I have lip-licker's dermatitis. It really hurts, and I can't open my mouth wide. Could you suggest some remedies?

The arrival of winter often means dry skin and chapped lips for many of us. For some, cracked and bleeding lips are more of an embarrassment than anything else. However, severe dryness of the lips is not only annoying it can also be very painful. It is not uncommon for people to solve problem of dry lips by licking them regularly. Unfortunately, exposing your chapped lips to saliva over and over is not a good idea. This is because your tongue gets rid of the little oil or moisture present in your lips. The excessive licking of dry lips could further lead to a condition known as Lip Licker’s Dermatitis. At times, this condition could also occur if you have the tendency to lick your lips when you are nervous or stressed out.

The first step in the treatment of Lip Lickers Dermatitis is breaking the habit of licking your lips; unless you stop running your tongue over your lips, you are not likely to cure the condition. Biting your lips or pulling off the dry skin will only cause the condition to worsen considerably. In order to speed up the healing process, you may need to apply a soothing balm, not only to your lips, but also around your mouth. Some of the most highly recommended options include Petroleum Jelly, Shea Butter and Aloe Vera. Make sure you apply the emollient every few hours to soothe the irritation and burning sensation. The regular application of a salve will also help reduce the urge to lick your lips.

While saliva is bad for chapped lips, water isn’t. Try to sip on water at regular intervals throughout the day. Water moistens your lips and at the same time, it hydrates your cells from within, helping the cracks to heal faster.

If the problem has occurred because of stress, you should also try a few techniques to relieve it. Some of the most effective stress reduction options include massage therapy, deep breathing, yoga and meditation. These techniques do not heal your lips directly, but help reduce the urge to lick them out of nervousness or anxiety.

These home remedies should help cure the condition within 2 weeks at the most. In case the problem persists, it is best to consult a doctor, who may prescribe a steroid-based lip cream to treat the inflammation. However, never apply any medicated cream without first getting a go-ahead from a doctor.


  1. Rogers RS, 3rd, Bekic M. Diseases of the lips. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 1997 Dec;16(4):328–336

answered by A S

Lip-licker’s dermatitis is caused by licking chapped lips. Stop licking your lips at the first place. Licking chapped lips doesn’t help; on the other hand it makes the lips drier by scraping off the oil surrounding the lips causing a red ring around your lips.

  • Stop lip biting and sucking too.
  • Keep yourself well hydrated by drinking enough water.
  • Use a lip balm, especially while going out in sun.
  • Use air humidifier in winters to moisten air at home.

Consult a dermatologist as chapped lips can often get infected.

answered by S P

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