What are possible causes of cheilitis on the lips?

Doctor's Answers (1)

Thanks for the question.

Cheilitis of the lips commonly presents with redness, dryness and scaling of the lips, often with cracks and fissures.

There are a number of causes of cheilitis. These include: 

1. Eczematous cheilitis. This is often seen in a patient with background eczema or atopy. Contact with irritants on the lips and lip licking can aggravate this. 

2. Angular cheilitis. This occurs at the angle of the mouth and can be due to associated fungal infection.

3. Actinic cheilitis. This presents with persistent dryness with adherent scales due to excessive sun exposure and sun damage to the lips.

4. Allergic contact cheilitis: This is due to allergic reaction to lipsticks and products applied to the lips.

5. Medications: Certain medications like isotretinoin and acitretin can cause the lips to become dry and cracked

6. Other causes: underlying medical problems eg vitamin deficiency, inflammatory bowel disease, granulomatous cheilitis.

It is important to avoid licking the lips and to use lip balms regularly as this can help the cheilitis. If the cheilitis is persistent, it is advisable for you to see your doctor or dermatologist for a proper assessment of the underlying cause and for further treatment.

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