Itchy Lips: The Common Causes and Treatment Tips

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itchy lipsIt may start as a small twinge, possibly followed by a burning sensation, and then suddenly, your lips begin to itch. Although it is not a serious health concern, itchy lips can become swollen and painful in some cases, and cause an embarrassing sight for some. Itchy lips treatment depends largely on the cause. We will look at the underlying causes of this annoying symptom, as well as ways to treat itchy burning lips with home remedies.

Inflammation of the lips is referred to as cheilitis, and can lead to sore lips that peel and crack if left untreated. This condition is usually caused by injury to the lips from dehydration, sun exposure, medication, lack of nutrition, and quite often, an allergy to food or cosmetics.

Why Are My Lips Swollen And Itchy?

Our lips are a tactile sensory organ that assist us in the delivery of speech, and in the function of enjoying food and fluids. Read the following common itchy lips causes to determine the proper treatment.

1. Injury

We sometimes cause injury to our lips by exposure to extreme hot and cold temperatures, or to irritants that cause them to become inflamed and sore. Biting the lip due to nervousness or anxiety can cause damage to the tissue, and lead to an endless itchy sensation.

2. Allergic Reaction

Without even realizing it, you may be allergic to your favorite lip product or a specific food. This can cause itchy lips and possibly further reaction in other parts of your body, such as the nose, head, and throat. A slight tingling sensation can signal the onset of the itch when ingesting nuts, fish, eggs, mushrooms, and strawberries, to name a few. A sudden allergic reaction can even set in with a lip care product you have used over time.

3. Sun Exposure

Often with an allergic reaction to heat or the sun, some people experience itchy lips. This can also happen to those with no allergy, as the tender lips can become burned easily by the sun’s damaging rays. Without proper protection, your lips can be itchy and dry before signs of cracking appear.

4. Weather Effects

Exposure to dry or windy weather can lead to itchy lips as moisture is lifted from your skin.

5. Vitamin Deficiency

Itchy lips due to a lack of vitamin B12 in our system can lead to more serious symptoms of painful, cracked, and bleeding lips, gums, and tongue. You may be enjoying foods enriched with vitamin B12 and other essential nutrients, but you may be lacking sufficient amounts due to weak absorption.

6. Oral Cancer

The itchiness around your lips may be a symptom of an oral cancer. This sign is usually accompanied by red, sore bleeding gums.

7. Environmental Factors

The temperature is not your only environmental enemy when it comes to itchy lips. Living or working in a region of high pollution, being exposed to toxins and chemicals, or exposing lips to dust and smoke can cause irritation. Side effects from medications can cause itchiness as well.

Itchy Lips Symptoms

With the itchiness experienced around the lips, you may have other symptoms, depending on the underlying cause. Signs to watch for include:

  • Soreness around lips
  • Swollen lips
  • Small bump
  • Fever
  • Scratchy or sore throat
  • Tender tongue
  • Bleeding gums

Itchy Lips Treatment Tips

So, if you sometimes ask yourself, “My lips are dry and itchy around the edges. What can I do?” There are a few things you can do at the first sign of an itchy lip to prevent further damage to this sensitive region.

1. Hydrate

Your lips need moisture to prevent infection from the presence of sores and cracking. Drink plenty of water to ward off dryness that can occur from various afflictions and diseases.

2. Change Lip Products

If you are experiencing dry itchy lips, stop using your usual lipstick or balm. The harsh chemicals in some products can cause dryness or an allergic reaction. Treat lips with natural-based products such as olive or jojoba oil, or apply coco butter for moisture treatment. If your favorite lipstick does not contain fragrances or dyes, wipe the surface of the application before next use as it may have become contaminated with an irritant.

3. Replenish Nutrients

You may be having a reaction due to a lack of essential vitamins and minerals with your itchy lips symptoms. Eat foods enriched with vitamin B12 and folic acid, including dairy products, fish, vegetables, poultry, eggs, and fruits. Be sure you know of any allergy triggers before consuming these nutrients as they may irritate the condition.

4. Use Sunscreen

You wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without protecting your skin from harmful sun rays, and the same should be said of your lips. Dry itchy lips can lead to sores and blisters if left unprotected.

5. Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco

The properties of alcohol can draw moisture away from your skin cells, a major cause of itchy lips. It can also prevent proper absorption of vitamins. Itchy lips can be an effect of smoking tobacco and can lead to oral cancers.

6. Maintain Clean Lips

After exposure to various environmental factors such as dust and dirt, it is recommended to thoroughly wipe lips with a clean towel or cloth.

Itchy Lips Home Remedies

When we feel the first throbbing pulse in the lips, our first reaction is to lick or bite the spot. There are better ways to deal with this condition with an itchy lips remedy that can be done with home products.

1. Aloe Vera

Moisture dry lips and alleviate the itchiness with the healing properties of the natural aloe vera plant. Apply the gel to your entire lip surface two to three times a day to stop the itch.

2. Honey

Treat the itch and moisturize dry lips with a combination of honey and almond oil. Blend one tablespoon of honey with three drops of almond oil for an overnight application solution.

3. Essential Oils

The natural healing components of grapeseed, avocado, and olive oil can treat dryness and relieve any itchy conditions of lips. Applying any one of the oils to the lips can also rehydrate them and seal in moisture.

Itchy lips can signal the onset of a reaction to some type of irritant, or can be a symptom of an underlying health condition such as a nutrient deficiency or oral cancer. By recognizing triggers of itchiness and dryness, you can take steps to prevent further complications. Treat your lips as you do other skin surfaces of the body by maintaining moisture and protecting against damaging irritants such as harmful sun rays.


White Bumps on Lips: Causes and Natural Treatments

Tingling Lips: 5 Causes and Natural Home Remedies

Lip Infection: Causes, Symptoms, and Home Remedies

Sembrano, M., “Itchy Burning Lips: Home Remedies to Reduce Red Burning Itchy Lips,” Consumer Health Digest;, last accessed March 14, 2017.
“Home Remedies For Itchy Skin and Lips: Causes of Dry itchy Lips”, Simple Remedies, March 16, 2011;, last accessed March 14, 2017.