Redness Around Lip:  Dry,  Red Itchy Rash, In Children Causes & Treatments 

What does redness around lips and mouth mean? What disorders or conditions cause the redness and at times itchy skin around the mouth? Is it allergy or reactions from certain medications? Read on to find out more about symptoms, how to treat or deal with these symptoms.

What causes it

This problem can be caused by a number of things. To give you the best insight, while looking at the causes or reasons why your lip skin is red we have included pictures to help you see the symptoms.

Eczema around lips, mouth, and pictures

Dermatitis is a skin condition that causes inflammation. We shall discuss these conditions and look at how treatment is done later on.

Contact dermatitis around the lips

According to Health Hype, contact dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition that occurs after exposure to irritants or allergens in the environment. The irritants or allergens trigger an allergic reaction leading to damage of skin.

Common irritants that can cause it include cleaning soaps and detergents, lip piercing jewelry, cosmetic products and chemicals that cause burning in skin.

Symptoms of contact dermatitis include

  • Intense itching
  • Redness accompanied by dry, blistering
  • Sometimes peeling and cracking on the corners of mouth will occur
  • Bleeding if severe

These are usually the common symptoms but an infection would cause other symptoms such as severe pain, heat (burning), fever and pus.

Allergic contact cheilitis of the lips: This is a form of contact dermatitis that mostly affects the lips. The following are allergen sources.

  • Fragrance and preservatives in lipsticks
  • Dental care products including toothpastes, mouthwash, dental floss and toothpicks, etc.
  • Metals contained in dental restorations, orthodontic devices, lip cosmetic cases, habitual sucking of metal objects, etc. For example Nickel.
  • Certain food
  • Medications
  • Rubber and latex gloves

Seborrheic dermatitis – red and burning

Seborrhea affects common areas like the scalp, underarms, under breasts, in groin, on legs. Though uncommon it can also affect the lips too. People with oily skin (due to things such as hormonal imbalances) are also liable to perioral dermatitis.

Doctors don’t know the exact cause of seborrhea. However the following are factors thought to be the reasons for its occurrence.

  • Certain medical or skin conditions like acne, Parkinson’s disease, rosacea, psoriasis
  • Cold and dry weather
  • Human yeast
  • Stress or depression

The common symptoms of seborrhea around the mouth include red burning lips, itching and sometimes flaking.

Perioral dermatitis – red bumpy rash around the lips

Perioral dermatitis is a condition more common among women. The causes are theorized and attributed to certain facial lotions and creams that contain heavy chemical ingredient. Besides gender, other risk factors are autoimmune disorder, allergen history and environmental factors such as strong winds.

Symptoms common to perioral dermatitis include

  1. Red bumps (rash) that is scaly in appearance
  2. A clear fluid or discharge form the affected area
  3. Burning of the skin around mouth
  4. If the rash gets worse itching could result

At times people take it to be a kind of acne due to the bumps but perioral dermatitis should not be confused with acne.

Lip licker’s dermatitis (red and sore)

People who have made lip licking habitual often and potentially suffer from this form of inflammatory dermatitis. The reason or cause of lip licker’s dermatitis is due to digestive enzymes. If your areas around them are covered by saliva, they become dry and look chapped since saliva robs it of moisture.

The symptoms include dry scaly-looking patches, red sore lips and rash closer to the corners of lips for both upper and lower lips.

Other causes

  1. Certain medications
  2. Swollen or scratching acne ‘pimples’ around lips
  3. Vitamin deficiency such as Zinc

In children causes

Reddening of skin around mouth can also affect infants and young children. What are the causes in children?

  • Lip licker’s dermatitis
  • Irritant contact dermatitis
  • Seborrhea (dermatitis)
  • Food flavoring
  • Certain ORAL medications

Dryness and redness

Dry and burning red skin around the lips can be horrible especially it causes itching. Certain conditions can lead to dry lip skin to the degree that they begin to form cracks. The conditions may be internal or triggered by external environmental factors such as cold temperature.

One of the skin conditions responsible for dryness and redness include perioral dermatitis. Lip lickers dermatitis is also associated with dryness around the areas nearer to it. Other factors that contribute to  its drying out are strong cold winds, cosmetic facial or lip products with allergens, preservatives, and dehydrating ingredients.

