Allergic contact cheilitis is a form of allergic contact dermatitis that affects the lips. This is brought about by a type of hypersensitivity that occurs after being exposed to an allergen and manifests as an eczema-like inflammation affecting the outer lip.
Who are at risk?
Allergic contact cheilitis is a usual cause of a swollen or inflamed lip. Most of the chronic cases reported are brought about by allergic contact.
The condition is quite common among women than men. It can occur among individuals of all ages but adults are typically affected. Nevertheless, the allergens involved tend to vary in different age groups.
The use of lip cosmetics is the usual allergen among women while toothpaste among men. Among the elderly, medications are the usual source for allergic contact cheilitis. Additionally, oral hygiene products and dental materials are responsible for causing the condition in all age groups.
Sources of allergens responsible for allergic contact cheilitis
- Toothpaste and dental care products
- Lipstick and other lip cosmetics
- Metals from dental restorations or orthodontic devices
- Nail varnish
- Rubber or latex gloves
Characteristics of allergic contact cheilitis
Allergic contact cheilitis trigger eczema-like changes on the skin around the mouth. In most cases, one or both lips might appear red along with scaling, dryness and cracking.
These changes might be localized or affect the entire lip. There is also involvement of the mouth angles. Take note that the pattern of the reaction can provide an idea regarding the cause. In addition, there is also itchiness, burning or pain in the lips.
Diagnosis and treatment
Patch testing is used by the doctor to come up with a diagnosis. In most cases, many individuals react to the products that they use. A positive result from the patch testing requires assessment based on the history and physical examination.
When managing the condition, avoidance of the allergen and possible sources is the key. In most instances, a reaction typically subsides quickly.