Eczema on the lips — also known as eczematous cheilitis or lip dermatitis — causes dryness, discoloration, and scaling. A person can use a medicated or moisturizing lip balm to treat eczema symptoms.

Eczema can occur due to an allergic reaction, environmental irritation, or bacterial or fungal infection.

This article discusses lip balms and how to use them for eczema, potential side effects, other treatments, and natural remedies.

A lip balm or chapstick which can be used for lip eczema.Share on Pinterest
Tatjana Zlatkovic/Stocksy

There are different types of lip eczema. These include:

  • Allergic contact cheilitis: This type of eczema on the lips occurs due to an allergic reaction to a medication, lip product, toothpaste, or other material that has been in or near the mouth.
  • Irritant contact cheilitis: This occurs due to irritation from external factors, such as cosmetics or lip licking.
  • Angular cheilitis: This type of lip eczema occurs as a result of bacterial or fungal infection. Braces, dentures, lip licking, or anything that causes saliva to pool in the corners of the mouth can cause it. Angular cheilitis is common in people with diabetes.

Learn more about eczema on the lips.

There are various types of lip balm that a person may use for lip eczema. It can depend on the type of eczema and severity of the condition.

Medicated

A doctor or dermatologist may prescribe a medicated lip balm containing corticosteroids to treat lip eczema. People can also purchase them over the counter.

However, corticosteroids can cause a person’s skin to thin, especially in high doses and when used over a long period. Therefore, it is unlikely that a person will find high dose corticosteroids in a lip balm or any product recommended for the face.

A person should use medicated lip balm as directed by their doctor or according to the package insert. Long-term use may increase the risk of thinning skin.

Antifungal

Antifungal lip balm can help treat angular cheilitis. It may contain fungus-fighting ingredients, such as:

These lip balms may also contain natural ingredients with antibacterial and antifungal properties, such as beeswax or coconut oil. Antifungal lip balms with medical ingredients may be more effective than natural ones.

A person should apply the balm frequently to the lips, usually three times daily for 2 weeks.

Nonmedicated lip balm

Regular lip balm can help treat lip eczema by providing moisture to dry, cracked skin and preventing moisture loss.

Moisturizing ingredients may include:

However, a person should speak with a doctor before trying nonmedicated lip balms, as the source of their eczema could be a reaction to an ingredient within them.

Lip balm with corticosteroids may produce side effects. Side effects of topical steroids can include:

A person should contact a healthcare professional if they experience any side effects of corticosteroids, antifungal, or nonmedicated lip balms.

If they experience discoloration, swelling, a severe rash, or other signs of infection, a person should contact a doctor immediately.

A person may use other creams or ointments to treat lip eczema besides lip balm. Treatments may include:

A person may use a natural complementary or alternative treatment for lip eczema, although they should consult a dermatologist or doctor if the condition does not improve.

According to the National Eczema Association, natural remedies for eczema include:

Lip balm may help treat eczema on the lips. There are several types of lip eczema, including allergic contact cheilitis, irritant contact cheilitis, and angular cheilitis. The most effective lip balm will depend on the type of lip eczema and the severity of the condition.

A medicated lip balm containing corticosteroids may help alleviate lip eczema symptoms but can cause skin thinning and other side effects if a person uses it for a long period.

Antifungal lip balm can help treat angular cheilitis using either medical ingredients or natural ingredients with antifungal properties.

Regular moisturizing lip balm can help lips retain moisture and protect the skin barrier to treat symptoms such as dryness and cracking.