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Skin Care and Diseases

Cracking, Peeling, Sore Lips won`t stop

03/11/2005

Question:

The skin on my lips have been peeling away and I don`t know why. It starting happening like 2 weeks ago and they are red now. It`s like when you bite your lip and you get a sore but the sore soon goes away, but my lips have been cracking and the sore`s won`t heal.My lips aren`t bleeding but I can feel the sore`s. I thought it might be because I`ve been really nervous lately or I also thought that I might even have diabeties, because I know it take`s time for sore`s to heal if diabeties is the cause. I would like to know if you may know what could be causing this.

Answer:

You did not give me your age, but your description is that of probable allergic contact dermatitis to a lipstick or another lip balm that you might be using.  It does not sound like an infectious process, but rather a dermatitis.  In addition to lipstick and lip balms, you may become sensitive to toothpaste - particularly some of the preservatives in them, mouthwashes and/or you may be allergic to something you are eating.  For example, patients who are allergic to poison ivy may break out around their mouth usually when eating the fruit mango. 

I would suggest that you see a board certified dermatologist so that that individual can carefully evaluate the kind of eruption that you have on your lips.  In that way appropriate medication can be prescribed.

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati