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What Causes The Red Ring Around My Lips?

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
Q: The red ring around my lips. They hurt and look bad. Anything I can use that will get rid of it? Any ideas appreciated
Expert Answer

People often develop a red, irritating ring on the edge of their lips, which takes away your smile. Before you start to treat* this ring the question is what is the cause behind it? There could be several reasons, such as an allergy from a product, dryness or the infamous habit of licking your lips. Following are a few reasons that cause the border of your lips to become red and irritated.

Allergic Skin Reaction To Foods

Many people develop allergies from certain food products at a very young age. It is the protein component of food that usually triggers the allergic reaction. When your body’s immune system, by mistake, suspects a certain protein to be harmful to your body it reacts to reject it. As the food first touches your lips before making its way inside your body, therefore lips and mouth may be the first to show symptoms of allergy. These symptoms may include;

  • Redness of lips
  • Tingling itchy sensation
  • Chapped painful lips
  • Swollen lips, tongue, throat
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting

Food allergies are usually treated with a dose of anti-allergy medicines, but it would be best to stay away from the eatables you are allergic to.

Lip Licker’s Dermatitis

The word Dermatitis means skin inflammation. Lip licker’s dermatitis is a self-explanatory term; it is obvious that it is the kind of skin allergy that is caused by the habit of licking your lips. Your saliva contains digestive enzymes to start the process of digestion as soon as you put food in your mouth. These enzymes are mildly acidic in nature, when you lick your lips frequently the thin, sensitive skin gets covered with saliva, which takes away the moisture of your lips making them dry and chapped. People usually develop this habit in extreme dry or hot weather because lips tend to get dry quickly in such environment and the instant way to hydrate them is through your saliva. Symptoms of lip licker’s dermatitis are;

  • Red sore lips
  • Dry scaly patches
  • Rash on the skin close to the lips

The easiest way to avoid and treat* lip licker’s dermatitis is to regularly apply a good lip balm or petroleum jelly on your lips to keep the moisture locked in the skin and protect* them from getting dehydrated and chapped. Avoid flavored and perfumed lip balms.

Self-Explanatory Dermatitis: Saliva Dermatitis: Allergic To Skin Care Products And Makeup

Today there are hardly any women who do not use one or combination of cosmetic products. Makeup, moisturizers, perfumes all these have become a part of their everyday grooming routine. Where all these products enhance* your beauty and charm, they can also adversely react with your skin. There are two types of allergic reaction that might occur on our skin due to any cosmetic product;

1. Irritant Contact Dermatitis:

This type of allergy occurs when your skin comes directly in contact with a product that has an irritant substance. Anyone can suffer from it. The irritant substance may be a strong or mildly acidic in nature. These can exist in some beauty soaps or cheap low-quality lipsticks, makeups and skin treatment products. They cause great damage to your lips making them sore, cracked even burn.

2. Allergic Contact Dermatitis:

Allergic contact dermatitis takes place when a person is allergic to a certain ingredient present in the product. Your lips, being the more sensitive area, get affected gravely. Therefore, it is very important that before purchasing any cosmetic product take your time and go through its ingredients list thoroughly to make the right choice.