Itchy lips is a fairly common phenomenon, most of us experience it regularly, or at least once a month. Of course, we either simply ignore it or fail even to notice and give it much attention. But, there are some cases where an itch in your lips may be just a symptom of a serious health hazard.
These are the cases where itchiness is combined with a few related symptoms such as dry, burnt or cracked lips. We will cover each of these symptoms in the following paragraphs, so there is no need to worry. We’ve also grouped the paragraphs together based on the condition they are covering to help you navigate the article more efficiently.
We already mentioned that itchy lips are commonly accompanied by one or more related symptoms. These symptoms may vary in intensity and depend on the underlying condition causing it. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Small bumps around lips
- Tender and/or swollen tongue
- Soreness around lips
- Lip swelling
- Bleeding gums
- Hives on lips
Causes Of Itchy Lips
There are a lot of different causes we will cover today! Of course, we will try to expand the list with new information so keep that in mind. Another thing you should remember is that itchy lips occur in both men and women equally and it is also common in both older population and kids.
Nowadays, almost everyone is allergic to something, whether it be a food allergy, allergy to dust, pets, insect stings, latex, drugs, or mold (Allergy types: ACAAI). In this our case, your body is allergic to a particular kind of protein (similar to the pollen from flowers) that causes the reaction of our entire body.
In addition to the itchiness around your lips, you might also experience hives, or lip swelling called angioedema. Angioedema is the swelling of the tissue found just under the skin or mucous membranes. NOTE: you might even notice swelling around your eyes, not just your lips.
As for the exact cause, it would be impossible for us to tell, simply because we have no information regarding your particular case. What we can say is that it could be something you’ve been using (eating) your whole life, or something you just recently introduced.
What you can do (if it’s a food allergy) is to try one type of food every 4-5 hours and see how your body reacts. Waiting for 5 hours would be ideal because this is the maximum amount of time it takes your body to produce some reaction to the allergen it came in contact with.
Biting your lips certainly falls under the “mechanical injury” category, but it probably won’t lead to itchy lips. On the other hand, anxiety patients have been known to bite their lips viciously, causing bruises and even blood. These are the cases where we might diagnose itchy lips as well.
Other types of mechanical injuries we can add to the list are:
- Insect stings – an insect sting will cause itchiness because it will release toxins into our body. The most annoying bug we are forced to deal with is certainly the mosquito, but there are others such as red ants, spiders, or bees.
- The elements – harsh weather can be tough on your lips especially if you live in a windy climate. Sun exposure and cold may also cause these mechanical injuries
- Dental injuries – not all that common but they can be quite painful, uncomfortable and leave you with a nasty scar
Angular cheilitis is an inflammation of the angles of the mouth. It is easily diagnosed based on the following symptoms:
- Red patches
- Some people even reported losing weight
Most common causes of AC are a lack of vitamin b12, excessive saliva in the corner of your mouth, and candida.
When talking about the causes of this condition, we have to mention the most common risk factor – poor hygiene. Maintaining your oral health is not that hard, but for those who wear a bracelet or suffer from excessive salivation, it may be challenging.
If you are wearing a dental prosthesis, this is how you manage your hygiene and avoid angular cheilitis:
- Evaluate your prosthesis – make sure you clean in thoroughly and maintain it properly
- Check the corner of your mouth for excessive saliva (especially if you just started wearing a dental prosthesis) and avoid licking the corners of your lips
- Look for a good antibacterial/antifungal cream (consult your doctor)
This is a disease affecting mostly kids under the age of 6. It causes inflammation in the arteries and, though it has a good prognosis with treatment, there are cases where it will lead to death. This is why it is important to diagnose it as soon as possible and administer the right treatment.
Most common symptoms of this disease are fever, dry, cracked mouth, sore throat, rash, localized redness and, of course, itchy lips.
The condition is also known as an acute FEBRILE vasculitic syndrome. FEBRILE is an acronym, and it stands for:
- Enanthem – a small rash inside the mouth
- Bulbar conjunctivitis – also known as “pink eye”
- Internal organ involvement
- Lymphadenopathy – a disease of the lymph nodes and
- Changes in extremities
According to the American Heart Association, if 4 or more symptoms are present, Kawasaki Disease can be diagnosed on the fourth day of the fever. As for the treatment, it should be done under professional supervision.
Yes, there is such thing as sun poisoning! Technically, this is a form of dehydration induced by prolonged exposure to temperatures over 35 degrees C. This dehydration will lead to itchy, dry lips which will eventually crack.
There are also those who are allergic to the sun, so even without the prolonged sun exposure, they may notice the symptoms we’ve listed above.
