How I Healed the Rash Around My Mouth

[ 369 ] August 6, 2010

This rash itched, tingled, burned and was embarrassing. (And it seemed to last forever!)

In a recent post I talked about how I had a rash around my mouth for 4+ months this spring/early summer.  I discovered the cause of the rash was an allergic contact dermatitis – a reaction to the propolis in some beeswax as well as to jojoba oil.  Yes, I am allergic to jojoba oil, too.  Lucky me ( I love that stuff!).  Anyway, since that post, I have received several requests for what I did to heal that dang rash.  While I certainly cannot advise anyone on their specific rash without a full examination and health history, I see no problem sharing with you what I did to help myself.  Here’s what worked for me and what I would do if I got this same rash again:

  1. Stop using everything that may have beeswax, propolis and/or jojoba oil in it.  Check your lip balm, lotion, sunscreen, soap, facial cleansers, toothpaste; ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that touches your face.  You might be stunned to find out how many products contain these ingredients.  [Sometimes ingredients are listed by their scientific names.  Beeswax may be referred to as Cera Alba, though in some of my Chinese Medicine text books it is called Cera Aurea (or Huang La in Pinyin); honey is also called Mel (or Feng Mi in Pinyin); and the scientific name for the jojoba plant is Simmondsia chinensis.]
  2. Apply over-the-counter topical cortisone cream or ointment.**  I choose Aveeno 1% cortisone cream (it had fewer unnecessary ingredients and absorbed well) but an ointment (petroleum-based) might feel more moisturizing and might be a better choice. (Apply only to affected skin – if your lips themselves are okay, don’t put this on your lips.  It is very drying).  Cortisone cream will reduce inflammation and redness but won’t do much more to heal the skin.  Follow the directions on the label – don’t overuse the cortisone cream (this can create other problems). [**UPDATE 08/22/12: I now advise against applying cortisone to the face, esp. around the mouth. I have seen too many cases of perioral dermaititis and rosacea lately and these types of conditions can be initially triggered or severely worsened by the use of cortisone creams/ointments on the face.]
  3. Apply a pure carrier oil (like olive oil, sunflower oil, or safflower oil) to your lips and surrounding skin once the cortisone cream is absorbed (or alternate application of the cortisone with the oil).  Good ol’ petroleum jelly is helpful to apply at night to prevent drying, especially if you breathe with your mouth open.  I am not a big fan of petroleum jelly, but this is just short-term use until the rash resolves and the skin heals.
  4. I took 2 Benadryl each night for a week.  I figured it might help with the allergic reaction but I am not sure how much it really helped.  Also, it makes me soooo sleepy.  I can’t take it during the day if I want to function normally.
  5. Use a very gentle facial cleanser and do not over cleanse.  I use Zi Zai’s Herb & Flower Cleansing Powder but I also like Neutrogena liquid facial cleanser (the amber-colored stuff, fragrance-free).  Avoid cleansers with alcohol in them – too drying.
  6. Stay out of the sun.
  7. Avoid alcohol and spicy foods.  Also avoid really hot (temperature) foods and drinks.
  8. Take smaller bites when you eat.  Try not to overstretch your lips/mouth.
  9. Don’t lick your lips – ever, if you can help it.
  10. The rash will dry and peel/flake as it begins to resolve.  Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT peel off the flakes.  This will prolong the healing process.  So frustrating, I know, but DON’T PEEL THE FLAKES OFF.  Resist.
  11. Drink plenty of water.
  12. Take a vitamin B complex supplement.  Make sure it has Vit B2 (riboflavin), niacin, Vit B6, and Vit B12.  An iron supplement may also help but do not take iron unless blood tests show you are deficient in it (I am iron deficient). Be cautious with Vit B6 and Vit B12 if you have acne (they may cause it to worsen).

My rash was gone within a week but my lips and the skin around them continue to remain very sensitive.  So I avoid the sun, alcohol, hot & spicy foods, and I try to never lick my lips.  My lips get dry and red quickly if I don’t drink enough water every day.  But so far, the rash has not returned (yay!).  [As of 2011, I now use only the Zi Zai BeeswaxFree Lip Balm - my lips love it and I only need to apply it once in the morning and once before bed].

Keep in mind that many substances can trigger an allergic reaction.  Aloe vera juice/gel and nut-based oils are others to look out for.  Some people even develop rashes around the mouth in reaction to the fluoride in toothpaste or contact with mango rinds when eating mangoes.  Stay aware of the ingredients in all of your skin care and oral hygiene products.

If you have a similar rash around your mouth or lips, please let us all know what seems to make it better (or what makes it worse) by commenting below.  Readers have been sharing their experiences and that information is so helpful, so please check out all the comments below and the comments from the previous post about beeswax allergy.

UPDATE 08/16/11

  • My rash has never returned – yipee!!  The skin around my lips started to get itchy at one point earlier this year, and I discovered that I accidentally bought toothpaste with propolis in it (hasty grocery shopping that day – I grabbed the wrong box).  As soon as I discontinued the use of that toothpaste, the itching stopped and everything was fine within 24 hours.
  • I previously had recommended applying pure Vitamin E oil to the lips to help heal the rash.  I do NOT recommend this anymore.  According to one manufacturer of high quality Vitamin E oil: “Vitamin E Oil is a concentrated product and is mildly caustic to the skin in its undiluted form. Proper dilution of at least 50% within another carrier is required if you are going to apply it directly to the skin.”
  • Zi Zai’s Beeswax-Free lip balm is available for sale from our online store.
  • I rarely ever get chapped lips anymore and I no longer have to apply lip balm on a daily basis.  This is the first time in my life – I previously was addicted to lip balm.  I think a big part of the improvement has come from being very aware of when I lick my lips and doing a better job of not licking them at all.
  • To learn more about another type of rash around the mouth and near the nose, read That Rash Around Your Mouth Might Be Perioral Dermatitis.

Tags: allergic reaction, beeswax allergy, cheilitis, contact dermatitis, exfoliative cheilitis, lip rash, mouth rash, peeling lips, perioral dermatitis, propolis allergy, rash around lips, rash around mouth, redness around mouth, skin rash, toothpaste allergy

Categories: Allergies, Facial Care, General Health, Rashes, Skin Care

About the Author ()

Diana Hermann is a licensed acupuncturist and board certified in Chinese Herbal Medicine. She received her Master Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in Portland, OR and trained in China at the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She is the owner of Zi Zai Dermatology (hand crafted herbal skin care products) and maintains a private practice (Acupuncture of the Rockies) in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Comments (369)

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  1. Update: The skin around my mouth stayed rather sensitive for several weeks after the rash resolved. I received a few acupuncture treatments to clear the last of the Heat (inflammation) in the skin and now my lips and surrounding skin seem perfectly healthy – good as new! I try not to put anything on them unless I absolutely have to (like when I breath through my mouth at night I put just a little Vaseline on them to keep them from drying out). I still intend to make lip balm that doesn’t contain beeswax or jojoba oil, but I have been so busy I haven’t gotten to it just yet. But it’s coming…

    • The lip balm is formulated. We are making the labels for it now. It will be available for sale (for a limited time only so far) in late November (2010) from http://www.ZiZaiDermatology.com

      • sprout65 says:

        Is this lip balm also good for a rash around the mouth? My lips themselves are not dry..
        I am looking for something to keep the skin moist when it is in the dry and flaking stage..

      • Cameron says:

        I found this when trying to research to find out why I have this rash around my mouth. I don’t know what causes it, but I am thinking it could be the toothpaste I am using. Further investigation is underway. My lips were in really bad shape a few days ago because I was using everything and anything I thought may help. I had kind of a reaction to all the chemicals I was using (one was Vick’s vapor rub-not good!). My lips are better since I have started using ONLY petroleum jelly, however, the rash around my mouth is not good. I am sooo tired of my lips and area around them being itchy and red and peeling! The skin under my bottom lip I very sensitive as well.
        Thanks for posting this. I am going to avoid propolis and we will see how that goes. I am avoiding the spicy foods until they heal as well. I am not much of a drinker, so avoiding alcohol is easy.

    • Nicole says:

      I went through the same thing, but its been a year now! I am thinking I am allergic to my dog. I did follow everything you mentioned. I hope it works! Do you have any other suggestions? What do you mean acupuncture treatments?

      • Acupuncture can be quite helpful to reduce inflammation in the body. Needles will likely be placed in your arms, hands, legs and feet. If the irritation isn’t too severe next to your mouth, points on either side of your mouth may be needled, but this is not necessary for the treatment to be effective (other body points should be effective without the need to needle at the site of the rash).

    • Susan O'Brien says:

      Thought I’d google beeswax allergy and saw your pictures. My lips are also somewhat swollen in the mornings. Did you have that symptom? My lips were originally dry from a medication and I started using more lip balm than usual. Thank you for posting this info.

      • My lips were swollen when the rash was at its worst. Looked all plump like Angelina Jolie’s. That part was kinds cool. I’m kidding…it was nice to have plump lips but not painful, itchy, raw ones!

  2. Darus says:

    Hi Zizai,

    Thank you for the post.

    I have had this agravating lip rash for over two months and was glad to find your post and to see some success.

    I excitedly printed your guidelines and have followed your program perfectly for the last week and a half, but have had absolutely zero luck.

    What happens if you continue using the Aveeno 1% for too long?
    How long is too long? :)

    Thanks again.

    • Unfortunately I cannot give out specific medical advice here (sorry!). But if it isn’t helping at all after 2 weeks of daily use, we are missing something (probably missing the underlying cause of the rash). Try doing an internet search on “cheilitis” and see if any info there seems helpful to you. This rash may be something other than contact dermatitis. Stay in touch – would love to know what you figure out!

    • Christina says:

      i hope this helps someone.. I had testing done and i am allergic to propylene glycol.. it is in everything.. I have to say, i had not been very dilligent in checking all my ingredients. it got so bad that it started to spread down my chin. originally when it started, it was under my bottom lip, it went away for a bit, came back and not has not gone away for months. check your toothpaste..facial cleanser, and soaps. AND foods. for toothpaste i use colgate paste Original? I was reccomended to use toms of maine silly strawberry but could not find it.. I will order it though. the only issue I am having is finding a shampoo and conditoner that I dont have to order on line. I currently use pantene, it has some form of propyl though so I need to order something on-line.

  3. Trish says:

    Hi there,

    I came across this post rather randomly, but the photos of your rash–mine exactly! I have experienced this rash cycle from time to time but could never figure out what caused it. Recently I have experienced my fourth outbreak in less than two months, and as you know the healing cycle can take ages, so it feels like I have had this puffy, sensitive red mouth for ages.

    It’s strange though, I have used Burt’s Bees (the honey one because the peppermint oil in the regular used to irritate me) for ages and I don’t react everytime I use it. How can I explain this? Did you find that one day you reacted and your body just said, no more?

    I’m looking forward to the chap-stick you come up with. Thanks for sharing, now I know I am not alone!

    Cheers,

    T.

    • Boy, these kinds of rashes can be SO frustrating, eh? Yes, I did find that once in a while I would not react to the lip balm which is why it took me so long to figure out it was the culprit. [And just for the record, I like Burt's Bees products - good quality stuff]. But certain substances create an immune reaction over repeated exposure to it. This is called sensitizing. And it sounds like you have become sensitized to one of the ingredients in your lip balm (or something else you are applying to your skin). It takes time to develop the sensitivity, and I think there are other factors that make the reaction worse sometimes (exposure to sunlight, additional inflammation from other immune responses going on at the same time, use of more than one product at a time that has the ingredient in it).

      I just made the beeswax-free lip balm yesterday. I am currently testing it on myself (no reaction so far – yay!) and I will have it for sale as soon as I am sure it does what I formulated it to do. Check back on Facebook for notice of its release. And good luck to you!

