Babies and young children often suck their thumb or lick their lips regularly. This causes saliva to be in constant contact with the lips and surrounding skin. The saliva often irritates the skin resulting in lip eczema – a dry, irritating rash around the mouth.
The lips become dry, chapped and sore and the skin around the lips becomes inflamed and scaly. The condition resolves when the habit of thumb sucking or excessively licking the lips is broken.
It’s best to help ease any discomfort by applying a cream to the skin around the lips and on the cheeks to help relieve the itching and inflammation and a lip balm can be applied to the lips. Once cleared to help prevent recurrence a barrier cream such as Sooth It Balm can be applied.
A similar condition can develop in dry climates when the lips become dry and are repeatedly licked to moisten them. The saliva continuously on the external skin surface causes the skin to become dry and irritated. This is a problem that affects children and adults as much as babies and luckily a change of season and an increase in humidity will resolve the problem. In the mean time the condition can be treated the same as for lick eczema.
It is always good to remember that prevention is often easier than treating a condition. As soon as your lips start to feel dry or you notice a change in the humidity start using a lip balm regularly. Keeping the lips moistened with a lip balm will help to prevent cracking and the development of eczema in the first place.