Eczema is a skin condition which can appear anywhere on the body. But when it affects an exposed part, like the lips, face, arms and hands, the concern is not only how to treat it but also how to deal with the embarrassment and frustration it can cause.
What is eczema
Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions. This inflammatory reaction usually starts early in life, sometimes even during infancy. Once it starts, it becomes difficult to control and manage. This condition develops in stages. First, the skin reddens and swells, and then small bumps called papulas are formed. After that, the skin develops crusts, it thickens and scales.
There are several different types of eczema. The most common symptoms of eczema on the lips are itching, redness and inflammation.
In most cases, the factor that causes eczema on lips are dry lips. Some people have naturally dry and chapped lips and with age they get even dryer. Environmental factors, like dry air, cold or hot temperatures, indoor heating and pollution increase the dryness of the lips. Smoking, allergies to cosmetic products, licking the lips, certain medications and dehydration all contribute to dryness of the lips.
How to treat eczema on lips
The basic care for lips that suffer from eczema includes keeping them moist and hydrated and avoiding irritants. Certain foods and drinks, especially those that are acidic, cosmetic products containing sodium laurel sulfate, hand wash all count as irritants and are not recommended for people who have eczema on their lips.
There are several self-care methods and home remedies that can be helpful with eczema.
Petroleum jelly, Vaseline or all-natural lip balms should be applied three or four times a day or whenever the lips feel dry. They will keep the sensitive skin of the lips hydrated and lock the moisture in. Shea butter is another excellent ingredient that moisturizes the skin, and it can be found in drugstores in form of a lip balm.
Certain essential oils, especially lavender and chamomile, have been proven helpful against eczema on the lips.
For relieving the symptoms of eczema, like irritation, inflammation, itching and swelling, one can use non-prescription Hydrocortisone creams. Antihistamines are another option, especially for itching and swelling.
Oatmeal baths are particularly recommended for people who suffer from eczema. A paste made from ground oatmeal and some water should be applied to the lips three times a week.
Eczema with open blisters or sores is susceptible to infection. This can be prevented by taking oral antibiotics, but not without consulting a doctor.
All these methods and remedies should be tried out but if eczema does not subside in seven to ten days, it is recommended to see a dermatologist.