  4. Jennifer says:

    I get severe lip rash EVERY single month and it is getting worse and worse. I have visited specialists, allergists, primary care (several) Doctors with no luck what so ever. I am a college student, and yes, I drink a lot, and I loooovvveee spicy food. After reading your article i noticed that you had those as a no no;m should I avoid them altogether? (that’s very hard with my lifestyle). I don’t know what to do and the lip rashes are extremely painful, irritating and embarassing. If you email me back I will send you a picture of the rash at its worst stage…Please write me back! I need help!!

    • Email me at herbalist@zizaidermatology.com and we will continue this conversation there :)

    • Nina says:

      Hi there, for the past 5-7 years, I have suffered a very similar lip rash. After a while i saw a pattern emerge where my lips would become swollen, flake and recede in a matter of 5 days. It would happen almost every month, sometimes more than once in a month, and I noticed nearly always at my ovulation phase of my cycle. Nothing would help it only to wait it out and hope it wouldnt return, but it always would! I am convinced it is linked to my hormones, but not sure which ones and how to treat it from the inside. It stings and affects my eating and drinking and naturally i just want to keep licking my lips. I am training myself to avoid this!!
      Anyone out there noticed the same triggers?
      Thanks.

  5. Julie says:

    Ack yes I have contact dermatitis around my mouth. It use to flare up once every one or two years. Now I just get it all cleared up with a similar method as yourself and then voila it returns. I can’t put my finger on what is causing it. I have sensitive skin as it is, hardly wear make up. The only thing I had different yesterday was a beer and i made chili. But i have a drink fairly regulary and I have spicy food reg too! Rrrr anyhow just venting at 4 am while this flares up and I let the cortisone work all over again. As you say don’t pick the flakes…exactly! but man it sure looks not so inviting when you are a health care worker! Ce la vie. K thanks for the early am vent…. : D

  6. Julie says:

    I just posted but I was going to say i just use olive oil over the coritsone and had started with petrolleum jelly as well but prefer the olive oil. I’ll have to go to vit E though as that makes more sense in my mind. The other thing i do is I don’t use a cleanser as it irritates my skin so just in the shower I allow the dry flaky area to moisten and then I gentle wipe away the surround area to free it of some of the flakeness. but like you said you can’t be too agressive or your back to square one. Anyhow I wish I was just at your stage of knowing the culprit…its frustrating as I’ve been trying to figure it out for the past year with no luck. I may have to start getting more strategic. The bizzare thing is it also has move to bothering the corner upper lids of my eyes as well and the eye lids can get quite puffy. hmmmm more investigating for the future!

    • Yes, perioral contact dermatitis often also affects the delicate skin around the eyes. Do you get tiny little itchy bumps there? Be careful with the use of Vit E oil – it is often in a soybean oil base which a lot of people are reactive to. If you are NOT allergic to propolis, honey makes a good alternative to harsh cleansers. Will you please write back when you figure out what you are still reacting to? I would love this blog to be a good resource for all of us who are frustrated with these types of rashes.

  7. Sanju says:

    Mine keeps coming back D: Hmm… so no facial cleansers? o_o;;

    I got a new lipbalm (thank you so much for the info about beeswax). It doesn’t have jojoba oil in it either. it’s from Lush, they have a lot of vegan products. The one I use is this: http://www.lush.com/shop/products/face/lip-balms-and-scrubs/maple-taffy the moisture lasts long. They have another one called “None of Your Beeswax”, and a holiday special called Snow Fairy which gives a pinkish tint to the lips: http://www.lush.com/shop/products/face/lip-balms-and-scrubs/snow-fairy-lip-tint I love Lush.

  8. Juliette says:

    Thank you so much for this information. About six weeks ago I started having small rashes above my upper lip. They itched and tingled. They would go away for a few days, only to come back worse. After waking up this morning with lips that looked like Marie Osmonds’ I decided to start searching for answers. I use a beeswax lip balm that I buy at the local farmers market. Seems like this might be the culprit after reading your blog. I have used it for years, and use it often since I live in the desert, and my lips are fine, but the skin above them is a wasteland. Looks just like the picture you posted. Thanks for the help!

  9. Stacey says:

    Last year I noticed a rash on my face mainly around my smile lines. I went to the dermatologist and he prescribed Mometasone Furoate Cream. When I use the cream the rash goes away after a couple of days. Once I stop the rash immediately comes back. I only use hypoallergenic products (soaps and washing powder). I realized that i’d switched to Burt’s bees wax lip balm last year. I stopped using it for a couple of days and tried using other chapsticks but they began to irritate my lips and skin. So I go right back to the bees wax thinking it must not be that or it would have cleared up in a few days. The rash does not affect my lip area just the area where my smile lines are. I have very sensitive facial skin (always have). Is it possible that the bees wax is causing the reaction? Your article states the process takes a couple of weeks in order to see real results. I have tried other chapsticks that have actually broken out my lips but there was no affect on my face. However, I believe beeswax is the culprit?

    • Most lip balms have beeswax in them (not just Burt’s Bees). I rarely got a reaction ON my lips, mostly it occurred AROUND them. Along the smile lines sounds more like perioral dermatitis but this is basically an allergic reaction so could easily be due to the beeswax (reminder: it is propolis, not the wax, that most people react to. Some products with beeswax in them use filtered or bleached wax which has all propolis removed, so that could explain why not all lip balm cause the reaction). What else do you use on your face?

      • Stacey says:

        I only use water and the cream I received from the Dermatologist. I tried Aveeno for sensivite skin then Purpose soap (recommended by the doctor). Both seemed to inflame the area so I discontinued using them. The only thing that comes in contact with my face would be lip balm. Which again is the only thing I continue to use.

  10. Anita says:

    I’m so glad to find I am not going crazy! After going to the dermatologist a few years ago with this exact same rash. The doctor just told me my lips were just chapped and to use chapstick or vaseline and not to lick my lips. Very annoying. It’s been coming back on & off for about 3 years now, but this latest bout has lasted about 4 or 5 weeks, and is driving me crazy! I finally figured out it must be an allergic reaction to something I’m using, and the only thing I’ve been using on it is beeswax or aquaphor (which has petrolatum and lanolin). So I quit using both of those, and anything with any of those ingredients in it, and it’s slowly improving. At least it doesn’t burn and itch anymore! Of course now I don’t know if it was the beeswax or the lanolin, but I found a Nivea lip balm that has no lanolin or petrolatum and only a small amount of beeswax, and it doesn’t seem to bother me so far. I figure I’ll just avoid it all to prevent this from coming back!

    • Lanolin is a very common allergen. And even a small amount of beeswax (if unfiltered and containing trace amounts of propolis) can cause a skin reaction if you are allergic to it. I hate to suggest this, but I would stick with just Vaseline/petroleum jelly. If you buy it in lip balm form, find one that doesn’t have any fragrance added to it. I am opposed to using petroleum-based products in general, but in this particular instance, I suggest petroleum jelly because it is one of the few substances that doesn’t usually cause a skin reaction in people with sensitive lips. Keep us updated on what you find out for yourself. Good luck.

      • Anita says:

        Thanks! I tried Vaseline Lip Therapy. What I had had fragrance in it, but I decided to try it anyway. The Rash flared up almost immediately. Burning, itching, etc. So I just decided to try not putting anything on them for the rest of the day, which was really hard, since they were so dry and peeling and uncomfortable. That night I just used plain Vaseline, and it didn’t bother me as much, and it really helped relieve the tight dry feeling my lips have in the mornings. I think I’m having a reaction to multiple things, and just can’t pinpoint other than to keep trying things that don’t irritate my lips. So far it seems to be beeswax, lanolin and some fragrances that bother me. I’ve been thinking all along that the petrolatum was a problem as well, but using the plain Vaseline seems to be ok (however, if I use it repeatedly throughout the day, I start to feel the telltale burning/itching on my lips again). Right now, I think they are almost healed, and I have a couple of things I seem to be able to use, but I really would like to try something with no beeswax or petrolatum, which so far I haven’t been able to find in stores locally (it’s always one or the other!).

    • Olivia says:

      What nivea lip balm did you use?
      I am using Nivea Hydro care but i’m not sure how much beeswax are inside it. My mouth rash has been around my mouth for about 3 weeks now and it’s not getting any better. I have put my brother’s eczema cream as a moisteriser for my lips. Is this a good idea?

      • I never used a lip balm by Nivea…perhaps one of our readers has? I cannot comment on whether or not the eczema cream is a good idea because I do not know what is in it…sorry!

      • Navy Mom says:

        Been back to the Dermo for my annual skin check and she is insistent that I lick my lips! My husband and friends say I don’t. While the rash is faint now after 3 months of using hydrocortisone, it’s still there and that’s frustrating! I am not wearing makeup and only use Aquafor for my lips. Anyone else doing anything new/different?

        • I’m not saying I agree with your dermo, but is it possible you lick your lips in your sleep?

          • Navy Mom says:

            Zi Zai,…..Wow!!! Licking my lips while I sleep? You’ve got me thinking. I suppose it’s a possibility. At this point, I am trying to use products that won’t irritate the rash further and be aware. Living in the Northeast we are now into the Spring season, so I’m watching to see if there is a change. Just a side note to say thanks for all the information that’s been posted. Appreciate the feedback.

          • It is so challenging to figure out these types of rashes – it obviously isn’t always propolis. So if you do figure out what is going on in your situation, please let us know! Good luck to you!!

      • Taeya says:

        I am 15 I have eczema and I use cream prescribed by the doctor with steroids in it and I do not recommend putting it on the sensitive area. I also have the rash thing around my mouth. I’ve had it for 3 years and every time I put that cream on it my lips got giant, red, and super itchy. It burns. Don’t do it

  11. Our new vegan (beeswax-free) lip balm is now available for purchase at http://www.zizaidermatology.com/Beeswax-Free-Lip-Balm.html

    Limited quantity, so get yours today!

  12. Jessica says:

    Hi,

    I have a similar condition except mine only flares up during the Spring & Summer time. It only flares up when I’m in the sun all day or if I’m near or at the beach. Any idea what it could be? I did switch from different chapsticks and still get the flare ups. I did stick with Burts Bees for awhile but recently switched to EOS lipbalm. Since it is the winter time, I’m not too sure if this lipbalm will cause an allergic reaction for me. I’m not too sure if this is chapstick related or something else. If you have any ideas, that would be great. I love being out in the sun and I would like to know what this problem is and how I can prevent it.

    Thanks!

    • That’s a tough one. There are a few disorders where a person gets a skin reaction after exposure to sun. This comment section is not the most appropriate place for me to discuss these conditions in full, but you can do your own research. Check out the following conditions that all involve exposure to sunlight: Phototoxicity (includes phytophotodermatitis), Photoallergy, and Polymorphic light eruption. Good luck!

  13. Sharon says:

    Hi, I would like to know why must one with beeswax allergic to avoid jojoba oil as well?

    • Jojoba oil is a substance that many people seem to react to but often overlook as a possible allergen. If you react to propolis, you might not have a problem with jojoba oil, but it is worth checking for yourself. I happen to be allergic to both (*sigh*). Within minutes of putting it on my skin, my skin (esp. scalp) gets red and itchy.

      • Sharon says:

        Thanks for your reply. Is it possible that one who initially has no allergic reaction to propolis later become allergic to it? I think I belong to this group..

        • Yes, that’s how it works: the more often you are exposed to a substance, the more your body reacts to it. You have to be exposed to a substance to develop this type of allergic response. It is called a Type IV Contact Dermatitis Reaction. There are a several documented cases of Type I IgE–Mediated Reactions (anaphylactic hypersensitivity) to propolis but the Type IV hypersensitivity is much more common.

