Other Lip Problems

Cosmetic Dermatitis

Cosmetic Dermatitis is an unpredictable itchy, red reaction to a cosmetic applied to the face or lips. It is usually caused by skin-irritating chemicals present in a cosmetic, but may also represent a true allergy or sensitivity to one or more of the components of the cosmetic. Such an allergy may lead to more severe itching, burning, and swelling of the skin and lips.

A cosmetic allergy results when an individual develops a sensitivity to certain ingredients (such as dyes in lipsticks or flavoring agents). Allergies are unpredictable and can happen even in reaction to well-manufactured products made by reputable companies. Since sensitivities often develop and increase over time, a reaction can occur from an ingredient in a product even if you have used the product for years. Unfortunately, once an allergic reaction occurs, it will generally happen again.

Individuals who develop an allergic reaction to cosmetics should immediately discontinue their use. They should individually test cosmetic formulas to find one which will not affect them. If the reaction continues, they should see their physician.


Photosensitivity may result from an internal condition or from something being applied to the skin. It could be due to past exposure to photoactive chemicals. In lip photosensitivity, a substance applied to the lips causes a reaction when exposed to sunlight.

The symptoms resemble those of a sudden, severe sunburn: redness, pain or burning, or swelling. This may happen with relatively brief sun exposure soon after the application of a lipstick or other cosmetic.

Just as in the case of cosmetic dermatitis suffers, it is important for those who experience photo-reactions on their lip skin to immediately discontinue use of the cosmetic or chemical triggering the reaction. The subsequent use of a lip care product containing an adequate SPF level could help to control the effects of continued sun exposure. It is important to keep in mind that an attack of photosensitivity can be an indicator of more significant health problems. For persistent or severe reactions consult a physician.


Cheilitis refers to persistent inflammation of one or both lips. Scaling, cracking, and swelling may occur on the vermilion border,
which is the area where lip mucosa meets the normal skin of the face.

There are several types of cheilitis, including cheilitis actinica, in which lips are damaged by exposure to sunlight. Cheilitis can
also result from vitamin deficiency. Another common type is angular cheilitis, a yeast infection which may be caused by an ill-fitting dental apparatus.