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Mouth and Lip Eczema: How to Alleviate It?

Itching, redness, chapping... Eczema can also affect the mouth and lips, sometimes making chewing and speaking difficult. Here, discover some advice to reduce symptoms and alleviate eczema of the mouth and lips.

Summary
Published January 22, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read
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The various types of eczema of the mouth.

Many patients suffering from eczema are affected by eczema around the mouth, also known as cheilitis. This skin disorder can impact the quality of life of those it affects by influencing their diet or self-confidence. There are two types of eczema that occur on the lips.

  • Atopic Cheilitis: This type of eczema typically occurs in early childhood, often in individuals with a specific genetic predisposition. It progresses in flare-ups interspersed with remissions of varying lengths. It is a chronic disease caused by a defect in the skin barrier, which can be attributed to a lack of lipids and cell adhesion molecules, as well as an inappropriate response from the immune system. Individuals suffering from atopic cheilitis often secrete large amounts of immunoglobulin E, antibodies, in response to environmental antigens (also known as allergens).

  • Contact Cheilitis: this type of eczema has an allergic origin and is not linked to genetics. Individuals suffering from contact cheilitis around the mouth react to an allergen often found in a lip balm or lipstick. Some people are also sensitive to dental materials or toothpastes.

For these two types oflip eczema, the symptoms are the same: dryness, redness, flaking and cracking of the skin around the mouth, the vermilion border, which delineates the pink part of the lips and the skin, and the vermilion, corresponding to the pink part of the lips. These areas are very sensitive and healing is often difficult and painful. Several factors complicate this healing, which can be of chemical nature (cosmetic products, saliva...), physical (repeated rubbing, tearing of scales...) or climatic (wind, cold).

Mouth Eczema: What to do?

If you are suffering from lip eczema, it is important to consult a dermatologist. They can prescribe you specific dermocorticoids for the mouth area, which have a greasy texture suitable for the affected area. Do not apply a dermocorticoid intended for another part of the body without the prior advice of a doctor. During the consultation, the healthcare professional can also determine whether it is atopic or contact cheilitis. If in doubt, they can propose a series of tests with your products to identify the responsible allergen. It will then be necessary to eliminate it from your routine.

In addition to, and in order to protect the area affected by eczema around the mouth while soothing the symptoms, it is recommended tomoisturise it daily with suitable products. For this, we advise you to opt for lip balms with a thick and greasy texture capable of nourishing the lips. Before applying a new treatment, perform a tolerance test. To do this, apply a small amount of the product to the crook of your elbow or behind your ear and wait 24 to 48 hours to see if a reaction develops.

In the event ofeczema, it is also recommended toavoid scratching so as not to scrape the lesions. To alleviate the itch, try applying cold to your lips, by wrapping a cold compress or ice cubes in a clean cloth for example. Be careful not to apply the ice cubes directly to your mouth, as this could burn your skin. Thermal water can also provide relief as it possesses soothing properties.

Sources

  • GOLDENBERG G. & al. Eczema. The Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine (2011).

  • SAURAT J. H., LACHAPELLE J. M., LIPSKER D., THOMAS L. et BORRADORI L. Dermatologie et infections sexuellement transmissibles. Elsevier Masson (2017).

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