  14. Why aren’t you a fan of petro jelly? I am finding this weekend it is the only thing that is helping my dry, cracky lips and keeping them moisturized. I’m not trying cortisone since I’m not sure exactly what’s going on.

    • Actually, petroleum jelly (petrolatum) was what I had to use until I was able to isolate what my skin was reacting to. I am just not a huge fan of petroleum jelly because it a product of the oil industry and I do not agree with the impact that industry has on our ecology. For use on the lips I think it is okay, but it blocks pores and so I would not use it elsewhere on my face or body. According to some sources, it is not considered critically unsafe, but it has been banned in the EU due to side-effects from impurities in the manufacturing process: “Petrolatum is listed as a probable human carcinogen in the European Union’s Dangerous Substances Directive (UNECE 2004), and its use in cosmetics will be banned by September 2004 with the following caveat: ‘The classification as a carcinogen need not apply if the full refining history is known and it can be shown that the substance from which it is produced is not a carcinogen.’”

  15. Rj says:

    I’m faced with the same issue. Ive got an appointment with a dermatologist in two weeks. I’m finding that I might have a petroleum allergy.

  16. sprout65 says:

    This is so odd to hear of others who have had the same rash that I have had, your photo looks exactly like mine too! I have never had sensitive skin until about 3 months ago when this rash appeared.
    Whenever I have chapped lips I go for the most natural and organic lip balms, and have avoided visits to the dermatologist, since they don’t seem to try to help to figure out the root of the problem. So, I do my own research and usually I end up figuring it out on my own.
    This time, however I am stumped! It is so frustrating. After trying everything from homeopathic remedies to a pharmaceutical creme my friend had gotten from her dermatologist, I feel I am back to square one.
    As someone else mentioned, the only thing that even temporarily worked was this creme called Mometasone Furoate, but after I quit using it the rash came back.
    After reading this blog I decided most of the things I have tried contained jojoba oil and beeswax, including this stuff by Mychelle for Eczema that everyone swears by.
    When the rash is flared up, if you look closely, it looks like hives, which tells me I must be allergic to something but I cannot seem to figure out what.
    It’s not fair that I live a healthy lifestyle and I’m walking around with this ugly rash.
    Reading this at least helps me to feel like I am not alone, and I am interested in your vegan lip balm as well.
    Thank you for sharing about your experience, it has been most helpful!

    • I am glad our sharing is able to help others! Sorry you are dealing with this. Would you like a suggestion? I would suggest putting NOTHING on your face or lips for one week. Maybe petroleum jelly on your lips if you absolutely must, but avoid even that if you can. Do you live in a dry climate? If so, run a vaporizor in your bedroom at night so your skin and lips do not dry out so much. Wash only with lukewarm water (not hot – it will irritate and dry the skin). If your rash clears up, then you know it is something your skin is coming into contact with – something you have recently developed an allergy to (you may not have reacted to the ingredient in the past). Let us know how it goes!

  17. sprout65 says:

    I would like to try that, but without some kind of moisture, the dry area is tight and hurts more. Can you suggest just something light to calm the inflammation? You know how if skin is really dry, it can crack? I just feel I need something..

    • I know it will be really uncomfortable for the first couple of days if you go without anything but try to build up to using nothing if you can. If you truly can’t handle that (and I KNOW how irritating it can feel), I would suggest just a little olive oil applied to clean, slightly damp skin. So GENTLY wash your face (just use water if possible) and then lightly dab it with a clean towel to get the majority of the water off, but leave a few drops then apply a small amount of olive oil. Oil will not add moisture to your skin – it will hold the moisture in.

      • Thank you for your advice.
        I am going to try to go without using anything except the olive oil if I need to.
        (The hardest part is if I laugh out loud or yawn)..
        I will let you know how it goes!

  18. Emilie, UK. says:

    Hi,

    Really interesting stuff. I’m relieved to have found someone suffering with a similar problem to me. However, I have identified the problem as being petroleum. So a warning to those currently using vaseline – it may be fine for a few days, but I found using it beyond this causes the rash to flare. It seems as though you need to go on a bit of a detox in terms of products in order to identify the culprit.

    • Thanks for your comment. I have been hearing similar comments lately – that others also think they may be reacting to petroleum jelly. Petrolatum or petroleum jelly was banned for use in cosmetics in the EU in 2004 because of possible carcinogenic effects. But this was based mostly on the impurities that come along with the production of petroleum jelly. So is it the petroleum jelly or other impurities that causes skin reactions? I am unsure. But other people have claimed they are allergic to petroleum jelly. I think if you can avoid using the same product (or individual ingredient) everyday on your sensitive face/lips, that would help reduce the risk of developing a Type IV hypersensitivity allergic response. In other words, rotate the products you apply to your skin to avoid developing a sensitivity to any one of them.

  19. Just an update, I am going into the second week with a “naked” face. The inflammation has gone down considerably, but I can feel a slight burning every once in awhile, especially when I feel stressed.
    I am also quite surprised that no one even seems to notice that I have not been wearing makeup.
    It was difficult the first few days, but now I feel my skin is looking healthier than when I was trying all of the oils and creme to help improve it.
    I am also looking into other possibilities, such as food intolerance and/or allergies or peri-menopause symptoms that may be making me more sensitive to begin with.
    Any input on that?
    Thank you for your blog..

    • Oh hormonal fluctuations can easily affect skin. Food intolerances are common culprits, too. One of my patients recommended a book called Hidden Food Allergies by James Braley, M.D. There are lots of books by that same title, but she said she recommends that author. I have not read it yet. Another suggestion is to do things that decrease inflammation throughout your entire body. Check out this article that talks about diet to reduce inflammation: http://www.womentowomen.com/inflammation/naturalantiinflammatories.aspx

    • Nina says:

      For some reason, i am becoming increasingly convinced my lip rash and other new and weird skin eruptions are peri-menopausal related. The only time my skin has improved was when i cleansed with nothing but lukewarm water and a little Palmer’s cocoa butter skin therapy oil for hydration. Though my lip rash continues to resurface every time I ovulate.
      Hormone imbalances are the bane of my life (big sigh!)

  20. Maggie says:

    This is so interesting and has given me hope. I have been struggling with this same rash off and on for about 4 years. It initially presented only around my mouth, mainly in the corners. It soon spread all around my mouth and a little on my eyelids. I have been to the dermatologist and was diagnosed with contact dermatitis, probably from makeup or cleansers. But, none of the Rx have really helped. They help a little, but nothing has gotten rid of it completely. The only thing that has seemed to help in the past is not putting anything but cleanser (Cetaphil) and moisturizer ( Clinique). Aquaphor on the lips. But this last bout seems more stubborn.

    I am not sure what I am reacting to now, since I have used these products in the past, even after the initial break out without incidence. I am wondering if the initial break out was a reation to one thing and now I am reacting to something new.

    It is very frustrating. I would like to put nothing on my face for a week, but I have extremely dry skin and after cleansing, if I don’t moisturize, it is almost painful it is so tight. Any advice would be so appreciated. Thank you so much for this blog.

    • It turned out that I was allergic to propolis, but I still use a Honey & Herb Scrub as the only cleanser on my face – because I rinse it off quickly, I have had no reaction to it. But it has been the ONLY cleanser I have ever used that doesn’t leave my face dry, flaky and tight. Most days I don’t have to moisturize much at all because the honey is so moisturizing. Honey also has antibacterial properties – it makes a fabulous facial cleanser. My suggestion would be to stop using your regular facial cleanser and try only honey in its place (at least for a week or two). I really prefer unfiltered honey, but if you are still trying to figure out what substance you are reacting to, it would be best to use filtered honey if you can find it (it is less likely to have any propolis mixed into it). I would also recommend using a toner after washing that you can make at home: get a small clean jar or plastic bottle and put 50% distilled water and 50% apple cider vinegar in it. If your face is still really reactive/sensitive, you may want to dilute it to 2/3 water and 1/3 apple cider vinegar. The ACV is acidic, and you want this because you want to maintain the low pH of the acid mantle (surface of your skin) as it protects against bacterial infection. Please let us know how it goes and what you discover about what is causing your rash.

      • Nina says:

        Yes, the Apple Cider Vinegar cleanser is very good, but take care of it around the cracked lips as it stings! (ouch). I think washing with just Lukewarm water is a good thing too. Thanks

  21. I would like to share that I am still going pretty much makeup free. I also have been using witch hazel by itself with no moisturizer afterwards. It was very hard at first, but I think you have cured my addiction to cremes and unnecessary skin care.
    To those who are trying to stop with the moisturizers, it will be hard at first, but if you can get through the first few days, it gets way easier!
    The witch hazel balances the PH and calms irritation believe it or not…

    • Just be sure the alcohol content in your with hazel is as low as possible so it doesn’t end up being too drying for you. Witch hazel is actually a tincture made from the herb and alcohol.

  22. Maggie says:

    My face is adjusting to the no moisturizer. I haven’t tried the honey cleanser yet, but I plan to. I have gone one week with nothing on my face. I have used the Aveeno 1%, vit. E and petrolium jelly. After three days of this I saw a great improvement, moreso than I ever have with Rx treatments. Then Sat. night it started to return. I realized the Vit. E is compounded with soybean, and the petroleum jelly had aloe in it, so I quit using both of these, but continued with the Aveeno. Sunday it was worse and this morning it is as bad as it was a week ago, if not worse. It also has started on my eyelids again. This is so frustrating. The only thing I can see that could have sparked a recurrance is getting overheated on Saturday. Lots of yard work and painting a bathroom. This rash always gets worse when I get hot, I have to keep a fan on my face while walking in the AC on my treadmill.

    I am going to continue with the Aveeno, nothing on my face and I got some pure pet. jelly to soothe. I think I might also start taking an anahistamine at night. The fact that it began on my eyes as well when nothing had come in contact with my eyes makes me really wonder what is causing this.

    Thanks for all your help in this.

    • Darn. Since you are not my patient and I cannot examine you, it is very difficult to suggest what might be going on. But for me, I get a rash (just below my lower eyelids) whenever I come into contact with weeds while I am in the sun.

      Vit E oil is often manufactured from soybean oil – many people have reactions to it. Also, lots of people react to aloe, too, so it is good that you stopped it temporarily. I don’t know where you live, but you may want to consider seeing a practitioner of Chinese Medicine for internal herbs to Clear Heat (and Resolve Toxins).

    • Nina says:

      The sensitive lips and eyes are something that contributes to my theory that all this is hormone related and possibly peri-menopausal. My eyes sting and water like crazy on and off, most days, lasting about 20 minutes at a time. Optician said it was ‘dry eye’ (paradox, i know!) blockage of the tear ducts and occurs predominantly in women and is caused by a hormone, though he didn’t know which hormone! Alas, more women-woes!

      • Where do you live? I would love to refer you to a TCM practitioner. Sounds like you have what we call Kidney Yin Deficiency with some Disharmony of Ren and Chong Mai. TCM can really be helpful for these hormone imbalances. Let me know where you live and I can help you find a good practitioner nearby.

      • Nina says:

        Hi and thank you so much for the recommendation. I live in North Wales. I consulted a TCM and had acupuncture for an ear problem several years ago. It really helped. This kidney yin deficiency, is it a sign of kidney failure or something I need to see a Doctor about?

        • Yin is an energetic “substance” (really it is a form of Qi/energy) that acts as the moistening and cooling factor in our bodies. Kidney Yin declines as we age and that decline can lead to dry epithelial tissue (skin, mouth, eyes, vaginal lining). Kidney Yin Deficiency is an energetic deficiency…it does not indicate kidney organ failure. I would highly recommend seeing your previous TCM practitioner. They can get you on some internal herbs that should really help.

