Itchy lips are fairly common, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to determine the cause and then treat it. This issue can be a signal of serious disease, but more often, it’s something you can treat, as soon as you have it diagnosed.
What Causes Itchy Lips?
Itchy lips are just what you’d think. They become red and inflamed, at the same time they are itchy. They cause much discomfort. There may be various causes. Perhaps you changed your brand of soap or facial products. Maybe you purchased a different makeup. Have you been exposed to some illness? Here are some common causes for itchy lips.
If your lips are swollen as well as itchy, you may be experiencing an allergic reaction. They are caused by proteins in food that are allergenic, much like pollens you may be allergic to. This is called cross-sensitivity. You may be allergic to certain foods and flowers, or to ingredients in makeup or skin care products.
If you eat foods that have allergic proteins similar to some type of pollen you have allergies to, the food-related symptoms may occur during the allergy season. At other times, the same food might not bother you. When it does, you could experience:
- Swollen, itchy lips
- Swelling of the mouth and tongue
Don’t eat more of a food that is affecting you. Take a dose of oral antihistamine as soon as you can. If your symptoms get worse or last longer than several minutes, seek out medical attention right away.
- Cold Sores
These are generally brought on by the herpes simplex virus. It is not the same gene as genital herpes, although it does come from the same family.
- Pain around lips
- Itchy lips
- Small bumps around the lips (these eventually become open lesions)
Prior to cold sore onset, you may have experienced:
- Swollen glands
- Mild fever
- Sore throat
Cold sores typically heal on their own within a week or two. If you have more than one cold sore, or they don’t heal themselves, consult with your physician. You might need an antiviral medication. You may also try these home remedies:
- Clean the sores with an antiseptic
- Use warm compresses or ice packs
- Wash sores with water and sea salt
- Use OTC pain relievers
- Avoid citrus foods, spicy foods and hot beverages
- Wind & Temperature Change
If you move from a warmer to a colder environment, it causes your lips’ blood vessels to constrict. This can cause some itching. When you’re out and it’s windy, it can cause chapping and windburn. This can cause itchy lips or sore lips.
Cover your mouth and neck with a scarf when you go out in cold or windy weather. Lip balm also helps if you’re out on a windy day.
- Bites & Stings
If your lips begin to itch suddenly, it could be caused by a bug sting or bite. Some insects have venom that just causes itching, rather than pain. It’s most common when you’re talking about small spiders, red ants and mosquitos.
Use a little dab of a topical antihistamine ointment or take a dose of oral antihistamine. OTC Hydrocortisone 1% cream can help. If you don’t have that on hand, use water and baking soda to create a paste and dab it on the affected area.
- Irritants in the Environment
Irritants including smoke, pollution and chemicals may cause lips that itch.
Limit the amount of time you expose yourself to these and other irritants. You can also use lip balm to soothe your lips.
- Vitamin B12 Deficiency
You may be low on vitamin B12 if you have an overall deficiency in B-vitamins. A deficiency in vitamin B12 may be brought on by various health problems, including autoimmune disorders, issues with the digestive system or heavy use of alcohol. The deficiency might also be related to your diet. B12 deficiency symptoms may include mouth area problems.
- Bleeding gums
- Sore tongue
- Sore or itchy lips
You can treat deficiencies in vitamin B12 by supplementing your diet with this vitamin. If your body doesn’t absorb B12 properly, you can get B12 injections. You may do well with B12 drops or tablets taken under your tongue.
- Medical Conditions & Medications
Certain medications may cause skin reactions that can affect your lips, too. Skin conditions and diabetes can cause itchy lips, as well.
If you’re taking a medication that makes your lips itchy, speak with your physician about the problem. He or she may have you use a different medication. If the itching lips are caused by a medical condition, you may need to work to get that condition cleared up.
- Other Itchy Lips Causes
- Kawasaki Disease
- Upper respiratory infection
- Vitamin A toxicity
How to Cope with Lips that Itch
Here are some home remedies for relief of itchy lips:
- Cut back on caffeine and smoking. They can both dry your lips.
- Change your makeup brand. You may be allergic to some products.
- Eat a healthy diet. Fresh veggies and fruits increase your intake of vitamins. Deficiencies in vitamins are one cause for mouth and lip symptoms.
- Use aloe Vera gel. It reduces irritation and helps your lips heal.
- Try some petroleum jelly. A thin layer will moisten your lips and protect them.
- Don’t spend too much time in the sun. Wear a hat and use a lip balm with sunscreen.
What have others said about how you get itchy lips and how you can treat them?
- Coconut oil works well to moisturize dry lips, and it smells good. You just need a little dab.
- I went to see my dermatologist and he tested me for allergies. Turns out I’m allergic to an ingredient in some brands of facial products. Now I avoid that ingredient.
- I had trouble with sore & itchy lips, but thought it was weather and dryness. I got a prescription for a steroid-based cream and it helps a lot.