Eczema on the lips: Types, triggers, causes, and treatment

Eczema refers to a group of skin conditions that can cause itchy rashes, cracked skin, and painful blisters. People with eczema usually experience periods of flare-ups and remission throughout their life.

People may get eczema on their lips due to genetics or as a result of environmental factors, such as irritating substances in lip products or habitual licking of the lips.

In this article, we look at the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for eczema on the lips.

Types and symptoms of lip eczema

There are several different types of eczema on the lips, including the following:

  • Irritant contact cheilitis occurs as a result of external irritation, such as lip licking, cosmetics, and environmental factors.
  • Allergic contact cheilitis is an allergic reaction to lip products, dental materials, toothpaste, or medication.
  • Angular cheilitis develops due to a fungal infection, usually Candida, or a bacterial infection. A person may get the infection because lip licking, dentures or braces, or other factors cause saliva to build up in the corners of their mouth. Angular cheilitis is common in people with diabetes.

The symptoms of lip eczema can occur on one or both of the lips and can also affect the skin inside and surrounding the mouth.

The symptoms of eczema on the lips may include:

  • a red rash on or around the lips
  • dryness or flakiness
  • split or scaly skin
  • itching
  • burning
  • pain
  • inflammation

People with atopic dermatitis may develop eczema symptoms on or around their lips.

In many cases, lip eczema arises following contact with substances that cause irritation or an allergic reaction. Eczema is not generally a contagious condition.

However, angular cheilitis is contagious because infection causes it.

People who experience symptoms of eczema on their skin should visit a doctor or dermatologist for diagnosis, treatment, and help with the identification of possible allergens.

Risk factors for eczema on the lips may include:

  • a family history of eczema or allergies
  • stress
  • a job or activities involving irritating substances
  • using new products relating to the mouth, such as lipstick or toothpaste
  • sensitivity to cold or hot climates
  • having a cold or the flu
  • changes in hormone levels, especially in women

People may mistake the symptoms of other conditions for eczema. Similar symptoms may also be indicative of the following:

  • cold sores
  • canker sores
  • chapped lips
  • pimples

A doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend effective treatments.


Eczema on the lips is a skin condition that causes redness, drying, and scaling of the lips.

Lip eczema usually arises after contact with irritants or allergens, although it can result from infection in some cases.

Various treatment methods and home remedies can relieve a person’s symptoms. See a doctor for a diagnosis to decide on the right treatment method.

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