  23. I must update that after discontinuing the natural skin care and makeup I had been using, my rash finally went away.
    I recently started using my old toothpaste, “Kiss My Face” for sensitive teeth. I figured this would be better than Sensodyne or another mainstream product full of chemicals. It turns out though, that my rash started to return, starting right around the corners of my mouth where the toothpaste would run while I was brushing. The day after I started using this toothpaste again, I realized that this had to be part of the problem, so I stopped using it right away and now the rash is going away!!
    I assumed that Kiss My Face was Flouride free, but it is NOT!
    I wonder if there is something to this?

    • It might not be fluoride, it might be propolis or one of the preservatives. But keep a list of those ingredients in case another toothpaste triggers your rash again; that way you can compare and see if there is a common culprit.

  24. VAjen2 says:

    Thank you to everyone who posted here! This was extremely helpful to me. I had the very same symptoms and so I completely stopped using all Blistex products, and then used Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment on my lips which worked very well. Within two days the rash was completely gone. I can’t understand why I was able to use Blistex for so many years and then all of a sudden developed a rash from it. But I won’t be using it again, and will have to find something else. I’m grateful for the suggestions found on this site. Thanks!!

    • Glad we could hep! And that is how these types of allergic reactions come about: you have to be exposed to the substance more than once for your body to start having an immune response to it. So really anything you use over and over can become a problem substance if your immune system is disordered. You may want to try rotating the skin care products you use so you don’t develop additional sensitivities.

      • cocolala630 says:

        I think this is what happened to me… my body always get ‘immune’ to a certain supplement (those that i took to improve bowel system), and perhaps this happen to skincare too. once my face got itchy with beeswax product (ok for lips though), and yesterday i tried to apply at part of my face and it was ok.

  25. marsha401 says:

    I want to thank everyone for posting their story and advice. I was sitting at my computer in tears and at a loss dealing with this clown mouth, red, itchy, bumpy, burning situation that I’ve had since Mother’s Day. The doctors I’ve gone to have cost me more money and left me with no answers. I’ll save you all my long sob story here, but I’m going to blog it like Diana did soon.

    Yesterday I read this blog and since I’ve stopped using all my chap stick with beeswax, and jojoba oil (I’ve even had my partner purchase a new chap stick to prevent redness during kisses.) I started putting Aveeno Hydrocotisone cream on the redness and using Aquaphor on my lips to prevent more dryness. Within hours the redness started going away and I’m starting to look human again. Today my lips look more normal then ever so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping this works. Thanks All :)

  26. Caitlin says:

    Thanks so much, I was researching my strange lip problem and found your blog via the photo that matched my own lips…after reading your notes I immediately went and checked all the products I use on my face. Recently I accidently bought my regular brand facewash but got the ‘Foaming Cleanser’ instead of my usual ‘Cream Cleanser’. Sure enough – the foaming cleanser has beeswax! (and the cream cleaner I usually use does not!) The symptoms and appearance of my lips are exactly as you had described, and I will immediately stop using the facewash and will make sure to always check products now. Hopefully I will have a quick recovery now that I have hopefully discovered the cause. Thankyou so much for your informative blog – it seems you have been able to help many of us with the same, irritating problem!

    • I am so glad you found our blog and that the info we share here has been helpful. And thanks for sharing your story. I definitely would NOT have expected a foaming cleanser to have beeswax in it. Glad you discovered it.

  27. Eli says:

    I stumbled upon this blog while looking for answers, but my rash is a bit different than most of the comments and doesn’t look like the picture. It started out as tiny bumps that itched and tingled and then cracked and crusted and dried out. it seemed to start after I switched back to an old chapstick. At first I was afraid it was herpes, but I’ve never had a cold sore in my life. It never looked like a cold sore either. It is only on my top lip (bumps across my top lip– nowhere on the skin outside my actual lip) and after a week of unbearable itch, I put hydrocortisone cream and petroleum jelly on it. Immediately the itch subsided, but slowly came back. Ultimately, using this combination daily, using my regular blistex in between (I’m addicted to chapstick), it mostly went away until I came down with a cold and I was back to crusty. I’m gonna blame the relapse on my struggling immune system, but it occurred to me that it could very well be lanolin that is doing it. I had an incident several years ago having a horrible reaction to a&d ointment on my fresh tattoo (pimply looking rash all over my back with an itch so bad it stung). I’m going to hunt down some kind of lip balm tomorrow without lanolin. Thanks to everyone who posted here and thanks for the guidance. I’ll update on my life without lanolin.

    • Though I legally cannot diagnose through this forum, it sure does sound like allergic contact dermatitis. Lanolin is a common cause. Please do update us with your progress and good luck to you!

      • Eli says:

        Alas, I am still struggling with this rash. I cut out the lanolin and continued using hydrocortisone cream, but it never fully went away and is now worse than ever. I don’t really get the bumps anymore, but the rash has spread to my lower lip and about half a cm beyond. It’s horribly itchy, scaly and gross. It’s starting to get ugly and embarrassing. It sucks not having insurance. Today I started with an OTC antifungal cream, as I no longer believe it’s an allergy. I’m praying it works. I’m afraid to kiss my boyfriend. I can’t take much more. If it gets any worse I’ll really have to bite the bullet and see a doctor.

      • Eli says:

        After I sent you a picture and you said it looked like herpes, I was terrified and went to the clinic to see if they could test it because it was oozey at the time. They couldn’t fit me in. I decided to try an antifungal cream just for kicks. Well, it burned which frightened me a little after I’ve seen that some people here have burned off layers of skin using the wrong products, but the rash has been getting significantly better! I really believe now that it is a fungal infection. Since it first came on when I used an old chapstick, I think there may have been spores growing on it (fungi can grown on dead skin cells, ex. athletes foot). It is mostly better now, but the irritation always has come in waves, so I am trying to remember to use the cream every day for 3 straight weeks to wipe it out completely, like the directions say. As gross as it sounds to have a fungal lip infection, I am really hoping that this is the case. If you don’t hear from me again, it means I’ve cured myself! Thank you to everyone who has posted here. I hope that maybe I’ve helped some of you too.

  28. Meg says:

    I too have developed dry, itchy. red and tingly skin around my lips and eyes. I have never had anything like this before. I have seen a dermatologist and allergist and have had blood tests to rule out food allergies and auto immune diseases(even though I am a healthy 35 year old woman). Next I am getting a patch test, this week actually. How did you discover you were allergic to these things(was it a patch test or your own process of elimination)? Sory if you explained this but I have 2 small children and read everything very quickly these days !

  29. Susan says:

    Thanks so much for this! I really thought I was the only one with a clown mouth!
    Before finding this post, I tried to treat this problem first with Burt’s Bees (I stopped that pretty quick) and then later with pure lanolin. The lanolin doesn’t help but it’s not making it any worse either. Luckily I have the Aveeno lotion and I will begin to use it today.
    I am living in Singapore and spend a large part of every day out in the sun. Even with a hat and umbrella, the sun reflects up from the sidewalk and I really feel I need sunscreen. Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks!

  30. Chloe Allworthy says:

    Wow, this is so amazing to no I’m not alone with this problem, I have had an itchy rash around my mouth( exactly as been described by all above) for months now. I have noticed that no one has really mentioned a food allergy specifically to be the cause of this rash. For me I have found that whenever I eat tomatoes my lips become itchy and red straight away. I have not always had this reaction to tomatoes so I’m thinking this may be a developed allergy? Since stearing clear of tomatoes completely( not just raw but in pizza bases, pasta’s, tomatoes sauce etc) I have found that my lips gradually begin to heal with the use also of cortisone cream and also vasaline. Hope this helps by allerting some people that there reaction may actaully be to a food :) good luck everyone, I no how annoying this problem is, I’m only 19 and have suffered a hole list of problems throughout life regaurding allergies.

  31. cocolala630lala says:

    I have read from a forumer that her swollen lips healed after she changed to gel type toothpaste. Perhaps those who suffer from this may have a try.

  32. Erika says:

    Thank you so much for your knowledge and for the hosting these discussions. My lips look very similar to the photo you posted. I am at 4 months with this rash now. This week I have cut out all sugars, wheat, fermented foods, tomatoes, and soy. In addition, i have removed most cosmetics (except for hydrocortisone and petroleum jelly). My lips are looking better, but I am afraid this is only because of the hydrocortisone. I made a list of all of my cosmetics, lip balms, etc; there were three products that caused a mild reaction. These three products also contained soybean oil. I believe you mentioned that some people have a reaction to vitamin E because it is derived from soybean oil; did I read this correctly? Could soybean oil be the culprit?
    Thanks again!

    • Soy could definitely be a possible allergen. One of my best friends is allergic to soy and she cannot have it in any form (in food or topically on her skin). And soy or soybean oil is found in a lot of items so read your labels carefully. Will you write a comment here again when you figure things out? We would all benefit from your experience!

      • Erika says:

        Hi There!
        I am still trying to figure out what is the irritant/allergen affecting my lips.
        I stopped using all but Dove bar soap on my face (I remember my mom talking about how its one of the milder soaps out there when you have dry skin…); The ring around my lips almost disappeared entirely in just a few days (my face is so dry, but the ring is gone). I’m down to about 4 possible culprits: soybean oil, aloe, glycerin, SPF products — all ingredients prevalent in my cosmetics I used daily.
        As of today, I have tried 2 moisturizers (introducing them one at a time) and both caused a reaction: one had aloe and SPF, and the other didn’t have these ingredients but did have soybean oil and hydrolyzed soy flowers… I started thinking that I may have two allergens: soy and aloe.
        Before writing this post, I decided to check out the ingredients for Dove Soap, specifically what does it NOT contain. Dove soap doesn’t have glycerin, aloe, or soybean oil — three ingredients found in my other cosmetics. I also looked into glycerin. It appears that glycerin can sometimes be derived from vegetable products (soy) and sometimes animal. Glycerin is one of the first top 3 ingredients in both of these moisturizers.
        My next step is to find a moisturizer with no glycerin and see how my lips react.
        I’ve decided to ask for two days worth of samples of a cosmetic now before I buy it.
        I will keep you posted.
        Sadly, I was hoping it might be aloe…it would be a lot easier to avoid.
        Thanks again for providing a place to discuss this.
        E

      • Erika says:

        Hi there again!
        I finally got patch testing done… twice. The first time nothing really showed however the second time they tested the “oral’ series and cosmetics series. It winds up that I too am allergic to two items which is why it has been so difficult to pinpoint. I too am allergic to propolis and fragrance. Yep, fragrance. Whenever a product just says “Fragrance/Parfum” I need to stay away because it might contain 1 or more of these 8 ingredients I need to avoid.
        I dumped out all my old products and am happy to say I could wear lipstick today and not have a rash around my mouth. Thank you so much for your assistance with this.
        Best,
        Erika

        • How wonderful that you now have it figured out! Yes, “fragrance” in skin care products and cosmetics is probably THE most common allergen when it comes to this type of contact dermatitis. Pure essential oils usually do not pose much of a problem but “fragrance” should be avoided in anyone with sensitive skin.

  33. Nick says:

    What kind of toothpaste do you use?

    • I change it up now and then. My favorite is Tom’s of Maine Fennel – but they make 2 kinds…one with propolis and one without. They both have similar packaging (purple accents). I hastily grabbed the wrong on once – big mistake. My lips started itching within hours after use.

  34. Jolie Ann says:

    I have been having the itchy/dry/cracked/red lip issue for a full year, now. I have seen my Doctor a few times about it and I have also seen a Dermatologist twice. They have no idea what is causing my problem. I have tried so many different lip balms and they ALL bother me. I am only able to use Vaseline Lip Therapy. My Dermatologist prescribed Hydroval and said to use it on my lips at bedtime. This works, but as soon as I stop using it, the itchy/dry/cracked/red lip issue comes right back. I must be allergic to something, but I have no idea what it could be. I’ve switched toothpastes several times and nothing has changed. I am now wondering if I could be allergic to carrot sticks, bananas or maybe apples. I started eating healthy foods (5 servings per day of Fruits/Vegetables) last year and believe it or not, this lip problem began a couple weeks later. I have an appointment with an Allergist in seven weeks and I am hoping that they can figure this out. I am so sick of this…it is really driving me crazy!

