You may have Eczema if you’re experiencing dry patches on your lips

Sophie Ross has been covering beauty and fashion for more than five years. Her work has appeared in Refinery29, The Knot StyleCaster, and other publications.


Signs Of Lip Eczema Types Of Lip Eczema Causes and Irritants Treatments & Remedies

It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t experienced chapped lips. It’s not a problem to worry about if you have dry lips. You should be fine once you find your favorite combination of lip balms and exfoliants.

If you have a more severe case, such as a chronic condition where you experience rough patches all year round, not just during the winter, you may need to address a more serious problem. Dr. Will Kirby, a dermatologist, and Dr. Susan Bard, a physician, explain determine if you have lip eczema. They also provide treatment options.

What is Lip Eczema?

Lip eczema can be a term used to describe a variety of lip irritations that cause chronic dry patches or chapped lips.

Lip Eczema Symptoms and Signs

According to Kirby, the symptoms and condition are real, even though some dermatologists avoid the term because it is a bit of “layman’s” time. Does any of this resonate with you at all?

Over-the-Counter Lip Balms Do Not Make A Difference

If you’re having trouble with chapped lips and no salves or sticks are helping, it might be time to check if there is something more chronic going on, like contact dermatitis or lip eczema.

Dryness Appears as Flaky Patches

Kirby explains that this condition can manifest as irritation, flakiness, sensitivity, and dryness. You may also experience redness, itching, or microscopic fissures or cracks.

The patches are painful.

If you have flaky lips that are painful and uncomfortable, you probably know you are dealing with a more severe problem than the chapped lips you see in commercials. This is why your everyday lip balms don’t work.

Lip Eczema Types

Lip eczema, it is interesting to note, does not have a universal diagnosis. Eczema is a condition that can manifest in a variety of ways. Find out how each looks.

  • Angular Cheilitis Angular Cheilitis is often confused with cold sores. It usually forms at the corners. This type of lip eczema is generally caused by a saliva infection. It can be painful to speak or eat. 1
  • Irritant contact cheilitis This type of lip eczema is caused by irritation, whether it’s from lip products or the weather. It can also be triggered by picking at your lips or exfoliating them too much.
  • Allergic Contact Chelitis: Allergic Contact Cheilitis results from an allergy to a specific product ingredient. This includes all products that come into contact with the mouth, such as toothpaste, makeup, or drinks.
  • Routine Dryness: You may be experiencing dryness if none of the above apply. You can tell by looking at the rest of your face. If your entire skin (not just your lips) is dry, you probably have a type of dry skin that negatively affects your lips. Eczema is no different. Eczema and chronically dry skin are not always the same, but Eczema is always associated with dry skin.


  • Dr. Will Kirby, a Los Angeles-based dermatologist board-certified in clinical and cosmetic dermatology, has been practicing for over 20 years. He is also the chief medical officer at LaserAway.
  • Dr. Susan Bard, a New York City dermatologist board-certified in general and procedural skin care, specializes in both.

Lip Eczema: What causes it?

Lip Products Overused

Kirby says that the irony of some products claiming to heal Eczema is that they worsen it. According to Kirby, many things can cause lip eczema, including lip exfoliants and chapsticks.


You might “inherit,” even if you do everything right, lip eczema.

Cold Climate

Winter’s harsh winds and cold temperatures will not do you any favors if your skin is sensitive to the cold. The weather may be to blame if you notice dry patches of skin on your lips, cracked elbows, or thirst under the eyes.

What to do if you have it?

Get Three Glasses Extra of Water Every Day

We already know that water has endless beauty benefits, so it should come as no surprise that moisture should help you out in terms of getting your lips quenched and ultra-hydrated–Kirby recommends drinking at least three extra glasses of water a day (on top of what you usually consume).

Use a humidifier

You can use a humidifier to combat a dry office environment by running it at night. You can easily throw a portable humidifier like HeyDewy in your work bag.

The 8 Best Humidifiers for 2023

Apply Petroleum Jelly

Bard and Kirby confirm that any petrolatum oil jelly works wonders on chapped lips. Apply a thick layer to your lips three times daily if you suffer from severe dryness.

Try Hydrocortisone cream

Bard says that if none of the previous remedies work, you can mix 1% hydrocortisone with petrolatum and apply the 50/50 mixture three times within 24 hours. However, only continue to use the steroid for up to one week. She says that if the condition persists, you should consult a board-certified dermatologist to prescribe steroid-sparing drugs for chronic Eczema. They can also perform patch tests to determine the cause of the contact dermatitis.

If all else fails, see a derm for HA injections.

Kirby also mentions (as a final resort) that the Hyaluronic Acid (HA0 found in Common Lip Fillers, like Juvederm, for example, is hydrophilic. This means it bonds to water molecules. Studies show that hyaluronic can hold 1000 times its weight in water. 2 If nothing works for you and you have recovered from any lip irritation at the surface level, you can try injectable treatments.

If the symptoms persist, you should consult a physician. They will be able to diagnose the issue and treat it. You’ll get healthier, softer lips the sooner you treat them.

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