Chemicals From The Environment
Though sad, the truth is we’ve polluted the very environment we live and depend on. Humans singlehandedly managed to pollute the air, water, and the soil, which is why we come in contact with some harmful chemicals on a regular basis.
The problem with these chemicals and toxins though, is that the change is not sudden or dramatic; rather, the effects of the chemicals accumulates over the months and years and go undetected.
Of course, the easiest way to deal with environmental factors is to move, but this is easier said than done. Also, no one can guarantee you will not be exposed to similar substances once you do decide to move.
Another thing you can do is to pay close attention to personal hygiene, especially if the soil you live on is polluted. If possible, use or buy nutrients grown in a different location.
Vitamin A overdose
This article is full of surprises. First, we talk about sun poisoning and now an overdose on vitamins. Nowadays everything is “packed full of vitamins,” advertised to compensate for our poor diets and eating habits, going overboard with vitamins and minerals can hurt you in the long run.
Vitamin overdose can lead to nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, hair loss, fatigue, and even nerve damage.
The particular overdose we are interested in today is the one regarding vitamin A. This vitamin is quite an important one as it helps our body maintain healthy skin, teeth, bones, and internal organ membranes. To prevent and treat diseases, some people shoot past these “daily vitamin A requirements” leading to an overdose.
Instead of relying on supplements containing concentrated vitamins and minerals, you should eat the right foods. In this particular case, you need eggs, fish, and milk.
We’ve decided to list cancer last for a good reason – it is rarely the cause of itchy lips. In most cases, it is something much more benign.
That being said, you should know that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the US, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Good news is that only 0.6% of all skin cancers are those of lips. Researchers believe that lip cancer occurrence is closely related to sun exposure, tobacco smoking, and drinking alcohol.
So, what we are saying is not that if you experience itchy lips from time to time, you should stop drinking and smoking (though you should), just that you should check your lips regularly for anything suspicious.
The treatment will, of course, depend on the underlying cause, which is why we’ve divided it into several different sections:
- Allergies – dealing with allergies can be a long and painstaking process, especially if you decide to go through it on your own. What you should do is visit your doctor and run some test to determine what you are allergic to; is it something you eat, something in the environment or something you put on your face. Whichever the cause may be, identifying it is vital before you start thinking of the best ways to manage it
- Infections – both bacteria and viruses can cause an infection, so our primary goal here is to annihilate them. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t fight infections on your own (especially if you only base your knowledge on the articles you read online!), you must consult a medical professional to determine the right course of action. Using the wrong medicine can have an adverse effect on your health and even exacerbate the symptoms
- Vitamin deficiency/overdose – if you have a vitamin and mineral deficiency, you should amp up your fruits and vegetable intake; many people reach for the supplements, but they can be hard to digest and utilize. As for the overdose, we already discussed it previously – make sure you make the necessary changes to your diet and adjust it to your body’s daily requirements
- Injury – here the treatment will depend on the nature of the injury. If you’ve been bitten/stung by an insect, make sure you are not allergic and apply an over-the-counter cream locally. If the harsh weather is the problem, make sure you wear a scarf and also protect your lips by using a lip balm. By using a lip balm you can also protect yourself from the sun, just make sure you pick one with a high SPF factor
Prevention And Immediate Relief
Here are some quick tips you can implement almost immediately to relief that annoying itch you feel on your lips:
Honey has a longstanding medical history; it was even used by ancient Egyptians to treat wounds. The Egyptians probably didn’t know exactly why it worked, but they knew it did. Today, we are well aware of honey’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
The mix we would like to share with you today requires almond oil as well. Take three tablespoons of almond oil and mix it up with one spoon of honey. This elixir will do wonders for your lips, give it a try and share your results with us in the comments down below.
No, we are not talking about changing your makeup style, we are talking about the shelf life of your products. Apart from perfumes, other toiletries have a significantly shorter shelf life and should be checked regularly to see if they are expired.
Pretty much all toiletries contain a certain number of chemicals, and when they go bad, they can irritate the skin and cause problem and itchy lips.
As for the makeup brand itself, you might find some to be particularly irritating, especially if you have sensitive skin. This is something you should check yourself through trial and error.
Aloe Vera And Essential Oils
Aloe Vera is another “ancient” remedy, being used for thousands of years. In ancient Egypt, it was known as “The plant of immortality,” and was presented as a funeral gift to the Pharos.
Unfortunately, there are not a lot of medical studies regarding the benefits of Aloe Vera plant. What we do know is that you should only apply it topically (directly to the skin), it is not intended to be taken orally.
Topically applied, it can be used as a remedy for psoriasis, burns, frostbites, cold sores, and other related skin diseases. Of course, it can be applied directly on the lips, help with dryness, cracking, and itchiness.