid Of Lip Licker’s Dermatitis

The first step is to identify and know the signs and symptoms of this disease. The next step is to look after the condition and ward it off promptly. You can follow these main steps for the purpose:

Identify Triggers:

Recognize situations or emotions that lead to excessive lip licking, such as anxiety or boredom.

Moisturize Regularly:

Keep lips hydrated by applying a soothing lip balm containing ingredients like shea butter or coconut oil multiple times daily.

Break the Habit:

Replace licking your lips with healthier alternatives, such as sipping water or chewing sugar-free gum.

Seek Professional Advice:

If the condition persists or worsens, consult a dermatologist for personalized treatment options, which may include prescription-strength topical corticosteroids or barrier creams.

Address Underlying Issues:

Consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor to manage underlying anxiety or stress contributing to lip-licking behavior.

Lip Licker’s Dermatitis Potential Treatment

Let’s understand the potential treatment available for this disease. However, if you want to be a part of finding the right cure, enroll in dermatitis clinical trials today.

Firstly, applying a lip balm with ceramides, petrolatum, or shea butter several times a day can be helpful.

Secondly, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is essential.

Thirdly, shielding the lips from harsh weather conditions can prevent further irritation.

A doctor may prescribe a topical steroid ointment in cases of severe inflammation. Additionally, if the lips are very itchy, an over-the-counter antihistamine could provide relief.

Lip balm or chewing gum should be used instead to stop lip licking. Experts may also suggest techniques like muscle relaxation, deep breathing, or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help break the habit.

Conditions Similar to Lip Licker’s Dermatitis

Do you know the difference between eczema and hives? Click here to learn more.

While eczema on the lips may appear to be a common skin condition, some other conditions can resemble it.

It may include:

Allergic Contact Cheilitis

Allergic contact cheilitis is a type of contact dermatitis that affects the lips. Eczema on the lips-like changes on the lips may emerge following an allergic reaction. Potential allergies may include:

Products include lip cosmetics, toothpaste, food, and medications.
Patch testing is commonly used to diagnose allergic contact cheilitis.

Periorificial Dermatitis

Unlike this disease and allergic contact cheilitis, periorificial dermatitis does not always result from skin contact with an allergen. It is also not restricted to the area surrounding the lips.

In periorificial dermatitis, tiny red bumps may appear in clusters around the lower half of the face. While the precise cause is uncertain, it is assumed to be associated with:

Steroids can be applied to the skin or breathed via nasal spray.
Bacterial or fungal illnesses.
Sunscreen for rosacea.
Periorificial dermatitis can be diagnosed through a visual inspection of the skin and a skin culture or biopsy.
Do you know another type of Dermatitis, Psoriasiform Dermatitis? Read here to find more.

Living with Lip Licker’s Dermatitis

Living with this disease can be challenging, but it’s essential to remember that effective management strategies exist. Coping with the physical discomfort and emotional impact may require patience, resilience, and support from healthcare professionals, friends, and family. Exploring self-care practices, seeking peer support, and staying informed about the condition can empower individuals to take control of their health and well-being.

Preventive Strategies

Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, you can prevent this dermatitis through a range of options, such as:

Breaking the Habit of Lip Licking

Practice mindfulness techniques to increase awareness of lip-licking behavior.
Use distraction techniques like chewing gum or fidget toys to redirect the urge to lick your lips.
Consider habit reversal training under the guidance of a therapist to replace lip licking with alternative behaviors.

Adopting a Comprehensive Lip Care Routine

  • Regularly apply lip balms or moisturizers containing emollients, humectants, and occlusives to keep lips hydrated and protected.
    Choose lip products with SPF to shield lips from UV damage, especially when exposed to sunlight.
    Avoid products containing potential irritants like fragrances or menthol, which can exacerbate lip irritation.


To conclude, Lip Licker’s Dermatitis is a common skin disease around the lips. The leading cause is irritation caused by saliva. This blog provides the main insights into this dermatitis. Give it a read for more in-depth insights, as early diagnosis and prevention are better than cure.
Moreover, if you want to contribute to finding the optimal and potential treatment for this disease, enroll in Dermatitis clinical trials today.



MetroBoston Clinical Partners is a well established and experienced research center in the greater Boston area. Under the leadership of qualified physicians and medical professionals, we coordinate a range of clinical research trials in Dermatology and Internal Medicine.

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