    • Well, while fruits and carrots are a healthy choice from a nutritional viewpoint, they also contain quite a bit of sugar. Not a good idea if this skin rash is due to Candida. My suggestion would be to take a Vit B supplement, and leave a little water on your lips before you apply your Vaseline Lip Therapy (petroleum jelly will not moisturize, it only holds moisture in and creates a barrier). Or you can try a moisturizing lip balm that does not have beeswax in it (like ours!). Let us know what you find out at the allergist. And be sure to read all the comments on this post and the one about propolis allergy because readers have shared very useful info on how they figured out their allergy. Good luck to you!

      • Jolie Ann says:

        Thank for the information and suggestions. I should mention that several months ago, my Doctor suggested that I take Vitamin B-12. I have been doing this everyday and it hasn’t helped my situation. When you mentioned a Vit B Supplement, were you also referring to B-12? Also, how would I know if my skin rash is due to Candida? Is there a test that my Doctor should have me take?

    • Eli says:

      My boyfriend’s sister gets a rash on her lips when she eats raw carrots and raw apples. Are you allergic to pollen? You may want to check out “oral allergy syndrome” on wikipedia.

  35. Megan says:

    I’m so glad I came across this information, because I think I might me experiencing the same thing right now. I’ve always been sensitive around my mouth and I’d get rashes around my mouth randomly during the winter, and through spring when that was allergy season for me. I’ve been tested to see what I’m allergic too and the results said cats, horses, dust mites, and spruce trees.. and i doubt that any of those are causing my rash. my rash is slightly different then a general rash however. at first it was itchy in a little section on the top and a little section on the bottom, and of course i started to itch(huge mistake) I have exzema on my arms, and I have a cream that works wonders for it, but when i put it on the areas of my mouth, it burned and a layer of skin pealed away, makeing the spots bigger. my mother suggested that they could be cold sores, since they are like spots, but they’re not forming a blister and I’ve had this now for 3 days. I recently bought a salicylic acid treatment for my face and have stopped using it now, because i think that it will make it more sensitive. i’ve looked at all of my products and they don’t contain beeswax or propolis so im really not sure how to attempt to get rid of it! please help!

  36. zara says:

    Hi, So pleased to have found this blog. I have suffered with this exact rash on and off for about a year or so and it is hugely embarrassing and frustrating. One product that I tried last time I had this rash was Liz Earle Superskin Moisturiser. It worked wonders! The rash is back again now and I am racking my brains trying to work out what may have caused it (whilst also ordering some more of the moisturiser!) Your blog and comments have been really helpful though so I will keep an eye out for the allergens you mentioned and will get some hydrocortisone cream tomorrow . I am wondering if I might have an intolerance to cows milk, so am gonna go dairy free for a couple of weeks and see if that does anything!

  37. Susan says:

    My problem ended up being milk products – cow’s and goat’s.

  38. Jolie Ann says:

    I met with the allergist today and I had them test me for 48 possible food or enironment allergies. I’m not allergic to any food. I found out that I am allergic to cats, dust mites, ragweed, grass and maybe trees. I still do not know what is causing the itchy/dry/red/cracked lip issue that I have now had for over one year. This is so frustrating! The allergist did suggest that I look for a new toothpaste that is SLS free. I guess I will try that next.

  39. stuart says:

    hello, i am 13 and had this rash for 3 weeks now and am running out of options. my rash seems to be like yours but a darker red. After i go outside it gets flaky and red. I have now been reading the ingredients in all my face products. can you please name the ingredients that made your skin have a rash?

    • I am allergic to propolis. So I have to avoid anything that has beeswax in it because propolis can be found in unfiltered beeswax. Beeswax can also be called Cera Alba on ingredient lists. Propolis can be found by itself in toothpaste and herbal supplements, so look for all 3 of these names when you are looking at ingredient lists. Also, you may want to Google “oral allergy syndrome” and check out: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/oral-allergy-syndrome-foods. I wonder if it gets flaky because of the weather (dry, windy, too much sun exposure) or if you are having a combined allergic reaction like with oral allergy syndrome. Let us know how it all goes…

  40. Elizabeth says:

    Hi, I have read the preceding blogs with great interest. I have had a lip rash on and off for about 20 years. The source has never been identified, although I have gone to various dermatologists (even a contact dermatitis specialist in Boston who deemed it “an unknown sensitivity”). I had to be careful about lipsticks, although ones that were fine for a year or two were suddenly not…then I hit on titanium dioxide as a possible irritant, and that helped for awhile, but then it would come back. I have been tested for Candida and Herpes, both negative. It is beyond frustrating. The last 2 years it has come back in Nov./Dec., which might suggest stress. I do go to Kinesiologists to try to balance my system with herbal supplements, and last year that eventually worked. This year I have it again and it is still not gone. I have had it for 3 months and it is scaring me. But there is a product that gets rid of it as long as I apply it topically several times a day: Silver Shield gel by Nature’s Sunshine. It is an immune support product not meant for internal use, but it really works! The only other thing that worked this well was a topical steroid cream, which I hated using, being holistic. But when I stop using it, the rash (which is only on the lips) returns. I will look into avoiding flouride, lanolin, propolis/beeswax, and jojoba as a result of reading this website info, although I wonder if it could be hormonal (I am perimenopausal) or a food allergy?? I don’t know what else to think and like everyone else, I am SO tired of this ugly rash. Any insight or help you could offer would be greatly appreciated!

  41. Grace says:

    Hi. I have had the same rash around my lips for the past few years, on and off, and the severity ranges from the area looking pink to lips that look as red and swollen as The Joker in Batman. I should mention that I also have eczema, which appears on my face, neck and ears… I changed my toothpaste, lip products, everything… to natural products. But the rash persisted, and I put myself on a very clean diet for 10 days. During the cleanse I was able to figure out that I have an allergic reaction to garlic, onions, shallots – basically anything in the bulb family, probably due to the sulfur content. But sometimes the flare-up doesn’t happen and I think it depends on what type of garlic, onion, etc… and also how it’s cooked. I haven’t thoroughly tested this out on me yet. I also have discovered since then that I also have a reaction to apples and nectarines. There are also other foods I am sensitive to (I have been tested). I can manage the flare-ups, knowing what I am highly sensitive to and eliminating/limiting the amounts of any one of them, but they still happen because I have a reaction to so many different types of foods, and they seem to be always changing. I am working on balancing my immune system with Chinese herbs, which will hopefully help lessen my reactions, but it will take time…

  42. Bri says:

    First of all, I must say, thank you so much for this! I have been reading everywhere and I am so frustrated with my lips right now! I just contracted a rash around my mouth, which looks very similar to your picture. This is the third time I have gotten it. The first was about 3 years ago and after multiple attempts to cure it for about a month, and only making it worse and worse, I decided it was my Burts Bees lip balm (which at the time was my absolute favorite.) I gave it up, but a few months later tried it again. Within a day my lips immediately started reacting and so I knew what the problem was for sure. That time I was so scared to try anything on it, and so as hard as it was, I just left it alone. I was lucky in that it healed in like 3 days that time, and never reached its full outbreak. I have gone now three years without issue, but now, 2 days ago I woke up with a slight rough patch, and yesterday woke up with a full blown case of…whatever this is. I have been using Blistex lip balm these past few years and so maybe that it the problem? I discontinued use, but oh, its so awful. I just started a new job and now I have to look like a 6 year old with a lio licking problem- its so embarrassing. I’ve been racking my brain to think of anything new that I have put on my lips..or could it be that I just developed a reaction to the Blistex, as well as the Burts Bees a few years ago? Through my reading I have also found that there is both Contact Dermatitis, and Perorial Dermatitis. If its the latter, then I suppose the product isn’t the problem. Anyway, i cannot afford to go to a dermatologist, so I guess my only option is to leave it alone. Do you have any suggestions or ideas? Thank you again for this

  43. I also have this problem as a result of Burt’s Bees Lip Balm. My lips look a bit worse than your picture. I called Burt’s Bees this morning and got the normal recorded greeting. What surprised me is that option number two is, ” if you are having a health concern regarding one of our products”. I found this frightening. They have an option if you are having a health concern? Anyway I pressed option two and talked to the woman about this swollen mouth condition which she claimed to have never heard of. (Yeah right)…. I informed her that hundreds, if not thousands of individuals are complaining about this on the internet and I could send her some links and my picture. She informed me that she was not allowed to get on the internet at work and if she did she could “get in trouble”. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This is the woman who is advising me on my heath concern? Her big advise to me was to stop using the product. That was her big health advise! Then I asked her to transfer me to someone that could get on the internet and she said she would try customer service. I reached customer service and that woman informed me she was also not allowed to get on the internet either. I asked her how she was supposed to help me if she could not read what I was talking about. She told me that she had never heard about my condition. I asked her if anyone at Burt’s Bees could get on the internet and she said probably a few executives at the corporate office. I asked to be transferred to one of them and she said she could not do that because “they will not talk to customers”. I asked her about transferring me to the legal department. At that point she said she could no longer talk to me and hung up on me. WTHeck???? Really??? Talk about getting the run around.

    I have found that applying polysporin around the mouth and into the edges where the skin is cracked very helpful. Then I apply Vit E to the lips. It is very soothing and I have seen some slight improvement. You cannot keep applying the poly because it won’t heal, so in a few days I will switch completely to vit E.

    Thanks so much for this forum. Good luck to all of you suffering with this condition. Burt’s Bees should be ashamed of themselves for not helping those who need it.

  44. Sorry for your frustration. But don’t fault Burt’s Bees – they make great products. What we are discussing here in this post and in the comments is an allergy – there is nothing wrong with the products that we are using, it is that our bodies are responding in inappropriate ways to ingredients that most people don’t have a negative reaction to. The lady at Burt’s Bees could get into a lot of legal trouble if she tried to give you any health advice since she is not a trained healthcare provider, has never examined you, and that isn’t her job. And any company that makes products for the personal use of their consumers will have a plan in place in case those products cause unexpected health issues – again, this is not because something is wrong with what they make, but if humans are using these substances, you can never be 100% certain how a body will respond. So Burt Bees or any other company that makes products with beeswax is not at fault here. Zi Zai’s LipIntervention and FireQuencher are awesome lip balms (if I do say so myself, since I make them!) but they contain beeswax and I can’t use them myself. So really, the only help Burt’s Bees could have offered you is to suggest stop using the product that is causing the reaction. I know it is annoying not to have much help or answers beyond that. But the good news is that if an allergy to propolis really is the cause of your rash, then it is easy to prevent the rash from coming back by just avoiding propolis. I have been using Zi Zai’s Beeswax-Free lip balm for a while now and my lips are still happy. I hope your rash heals swiftly! Thanks so much for contributing to this post…I think the comments from readers are just as helpful as the original post.

  45. I still think Burt’s Bees know all about this condition because your blog is not the only thing on the internet about this. Yours is probably the most informative. Have you seen the 16 minute YouTube about this subject? It is highly informative and suggests other things that are wrong with Burt’s Bees Lip Balm. If you want I can send you the link. I didn’t want to post it here without asking you first. I also think that Burt’s Bees knows about this and should be more helpful. Acknowledge the condition and answer the questions. I will look into your products. I think that is a great idea.

