Causes of Rashes on the Sides of the Lips & Tips to Heal Them

Rashes on the sides of the lips, is a very common health issue faced by people all over the world. The skin of our lips is thinner than other body parts. Also, there is a lack of natural moisturizing ability due to the absence of sebaceous glands on this part. Further, it also lacks the skin pigment, melanin responsible for providing protection against ultraviolet (UV) light. Thus, this is apparent that the problem of frequent rashes on the sides of the lips can occur from intense sunlight, dryness or any physical injury.

We can’t hide or ignore rashes or sores on lips which is a prominent part of our face. If you are suffering from frequent rashes on the sides of the lips then you may experience swelling, pain, redness and irritation on the lips or the skin around.

The Common Causes of Frequent Rashes on the Sides of the Lips

The Common Causes of Frequent Rashes on the Sides of the Lips


One of the commonly occurring bacterial infections around your lips is –impetigo. This is the kind of infection, which affects the almost open flesh area i.e. lips and mouth. The primary reason for this is the growth of yeast in such areas and it can be linked to pathogens. This triggers irritation and causes frequent rashes around lips. This health issue is easily diagnosed and the treatment for this is not that complicated too. Stay easy if you have just started to see them.

As we have already said, many causes are there which can trigger the problem of frequent rashes on the sides of the lips. There is no specific reason that commences the growth of it. For instance, eating bread or anything containing yeast, may not necessarily mean that the food source was the reason. Herpes simplex virus (HSV I and II) can be a cause of lip rashes.

In appearance, this infection looks like cold sores or almost like a bunch of small blisters.

Lichen planus and psoriasis are other diseases that may develop on the region around your lips, but, these are rare to be seen. Hypothyroidism is another factor that may cause dry lips. Factors causing such infections are numerous; finding the root cause is the main task.

Contact Dermatitis

It is a skin condition involving inflammation of the skin caused due contact with certain substances to which an individual is allergic to. Person may be allergic to certain substance in products like creams, lotions, or soaps which can irritate the skin and cause Rash on the sides of the Lip.

Perioral Dermatitis

This condition occurs due to chronic use of steroid creams. When products containing steroids are used excessively, it may result in development of rash around the lips.


Cheilitis is the medical condition in which lips become inflamed with rashes around the sides of the lips or anywhere on the lips. This affects the skin around the mouth and may be termed as labial infection. From severe to mild, cheilitis may be of any form. The basic factors that triggers its growth is the excessive dryness and too much of exposure to sun.

Chapped lips may be termed as a form of cheilitis. Though it may seem quite easy to read, but at times chapped lips are tougher to treat than any other health issue. Your lips may crack and skin may start to peel off. This issue is visible and common on the lower lip mostly. You feel pain while you eat or smile. If not cured on right time, your lips may start to crust and bleed as well.

Licking lips or biting them is the main reason behind this health issue. Many of us do not realize that saliva dries lips even more. The dryness is much to the extent that you may start to feel uncomfortable. Also, the weather factor dries your lips even more. So, it is better to be cautious of your own self and prevent the problem.

There are times when it is real tough to find the root cause of cheilitis. This may take a lot of research and deep investigation to find the problem. Some of the types of cheilitis are:-

  • Actinic cheilitis
  • Angular cheilitis
  • Eczematous cheilitis
  • Infectious cheilitis
  • Granulomatous cheilitis
  • Drug-related cheilitis
  • Exfoliative cheilitis
  • Cheilitis glandularis
  • Plasma cell cheilitis

There are many other forms of cheilitis. It is better prevented at the very beginning.


Many allergens are there which can cause cheilitis. Some of them are given below:

  • Fragrance – Surprised! Don’t be, because this is an allergen. Fragrance of detergents and fabric softeners does trigger the problem.
  • Propolis – Unfiltered honey is where it is commonly found; toothpastes and lotions are also its sources.
  • Beeswax- This too has propolis and can be found in mascara, hair removing wax (upper lips), and many other ointments.
  • Sunblocks – Octinoxate, Octisalate, Oxybenzone, Octocrylene, Avobenzone, etc are the chemicals that are found in sunblocks and trigger cheilitis causing rashes on the sides of the lips.
  • Artificial flavours – Artificial flavours and many food colours are not good for your lips; this is when the lips start to suffer.
  • Balsam of Peru- This is a good source of vanilla and cinnamon flavouring but is better to avoid for preventing the growth of cheilitis or rashes on the sides of the lips.
  • Carnauba Wax – This wax is used in dental floss and is best prevented if any product you use contains it.
  • Lanolin – Many products like lip balms, lipsticks and heel softeners, all have this ingredient and it triggers cheilitis.
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone – Both of the preservatives are widely used in baby wipes, personal care products and liquid cosmetics. Have you ever seen a baby having a rash around genitals, observe this next time.
  • Parabens – This is another allergen used in cosmetics and can trigger the problem of rashes on the sides of the lips.
  • Fluoride– This is commonly found in toothpastes and better to be avoided to prevent the problem.
  • Oils – Almond, castor, coconut and olive oils could be the allergens but not severe.
  • Essential Oils – Citrus essential oils could be the reason, especially lemon essential oil as it contains limonene.

Some of the Other Causes of Rash on the Sides of the Lips are:

Tips to Heal Rashes on the Sides of the Lips:

  • Stop the habit of licking your lips, this will increase the problem of rashes on the sides of the lip all the more.
  • Rinse the fruits and vegetables the best to remove the layer of wax on them.
  • Consume more of vitamin B12.
  • Consume food rich in zinc and iron, this shall boost your immunity and prevent cheilitis or the problems of frequent rashes on the sides of the lips.
  • Omega3 fatty acids also can do wonders for your lips and area around your mouth. This is not tough to be found and bought, ask your practitioner about this.
  • Seek help of a practitioner and look for an option containing bees wax, though it is an allergen but correct combination can help in the healing process.
  • Opting for custom made medication, will get you prosinbelow mentioned ways:-
    • Rescue from inflammation
    • Heal your skin
    • Balance your immunity
    • Prevent growth of allergens

Any type of treatment may make the skin peel off and start to look ugly as well. Stay calm, there is nothing to worry about it, your lips will be healed soon. It is easy to preach than practice, yet wait a little for things to settle down.

You only can do best to yourself. While suffering from rashes on the sides of the lips, try and look for the reason yourself. Once the root of the problem is known, the rest can be looked after. Healing may take time. Getting cured from the root is the most needed. Have patience and try to heal the problem and you shall be well again.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 18, 2022

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