Itchy Lips: Causes and Prevention

An itchy experience on your lips can occur suddenly and be quite uneasy. Most of the time, having itchy lips is related to a contact or seasonal allergic reaction. Sometimes, having itchy lips is a symptom of other less typical health conditions. Keep reading to find out what could be triggering your lips to feel itchy.

What Causes Itchy Lips?

Allergic Contact Cheilitis

Allergic contact cheilitis is the term for itchy or irritated lips brought on by direct exposure to an irritant. Lip cosmetics, sunscreens, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and medications can all cause your lips to have this sort of reaction. Foods that contain preservatives, fragrances, or artificial flavorings are also typical culprits.

This condition makes your lips look inflamed and creates spots of scaly or itchy skin on your lips. This condition is momentary and ought to solve within 24 hours of contact with an allergic reaction.

Drug-induced Cheilitis

There are some prescription medications that cause itchy lips as an adverse effects. Retinoid treatments (isotretinoin, acitretin, alitretinoin) are known to have this negative effects. They can also make your lips fracture and bleed. Allergies to penicillin-based antibiotics, like amoxicillin, can also trigger your lips to feel itchy.

Traumatic Cheilitis

This kind of lip inflammation is triggered by overstimulating the delicate skin on your lips. Habits like lip licking and lip biting can trigger your lips to become swollen and feel itchy. This condition will go away if you’re able to stop the behavior that’s annoying your lips, however it could continue to recur as long as your lips are being inflamed. This condition is most common in children and teenagers.

Weather-induced Cheilitis

As the name recommends, this sort of lip swelling originates from your lips being exposed to severe heat, wind, or cold temperatures for a prolonged period of time. This condition is most likely to happen in individuals who live in environments where extreme temperatures occur frequently, and in individuals who work outside. This condition is often accompanied by cracking or bleeding lips.


There are some bacterial, viral, and fungal infections that can make your lips feel itchy. The herpes simplex virus, candida overgrowth, and strep (group A Streptococcus) and staph (group A Staphylococcus) infections are all typical causes of itchy and unpleasant lips. In the case of an infection, your lips ought to feel typical once again as soon as the other infection signs disappear. In many cases, antibiotics may be needed to manage the infection.

Other Causes

Other causes of itchy lips signs include:

  • lupus
  • persistent hives (hives that occur frequently and last for more than 6 weeks).
  • ingrown hairs from shaving (folliculitis).
  • nutrient deficiencies.
  • Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome (a rare condition that triggers facial paralysis).

Dry and Itchy Lips

You can experience one without the other, but often your lips might simply feel itchy due to the fact that they’re dry. Lips that have become dry because of ecological factors can begin to feel itchy. Skin that’s dried out has a weaker barrier. This can make your lips feel inflamed and appear red or inflamed, or offer you the urge to scratch.

Having dry lips typically isn’t an indication or symptom of anything besides the environment around you, such as excessive heat or dry climate. However lips that are itchy can be a symptom of something more. Though the two symptoms are often linked, it is very important to be able to determine the difference.

When to See Your Doctor

Seek instant medical care if you experience any of the following:

  • a sudden rash that spreads out from your lips across the rest of your face.
  • nonstop bleeding on your lips.
  • trouble breathing.
  • lips that swell up rapidly.

You need to make a consultation with your doctor if you have consistent symptoms of itchy lips, especially if your symptoms are accompanied by lips that are cracked or bleeding. Make sure to inform your doctor about any medications you’re taking and cosmetics you have used just recently when you discuss your symptoms.

Your doctor might refer you to an allergist to eliminate any allergic reactions to products or food. Blood tests can inform you if what you’re experiencing is allergic contact cheilitis. Your doctor might likewise do a culture or swab test to determine whether you have an infection or a candida overgrowth.

How Are Itchy Lips Treated?

Treatment for itchy lips depends on the cause. Your doctor might recommend medication if they think an infection. Oral antibiotics and antifungal creams may assist your lips feel less itchy. A topical or oral antihistamine might clean up itching and hives if you are having an allergic reaction.

Lips that are itchy and dry might require a moisturizing treatment to seal the barrier in between your lips and the air while your skin heals. Your doctor can recommend a hypo-allergenic, fragrance- and chemical-free product that you can use day-to-day to protect your lips from dry conditions and serious weather.

Go over any medications you’re taking with a doctor or pharmacist to see whether they can cause itchy lips as a negative effects.

How to Avoid Itchy Lips

To keep itchy lips from repeating, there are a couple of things you can do.

Protect Your Lips

All year long, protect your lips with a medicated lip balm that contains a sunscreen. The Mayo Clinic suggests covering your mouth with a headscarf when you go outside in freezing temperatures to protect your lips from cold air. Pick unflavored, unscented, hypoallergenic products that will protect your lips without exposing your skin to chemicals.

Change Your Habits

Do your best to avoid licking your lips. While it may look like licking your lips hydrates the area, it in fact causes your lips to end up being even drier than before. You might also want to think about changing your everyday skin care and makeup regimen to restrict your mouth’s exposure to active ingredients that remove out moisture. And bear in mind the method you breathe, too; breathing through your mouth instead of your nose can dry your lips.

Stay Hydrated

Getting enough water is important to your health for about 100 factors. Consider this reason No. 101. Consuming plenty of fluids, and using a humidifier in your home throughout the winter months, can bring back proper hydration to your skin and keep your lips from getting chapped and itchy.


Having itchy lips is normally a benign sign of having dry, itchy skin around your mouth. This sign tends to fix by itself, sometimes with no treatment. There are cases when itchy lips can suggest a deeper health condition, so focus on other symptoms that might occur along with itchy lips.

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