    Sincerely…..Cat Rudert

  46. Karen says:

    I, too started this rash right after the holiday’s. I was at the eye doctors and he mentioned I should use Cortaid for my “chapped lips”. I tried it for 2 days with no change. I don’t believe I am a lip licker. What I did remember is that I was using Berts Bee chapstick very frequently and I switched to Tom’s Toothpaste, both around the same time. They both contain Propolis. I also got a juicer for Christmas and have been consuming about 10 lbs of carrots a week, along with loads of fruits and vegetables. Coincidence? When I came across this blog 2 days ago, I have stopped using the products and eating all of those carrots. No change yet. But I will go buy the Aveeno and see what happens. I have a dermatologist appointment next week, but I am feeling pessimistic before I even go! I had to laugh after reading someone’s comment who wrote that they look the “joker” from Batman. I completely identify with that! I’ll keep reading to see what results all of you get. Is this what I get for trying to use natural products and eat healthy???

    • Don’t diss the healthy living ;) It is just one bummer of an allergy, but it could be way worse. And be patient…I know we all want the dumb rash to go away instantaneously, but skin is slow to heal when it has been inflamed for so long. Please do let us know how you do over the next couple of weeks if you don’t mind. Good luck!

  47. PRod says:

    This began happening to me about a year or so ago, not every month but several times all usually around my period. It had been several months since my last bout w/ it but omgoodness, I read the part about the mango rind coming in contact w/ my mouth and it clicked. My lips started to feel itchy the day after I ate mango, and then I went and ate mango again the next day. I had not had mango for quite some time which may coincide w/ why I was symptom free for several months. Hmm I surely need to try to keep track because this horrid itching and embarrassing redness and swelling are so bothersome. Thanks for giving me something to think about.

    • So glad you have another clue that may help you solve this lip mystery! And keep in mind that our hormones are influential in how our bodies respond to everything, so it could be that you are more sensitive to offending substances right before, during, or immediately after your period.

  48. Lillou says:

    I have battled a chronic lip/mouth rash/eczema/dermatitis for around 20 years and finally learned I was reacting to mineral oil. Petroleum, paraffin, propyl glycol and the parabens – methyl, propyl and so on are the same thing. I found it in everything I used for Oil of Olay, lip balms, various cosmetics (foundation, lip and eye products), Vaseline is petroleum, even the cortisone cream I was prescribed to treat the problem was based on a paraffin wax making things even worse. I found creams that were supposed to be for eczema, dermatitis are more often than not made of the same bases, thus compounding the problem. Check your ingredients!!! Try wiping it out and see how you go. I hope you all find the solution and relief I have found. Profoundly life changing. Good luck!

    • Yes, petroleum ingredients are in SO many skin “care” products. I even suggested using Vaseline until the rash resolved, but you are absolutely right – a person can be allergic to any petroleum product. And they really are not good to use long-term even if you aren’t allergic to them. Thank you so much for sharing.

  49. Ariannax38 says:

    Hello,
    I have had the exact same problem for almost two months now, and it’s so frustrating! And PAINFUL! Also, I see no one mentions anything about a rash on the rest of the body. I had a rash starting on my chin, then moving to my neck and then it healed completely along with my mouth. Then the redness around my mouth went away and came back again. then it went away and I went home from college for a week. They day I came back to school it came back again. Now it’s healing but I’m noticing a rash on leg just like the one I had on my neck! I’m sure it must relate. PLEASE HELP! I went to the Health Center at my college and had three separate people look at it and they had no idea what it could be. Help?

    • This is a shot in the dark since I have never examined you, but do you use different detergent on your bed linens when you are at college compared to at home?

      • Ariannax38 says:

        Yes, I suppose I do. However I believe what I use up here we now use at home, and I was home for over a month for christmas vacation and it never affected me, as well as spring break one week ago. The health center just said it may be contact dermatitis, but at this point I have no idea! It goes away for a week and comes back for a long time. It’s almost gone now, but I just know it will come back! Maybe you’re right and I should switch detergent. But what about my rashes? They must be connected! Do you have an idea about that?

  50. Justine says:

    Hi, I’m 15 and I was interested in what you wrote an tempted to definitely try this.

    I have eczema and tried everything!! Stupid medicine won’t fix everything ya know. I’ve got rid of the rashes that were on my wrist, fingers, inside of my elbows, and one beneath my knee.

    I’m actually EXCITED to try this and will do reply my conclusion thanks!!

  51. Nik says:

    My 4yr old son has had a rash that looks exactly like that (and alot worse at times) for 10 months now. We have seen several GPs and been given 3x antibiotics and every cream under the sun but it keeps coming back. Most of the creams didn’t work – only the steroid creams get rid of it but soon after we stop it comes back. So this week we have seen an allergy/immunology specialist, and he has had a huge range of blood tests, so we will hopefully get some answers in two weeks when we see the specialist and a dietician. He thinks it could be tomatoes/citrus fruit or sulphates/sulphites as he believes its a food allergy. My son had skin pricks done at 17 months and didn’t react to the 16 most common allergens (he used to get rashes on his body but has grown out of them), but it would still be possible to have developed an allergy to one. Things that seem to make it worse are being in the sun (or possibly sunblock at daycare – but it all started in winter when they were not using any), swimming, and food being left around his mouth. He reacted to strawberries one year, and not since. Detergents and soaps used to cause the body rashes, so I’m not sure if that could be part of the problem. I can’t believe I didn’t google this before, it seems like there are alot of people out there with this issue!!! I will let you know how we get on with the results.

  52. Nik says:

    Oh I forgot to say — he has been put on an antihistamine twice a day since seeing the specialist and only vasoline on the lips and it is improving already. Looks like he’ll be on it a while though – he prescribed 6 bottles (3 months supply).

  53. Sue says:

    I have experienced “Clown Mouth” 4 or 5 times in my life now, each time lasting 3 to 4 months. I have no idea as to why mine finally healed and that is frustrating too in a way because I would like to post a helpful “cure”.

    Two times I have noticed a connection if you will…helicopters spraying, perhaps for weeds or things like Tent Caterpillars like along the I-5 Corridor. I have not noticed any else making a posting such as this; however I am suspecting that mine might be from environmental sensitivities.

    I am also wondering if this time my “clown mouth” is from using a cloth napkin that may not have been laundered between uses. Yuck! I know…

    I have noticed that if I use a “soup spoon” the corners of my mouth break out on the inside. When I use a “desert spoon” I do not have this problem. I think it is because soup spoons are fatter and the shape of the spoon touches the corner of my mouth. I also think soup spoons tend to made of a cheaper metal-lighter in weight. Desert spoons are narrower and heavier in weight. I hope this tip helps someone.

  54. Larz says:

    I have been noticing that my rash comes every mid year or maybe earlier due to high humidity (i live near the equator) but drinking plenty of water doesn’t help and shaving my moustache makes my rash worse, bigger and irritating.

    • Does your rash look more like acne/zits? Could be folliculitis. Have you ever had it checked by a dermatologist?

      • Also, anytime beard/mustache region is involved, tinea (ringworm) should be considered (can easily be diagnosed by your dermatologist). Here is more information direct from a dermatology book of mine:

        TINEA OF THE BEARD:
        Tinea barbae is a dermatophytic infection that is limited to the coarse hair-bearing beard and mustache areas in men. Infection usually occurs after minor trauma such as from shaving.
        Fungal infection of the beard area (tinea barbae) should be considered when inflammation occurs in this area. Bacterial folliculitis and inflammation secondary to ingrown hairs (pseudofolliculitis) are common. However, it is not unusual to see patients who have finally been diagnosed as having tinea after failing to respond to several courses of antibiotics. A positive culture for Staphylococcus does not rule out tinea, in which purulent lesions may be infected secondarily with bacteria. Like tinea capitis, the hairs are almost always infected and easily removed. The hairs in bacterial folliculitis resist removal. Cases may be associated with topical steroid therapy, pet contact, and contact with the hide of dairy cattle or horses. Lesions are usually unilateral and are found on the chin, neck, and maxillary or submaxillary areas. Upper lip involvement is usually seen as scattered, discrete, follicular pustules; kerion formation rarely occurs.

  55. anindya says:

    I had exactly what your lips suffer. but I think it’s not caused by food allergic. it happens first when I were at collage, I guess it because the town weather is not the same of the town I grew up.It only happens once a year in the middle year,may to august,my lips began to dry and stiff to the worst it changed black and I can’t open my mouth except it will bleeding. the pain will dissaper as after july or august. I tried put honey or licked it(I know this makes even worst) didn’t work,then I found this ‘tender care protecting balm’ by oriflame works quickly. But still my face will be looked silly because lot of oily things arround my lips. the sad thing is this pain always come back in that months even I already move from that town :(.

  56. Treasuri says:

    OMG!!! that exactly what i am having right now…. thank you so much for your input…. does the rash itchy? cause mine isn’t… and it does not hurt either. Thanks before.

  57. Lorena says:

    AH! The toothpaste! that HAS to be it! I never thought of it…

  58. After reading this post and the previous one about a beeswax allergy (http://www.zizaidermatology.com/blog/2010/07/16/am-i-allergic-to-beeswax/) I’d like to chime in.

    One to say – THANK YOU! It took me 2 years to figure out what was wrong with my skin (this was a few years ago) and I appreciate you posting this for others – it’s such a frustrating allergy and I’m glad others may get relief more quickly than I did.

    Second – for many people, it can be more complicated than just a propolis allergy, so read this carefully. If at all possible, you should have an allergy test done, and here’s why.

    I am allergic to balsam of peru. It’s in EVERYTHING. It’s a little-understood tree sap, which makes it similar in chemical composition to many things waxy or sticky, i.e. beeswax, resin. It is also very chemically complex, containing benzoates (which are used as preservatives in everything under the sun) and cinnamic aldehydes (which is a compound found in citrus, tomatoes, cinnamon, cloves, etc) AND vanillin (related to vanilla, found in everything from chocolate to just about anything sweet or anything with a vanilla fragrance).

    It’s actually quite reactive (no idea why it’s FDA-approved) and here’s the kicker: if you have this allergy for a long time, you can become “sensitized” to cross-reactants, i.e. compounds that your body recognizes as similar allergens. So what starts out as an allergy to balsam of peru can become an allergy to many more things (including beeswax or propolis because of its resin-like properties).

    My allergy began with overuse of Burt’s Bees products, which also have a lot of citrus oil in them (and of course beeswax). Citrus is a major cross-reactant with this allergy which I didn’t know at the time. I switched to Origins to avoid the beeswax, not realizing that everything I was using had citrus oil and ginger oil (another cross-reactant). And so on it went – I tried to cut out foods, but I had no idea what the problem actually was, and so if it didn’t improve w/in a week or so, I added that food back in.

    Long story short – do some research on Balsam of Peru contact dermatitis and consider cutting out EVERYTHING that is considered a cross-reactant. It’s really, really, really hard. I did it for 6 months – no tomatoes, no citrus, no chocolate, no wine, no honey, no vanilla, no waxes of any sort, NOTHING labeled “fragrance” or flavor, EVEN if it is says “natural.” Orange or lemon oil is “natural” but it’s completely an irritant in this case!!

    Only by breaking the cycle of inflammation did my skin finally begin to heal (that, and some Aquaphor). Little by little I was able to add things back into my diet without reactions as long as I don’t go overboard, but I still avoid any and all cosmetics with fragrance or oils (which is super hard, because most good organic products are “fragrance free” but still full of things like limonene!). I use Bronner’s soap (the baby mild) as my body and face soap and it works great.

    If you have any questions about Balsam of Peru, this is a good overview of the plant and the things you should consider eliminating from your diet, at least for a while: http://www.allergeaze.com/PDFs/NA/NA12.PDF

    Good luck! It WILL get better over time.