Red rash on lips – itchy rash with bumps

A skin rash is characteristic of any change in texture, appearance or looks from the normal. A breakout of skin rash could be sudden. It can affect anyone of any age, gender, and race.

What causes a red rash around the lips and mouth? A red rash around this area can be caused by seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrhea can be a recurring skin condition in infants and young children, where it appears again during puberty.

Why diagnose it

Normally it involves skin tests and physical examination of your skin around mouth. Doctors need this in order to rule out possibilities of infections or other related conditions and get the best way to deal with this problem.


Redness around lips is treated with various methods including medication. Sometimes doctors use a combination of therapy, medication and products. Prior to treatment, doctors may need to carry out an examination of your skin or look at your history from medical past.

Perioral dermatitis treatment

Treatment options for this condition will depend on symptoms, trigger factors and how severe the condition is presented.


Medication (creams, tablets, capsules, etc.) may be prescribed by your doctor to relieve of the symptoms and treat it. They include acne treatments, antibiotics, antihistamine and immune-suppressive drugs. Your doctor will also determine how these medicines are administered.

The best way to treat perioral dermatitis is by avoiding or stop using any products that would worsen the symptoms. These include

  • Makeup and facial cleansers
  • Ultraviolet light
  • Birth control pills
  • Certain toothpaste with Fluorine
  • Steroid creams

Optionally, you may be required to apply remedies for mild symptoms. We shall look at some of these natural treatments next on.

Contact dermatitis around mouth treatment

Depending on the causes or triggers, this condition is also treated using prescription creams, antihistamines and ointments.

Seborrheic dermatitis

A good skin care would deal with seborrhea but it can clear on its own. If the symptoms do not clear on their own, see your doctor for alternative treatment.

Natural treatment remedies

Natural methods in most circumstances are meant for mild symptom-relieving. Remedies can also be an alternative treatment but do not work for certain individuals.

The following are some of the common methods used to deal with redness around the lips. For some procedures to work, the causes must be clearly established. This basically calls for one to see a physician before trying them out.

1.      Petroleum jelly

Applying a scent-free, alcohol-free and non-flavored petroleum jelly (e.g. Vaseline) is the easiest way to prevent and treat dryness and redness from lip licker’s dermatitis. This ensures that moisture remains locked in skin hence preventing your them from dehydration.

Individuals suffering from this dermatitis can use this remedy to deal with dryness around the lips.

2.      Cool washing the affected area

Washing should be gentle and be done with running water. For best results individuals are advised to avoid chlorinated or water treated with chemicals.

3.      Tea tree oil

As another natural remedy, tea tree oil helps in fighting infections especially bacterial infection strains such as staph. The use of this remedy will not treat conditions like contact dermatitis but is good because it helps avoid the symptoms from becoming worse.

4.      Other remedies include

  • Green tea
  • Applying apple cider vinegar
  • Essential oils like lavender oil
  • Plastic face masks to reduce the exposure to triggers while at work

5.      Lifestyle change

Individuals and people susceptible of contact dermatitis are advised to remove or get rid of the triggers such as plants, pets and other irritants around their homes or living surrounding.

In some special cases, you will be forced to stop applying creams, lip balms and other beauty products until the condition in question is well contained. Otherwise, doctors sometimes recommend that you replace your detergents or cosmetics.

Food supplements are also recommended by doctors and nutritionists in case the symptoms have indicated an insufficiency. For instance Zinc supplements.

When to see a doctor or physician

It is always safe to see your physician to find out what really causes the redness around your lips or mouth. If you find out that you continue to get a red rash around your mouth after treatment explain to the doctor. When dryness and cracking of lip corners is also persistent, don hesitate to see your GNP.

Above all, anyone who has had an eczema history or gets recurring skin conditions must see a physician for treatment purposes.

  1. Health Hype: Contact Dermatitis Types, Causes, Pictures, Treatment
  2. Health Grades: What is mouth redness?
  3. Consumer Health Digest: What Causes the Red Ring Around My Lips?
  4. WebMD: Contact Dermatitis
  5. WebMD: Seborrheic Dermatitis