    • Wow – someone has done their homework! Thank you SO very much for sharing the knowledge you have accumulated over the last couple of years while searching for your own solutions. I am hoping that everyone who reads this blog post reads your above comment. I am certain this will help lots of people suffering from reactions to these substances. Here is more about cross-reactions with a propolis allergy: http://www.dermnetnz.org/dermatitis/propolis-allergy.html.

      • Great link! You know, it never even occurred to me that the propolis will vary from place to place since the bees will gather pollen from different sources. DUH! What’s funny is that when I’m in Italy (where I used to live), I can get waxed (legs, eyebrows) with zero reaction at all. But when I’m in Texas (where I live now), I break out into MASSIVE hives if I get waxed . I’ve tried 10-15 salons (a glutton for punishment) and it’s always the same result, no matter how cheap or fancy the waxing salon is. The only thing I can do is “sugar” waxing, i.e. made from sugar instead of beeswax. (I have to wax because I’m allergic to many of the strips in razors and I finally just decided I like it better than shaving anyway. :) It never occurred to me that the substances IN the wax differ so greatly because of the different trees/plants/fruits/flowers in those regions.

        One more thing – not sure if it’s been discussed on here – but I used to suffer from very bad mouth ulcers (on the gums). This allergy (both propolis & balsam of peru) are directly related to that. As soon as I made the permanent switch to a toothpaste with no fragrance (very hard to find a true one, as cinnamon oil, clove oil, orange oil, peppermint oil… all of those can be irritants), my ulcers disappeared completely. I haven’t had one in years, and I used to have them weekly.

        I’m a musician and it was so embarrassing for me to always have the chelitis on my lips since I spent so much time on stage and talking to people afterwards… I was always trying to cover my lips, or pick at the flaky skin… I empathize SO MUCH with all of you who are suffering. Hang in there!!

        • I hadn’t really thought about wax used in hair removal! By the way, you may want to consider laser hair removal (I have gotten fabulous results!). I don’t know what kind of substances are in hair removal waxes, but carnauba wax (which is in many vegan lip balms) is a cross-reactant for those with propolis allergies. Again, thank you, Vanessa for your insights…so helpful!

    • Christina says:

      please tell me what you use for hair care, makeup, toothpaste, makeup remover. I also have contact dermatitis on my right hand mostly..

      • For makeup I use the cheapest CoverGirl mascara (no beeswax or carnauba wax in it), I use Rimmel eye liner, and Glo Mineral pressed powder foundation. [I posted a list of other blogs that discuss cosmetics and review products for people with eczema or sensitive skin and we discuss this often on Zi Zai's Facebook page- join us there!]. For makeup removal I have a blend of oils I use but olive oil works great. I see no need for purchasing a makeup remover. I use Tom’s of Maine toothpaste without fluoride (and without propolis!). Hair care products I rotate. I really like Wen Hair Care but sometimes switch it up and use Aveda or other salon shampoos. I am a proponent of rotating skin and hair products to reduce risk of developing sensitivities as well as to keep them working as effectively as possible. This topic comes up so often I think I will post a call for readers to write in, sharing their favorite products. Thanks for commenting here.

  59. beth says:

    I have been battling my lip/mouth rash since Oct 2010. I tried everything and my Dr had no imput for me. I tried so many different things for months. Finally I bought cortizone 10 and my rash cleared almost instantly. I use berts bees clove oil chapstick bc it dries any wierdness. The combination saved my face. It comes back often but a dab of cortizone stops it right away. No tingles or anything. I was told it is stress or eczema or blah blah blah with no results. Trial and error on my own have brought me to a worry free life and I can continue to work with the public confidently.

  60. Grace says:

    I have yet to figure out what has been causing the rash on my lips but all I do is apply vicks vapor rub for a week on my lips and the rash goes away.

  61. Shawn says:

    Hi, thanks for your info, i have no idea what is causing my rash, but i can now start to suspect some of the items you mentioned. Just in case you are doing a study or compiling data, i will tell you that i’m an RN and i work in a hospital, and my rash is WAY worse when i’m there. Then it is nearly healed if i’m off for a few days, then it comes back with a vengeance once i there. Mine started with a scratch (my lip balm had sharp little discs of plastic embedded in it) and before i knew what was happening, i had scratched the vermillion border, then i applied numerous things i was apparently allergic to and this made it worse. i have now had this for over 6 months. I am afraid to try cortisone as i’m aware of the side effects. If you have any other info or suggestions for me i would greatly appreciate it.

    • I have had several cases of perioral dermatitis in my private practice lately and 2 of them are RNs and one is an optician (all are women). They all tell me their rash started at work and is worse when they work more days in a row. The optician switched careers for a while and did not have the rash the entire time she worked elsewhere but as soon as she returned to her optician job, the rash reappeared. One RN told me that she was one of 4 female nurses on her floor with this same rash around or near their mouths! I do not know what the connection is, but there certainly seems to be a correlation with working in a health care setting. For myself, I KNOW it is an allergy to propolis. But for these other cases I am treating, I am not so sure. I am wondering if they are inadvertently coming into contact with cortisone (perioral dermatitis can develop in response to cortisone creams on the skin) – maybe they are applying it on patients and then touching their face? We haven’t figured it out yet.

  62. Alicia says:

    I have this rash thing on my lips which looks a lot like yours and the first time it came was a few month after i bought this new organic whole foods beeswax lip balm. Ive had around 3-4 of these rashes so far and i just assumed it was a cold sore because people told me if it burns/itches thats a cold sore. Plus it has yellowish pus and is crusting like a cold sore. But it looks almost nothing like the cold sores on google images. I went to a docter today and she said that i must lick my lips because i had this thing along the outide of my lips. But i know i don’t ever lick my lips. Could I have a propolis allergy/sensitivety with out being allergic to honey or honeycomb? I have eaten both of those things in my past. Oh and plus being in the sun makes things much worse. What could this be?

    • You absolutely can develop a skin allergy to propolis even if you can eat honey (but after some time, you may begin to react when you consume honey internally). Being in the sun can make these contact dermatitis reactions worse. It could also be that you are allergic to one of the other ingredients in the lip balm. Is there any citrus essential oils in it? They can cause the sensitive skin around your lips to become photosensitive (react to sunlight).

  63. Glad I found this blog. Spent the last half hour combing through the comments too. I’m experiencing a very similar problem around my lips. I’ve had this issue come up before but it was never this bad. At first, I just started feeling the burning, tingling feeling that I attributed to dryness. It’s been a week and, as of now, I have the redness around my lips while the lips themselves seem to almost have lost some colour as they are a lighter pink than usual. They burn, feel tight, and hurt when I open my mouth. I went to a walk-in clinic yesterday and the doctor said that it’s probably not an allergic reaction, but has something to do with the heat/sun. The weather has definitely gone up here in Toronto, it is very hot and humid. The thing is, I’m usually indoors under constant AC. Could the increase in heat and drastic change in weather conditions cause this problem, even though I am not usually outside?

    The doctor also mentioned it could possibly be a vitamin deficiency. I’m getting some blood work done in the next few days to get checked out.

    On the allergy front, when the burning/dryness feeling started to hit, I did what I usually do and bought a lip balm. I buy whatever is on sale from Nivea, Chapstick, Vaseline, never really thought twice about it. This time around I bought Burt’s Bees’ with vitamin E and peppermint. I’ve never had a problem with Burt’s Bees’ before but as I’ve been reading, It could be something that I developed. Despite having JUST bought it, I’ll lay off any lip balm to see if there are any improvements. The thing is that i started feeling the discomfort BEFORE using the lip balm, but it definitely got worse when i started using it more often (and by often, I mean constantly applying it on my lips!)

    The doctor prescribed me a cream. on the label it says “15 hydrocortisone 1%/clotrimaderm cream”. So far, I have not seen/felt any changes but I have only been using it for one day. It says to apply twice daily but I so wish I could use it whenever I feel the burn…which is pretty much all the time!

    Some of the comments that say it lasts for months is really scary. I am getting married in a month and would hate to still have this problem. Heck, I have a job interview next week! Guess I could add “unintentional clown” as a previous job. I will be using the cream prescribed to me and nothing else on my face but water and go from there.

  64. Jeremy Chase says:

    I have read a good bit of the stuff above and a lot of this stuff sounds familiar. When my rash first popped up about 3 months ago, I had been stressed and had gotten little sleep for a few weeks, and I did test positive a few years ago for HSV-1 (the cold sore type of herpes) but never had one. I went to a minute clinic at a local CVS and was immediately diagnosed with a cold sore outbreak. I treated it as that for a few months with Abreva, lysine, lemon balm….you name it, with no change. My fiancé won’t kiss me and hasn’t for almost 3 months! I never got the crusty blisters, just a red, slightly swollen rash around my lower lip with tiny little red bumps and a little up in my mustache on my upper lip. No blisters, no dryness, no cracking. Just a slightly swollen red rash directly under my bottom lip. I have noticed that the inside of my nose is dry lately, but that could just be the heat.
    After months of treating this thing like a cold sore outbreak, I went to the dermatologist and he said it is either HSV-1 or a contact dermatitis. I am sold that I am not having a 3 month long herpes outbreak. I have switched to fluoride-free toothpaste and have been putting vitamin E, aloe, and cleaning it with Cetaphil now. I am going to try the Aveeno hydrocortisone cream on it. My dermatologist has prescribed me something else for it (topical), but if I can heal it with over the counter stuff, that’ll save me the $250 for the ointment.

    The little bumps and the redness does seem to get worse when I drink,and when I am in the sun, eating spicy food, or when I get overheated. Help!!!

    • HSV-I reactions can linger in people with suppressed or compromised immune systems (just being under constant stress can do this). Though it isn’t common, I do have some patients who have chronic cold sores (very frustrating for them). However, your description makes it sound much more like perioral dermatitis or contact dermatitis to me (keep in mind I cannot diagnose you based on a written paragraph and no exam!).

      • Jeremy Chase says:

        Thanks Dr.Z! Yeah, I was sold on the HSV-1 diagnosis and spent lots of money on all kinds of treatments like Abreva, Lysine (tons of it), Lemon balm, tea trea, etc. I know it is not recommended, but my friend gave me her Valtrex prescription (1g) and my dermatologist recommended that I “blast” my outbreak by taking 4 of these 1g Valtrex pills in one day. Well, I did this for 3 straight days (2 Valtrex in the morning, 2 in the evening) and no change. This pretty much told me flat out that this wasn’t an outbreak of HSV-1. Now, my redness depends on the situation. If I eat something spicy, it gets more red, and when I get stressed a little or overheated, it gets redder. I am currently using the Aveeno 1% cream on it a few times a day combined with pure aloe gel. The redness is a little better, and the little red bumps have shrunken a lot. Still there but not as bad.

        Also, my dermatologist gave me some sample packs of the Alcortin-A. I used this periodically on the rash/red bumps for the past few weeks, and really couldn’t tell much difference. I also wasn’t consistent with the use either.

        What do you think? From what I can gather, the heavy doses of Valtrex should’ve knocked it out if it were HSV-1, right? The rash isn’t that sensitive anymore, it’s mostly just embarrassing to look at.

        • Again, I can’t really give a diagnosis here, I can only provide enough info to educate you. Don’t be fooled by the Valtrex not working – it could still be HSV-I but that possibility is less likely given the high dose of antiviral you took. Skip the aloe gel for right now – some people react to it and if you are one of those few, it could be making the redness linger. You are not my patient, so you don’t have to follow my recommendation, but here it is anyway: do nothing for 3 days. I mean NOTHING. No cortisone of any kind (no Aveeno 1%), no aloe, no petroleum jelly, no soap, no lotion, no spicy/fried foods, no dairy, no toothpaste (just brush with a wet toothbrush), no sun exposure (if possible). Do you have a coffee grinder? If so, clean it out, and grind up some rolled oats into powder. To wash your face, take approx. 1 tsp or so of the powdered oats and mix it in your palm with a bit of water to form a paste. Use this paste like a cleanser on your face then rinse it off. Do this each morning and night. This will suck at first because the rash will feel tight and irritated – you will want to put something on it to soothe it so badly. Try to resist this temptation. Give it 3 days. I suspect something your skin is coming into contact with is causing this rash and we need to remove all possible culprits to allow it to calm down. Make sure your pillow case is clean (no fragrance in your laundry detergent, no fabric softener, and no fragranced drier sheet). Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated from the inside. Maybe run a vaporizer in your room at night to keep the air moist (if you live in a dry region). Then update us here with how it goes.

  65. Karyn says:

    Hi. I also have problems with the skin around my mouth. I’m allergic to aloe vera, shea butter, petroleum products, and lanolin. I just wanted to mention that, because some of the people reading this post may have similar allergies, thus not improving with the treatment described here. Be careful..especially with petroleum and lanolin..highly allergenic! And…unfortunately a lot of cortizone creams contain petroleum products or aloe vera. The only one I can use is called HydroSkin.

  66. Catherine says:

    Hi! I suffer from a rash very must the same as the ones described here. Mine responds very well to anti-inflammatories but returns as soon as I am off them. I get very itchy, tingly and a burning sensation. I also get the flaking (badly) and dry out to a very uncomfortable state. I use an ointment called Lucas Paw Paw which is very relieving & a natural treatment but it does not heal the rash.
    I am off to a new dermatologist in a few days and hope to get some answers. If anyone can suggest what this may be id love to hear. I have been tested for allergies and I do have a few but nothing mentioned above has been tested. I’m so embarrassed and Hate going out in public. Even if I’m not having a flare up, I’m flaking so it looks terrible.

  67. Darlene Roy says:

    Hello. I have this same rash, and KNOW what caused mine. I always squeeze organic lemons into my water for drinking. The store I buy my lemons at ran out of organic, so I used non organic lemons. This is the second time this happens. My rash is caused by pesticides on my fruit. Would you recommend the same protocol for pesticide poisioning? Thanks for you help!

    • Are you certain it was due to pesticides? I would also consider the possibility that much of our fruit and veggies in supermarkets are covered in wax for display (and maybe a bit of protection from fruit flies?). This wax is usually beeswax-based and not high-grade cosmetic beeswax. This may be a possible cause of allergic contact dermatitis.

  68. Darlene Roy says:

    No, I’m pretty sure it’s pesticides. I’m very sensitive to the stuff. I’m careful washing off my fruit before squeezing it on my hand juicer. It’s happened twice, and both times when I didn’t use organic lemons. This time was a week ago, and my rash is 1/2″ around my mouth and swollen just like your picture above. Hurts like hell! Last time to clear it up, I alternated using spent tea bags of chamomile & tulsi tea and LOTS of organic lip balm and it took a couple of weeks. So, hopefully by next week it will be GONE……..

    • Well, contact dermatitis rashes should improve quickly when the offending allergen is removed from contact with the skin. Again, I cannot give medical advice in this forum, but if your doctor says it is okay for you to take Benadryl, that may help your rash heal faster since it is an antihistamine and the histamine response is what causes the redness and inflammation. But if this turns out to be irritant contact dermatitis from the pesticides (and not an actual allergic reaction), Benadryl will not be very helpful and healing time of the skin may take longer. Read more here: http://www.dermnetnz.org/dermatitis/contact-irritant.html Good luck to you! I hope you have figured it out and you can avoid this rash in the future. Thank you for sharing.

    • msdarlene says:

      Just wanted to mention that CARMEX, of all things…..cleared mine up in a little over a week. It just happened to work, go figure!

      • Jeannie says:

        Hi! I have been reading all of these posts, as I too, have the same rash and flakiness. After reading about the beeswax, I checked what was in the carmex that I use everyday. Beeswax was listed as the first ingredient! I am using vasaline right now, but will look into some of the other items listed in these posts. Third Dr. appt. tomorrow. It will be interesting to see what he thinks. Thank you all for the information.

  69. Celia says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I have had a rash almost exactly like yours (only usually more red) for well over one year now. It all started some months after giving birth, with a baby not sleeping well, and the first outbreak came just days after staying up for a few nights with a sick baby. I instantly related the rash to this, but it still hasn’t improved. I tried some kortisons and fungi creams, and while they keep the rash at bay for a while, it always comes back. I also had rashes on my underarms at the same time (altough these rashes looked different, and went away by themselves). The only thing that makes my skin feel better is the EOS lip balm, but hey, surprise, that contains both beeswax and jojoba oil! I’ve never used any products on my skin prior to this outbreak (barely even moisturizer), but for the last year I’ve been addicted to my EOS. Now I’ll try not applying it for a few days and see what happens. Maybe the initial rash was just a reaction to some stressful months, and I’ve actually made it worse using the EOS? Time will show! I’ll also change my toothpaste and have a look at other products that might come in touch with the skin around my mouth.

    Again, thank you! :)

    • Casey says:

      After reading this page I, too, have made the connection between my beloved eos ball (which I started 9 or 10 months ago) and the rash (which started 4-5 months ago, and has been on and off since). It’s the only thing that makes the skin feel better for any extended period of time, so if it is the cause I’m sure I’ve been making it worse. I’m going to only use petroleum jelly as needed and see if that helps (Huge presentation at work in 3 days and I’m not sure I can get up there with this rash!). Thank you so much for this blog – I’ve spent hours looking for help with this and this page has been the ONLY thing I’ve found.

  70. Celia says:

    Looking promising after one day of omitting my EOS… So grateful :)

  71. Bria B. says:

    Thank you so much for this! I have ridiculously sensitive, dry, eczema-prone skin, and I get a rash like this around my mouth at least once a month. After switching to a new (supposedly hypoallergenic) sunscreen earlier this summer, the rash has been almost chronic. I discontinued use of the sunscreen on my face, but since my skin is so dry and sensitive to begin with, the rash has been taking weeks to improve despite the use of OTC and/or prescription cortisone cream & Aquaphor on a nightly basis. You’ve made me realize that I’ve probably been using many other products that have just been exacerbating the problem. I’m ordering your beeswax-free lip balm right now (I know I’m allergic to beeswax due to a fateful affair with Burt’s Bees lip balm years ago), and possibly trashing my toothpaste and various facial care products afterward! You’re amazing!

  72. Fiona says:

    Hi, I found your blog through the photos on google. I was fed up with Dr.’s telling me they don’t know what’s wrong. Anyway, when I read your blog (on Sunday 5th July 2012) I decided to stop using my lipbalm which I’ve been using for almost as long as I’ve had the problem – 14yrs!!! After 2-3 days I could see a huge improvement from the raw red colour & my lips weren’t flakey anymore. :) My lips are still sensitive & more so after I’ve cleaned my face/teeth. So today I’m changing to a non flouride toothpaste ‘boots – non flouride’ (uk).
    Details of products:
    I was using Carmex with lanolin & beeswax
    Aveeno cream
    Sensitive Imperial Leather Soap
    Colgate toothpaste

    Now I’ve stopped using the lipbalm (aveeno cream has gotten me through the last few days & I’m on my new toothpaste from today. But for now I’m continuing with Aveeno cream & the soap. I’ll let you know if that changes.

    Thank you a million for your blog!! Why on earth we don’t have sensible dr’s to tell us these things is beyond me but I’m grateful I’m beginning to have calm skin :) Thank you,x

    • Lanolin is a common allergen, too. I hope your skin stays calm now that you have things figured out. Thank you so much for sharing. I am glad this post was helpful for you!

      • Fiona says:

        Hiya, I’m a week into my experiment and I’ve definitely seen a huge improvement! (THANK YOU)

        I think it may have been a few things because my lips don’t get really red after I brush my teeth now I’m using non-flouride toothpaste. Plus I’ve not used anymore Carmex with beeswax or lanolin in it. Equally I’ve used some hydrocortizone ointment around the edges of my lips because I found that soothing and because I used to suffer with eczema I figured it might be that too.
        Other things I’ve done: started using handkerchiefs instead of tissues, started washing my face with water or a little soap and tried not to touch my lips during the day.

        I’m hoping that in the next few weeks they’ll be less sensitive and this improvement will last :) Whatever the culprit was, it seems to be at bay – thank you so much!!!

  73. natalie says:

    thank you so much for this post!!! i wouldnt really call it a rash, but rather an allergic reaction. sometimes tho the allergy is stress lol
    but i just really wanted to thank you since the vitamin e really works! i couldnt get the cortisone cream, since im in germany and the pharmacist didnt want to sell it to me for my mouth… but the vitamin e oil and the vasaline at night worked amazingly!

  74. Jimmy says:

    I have a similar rash but it is just on my bottom corners of my lip. About a centimeter down and a centimeter across on each side. On the left side it is started to make its way to the left top part of my lip. I have had problems with it for about a year. It started when I got a huge irregular pimple on one side that lasted about a week. It had all the same properties as a pimple (started red then turned to whitehead a couple days later, then eventually peeled off about a week). Once the first pimple resided, another pimple on the other side started to rise up and start the same process. When that one resided, the previous side would start up again. At one point there were two at once. This happened for about a month until it eventually developed into the rash on both spots, and has stayed inflamed ever since. I have burning and chapped lips constantly but cannot relate it to any chemical or substance. I switched my toothpaste to SLS and fluoride free with no artificial fragrance but still no luck. I also switched my shampoo to SLS and fragerance free, no luck. Should I also start monitoring the type of dish soap, bar soap, and laundry detergent as well? About two weeks ago a dermatologist gave me an ointment petroleum based with .05 desonide and it reacted horrible to it, making the rash worse. One thing I have found out is that applying a layer of organic Nancys Honey yogurt around my mouth completely stops both the burning and chapped lips and makes my lips feel good but only temporarily and does not seem to heal the rash. Any suggestions to what it might be? I can email you a picture. I would be really appreciative for any suggestions.

  75. Jae says:

    I have had a rash for 3 month now and got it after having surgery, hmmm hospitals are sterile eh!! anyways I have a similar rash around mouth and cracks in corners which bleed. I’m taking two antibiotics but there not helping. What does work is a product called Bag Balm it is amazing, it is ointment based and a little goes a long way! The original use of this product goes back to the old days when cows nipples cracked, yep from over milking, and they would apply this magic stuff and it would heal them quick. It comes in a green square tin can and you can get it at Walgreens, Rite aid etc. Cheers……

    • Oh I used to swear by Bag Balm for seriously dry, cracked skin. However, readers should be aware that it is a petroleum-based product with lanolin (a common allergen but not otherwise harmful) and 8 hydroxyquinoline sulfate (recommended to be restricted to low doses (0.3% or less in a product) or limited use http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient.php?ingred06=700053). I am not an expert on this particular ingredient, so I can neither recommend nor condemn the use of this product. But glad to see you found something that worked for you!

  76. Kim says:

    Okay so I’ve gotten rid of the rash by stopping all contact of product with my face (thanks for everyone’s posts on here!) but now my lips are just super dry and cracked although they don’t hurt, just look aweful. I’m trying vitamin E oil but it doesn’t seem to do too much. I don’t want to try too many products since the rash has only been gone one day and i would like to reintroduce things slowly so i can determine the allergy. Do you have any thoughts on this? Should I just drink more and more water and wait for this to cycle through? Thanks for all your feedback on here Dr. Z!

    • Be patient for a few more days. Your lips will recover. DON’T LICK THEM right now. Try dabbing a little water on them and then applying olive oil on top. Vit E might be good on top of the water, but if the Vit E was derived from soybeans you could react if you have a soy allergy. Or you could always use our Beeswax-Free Lip Balm – shameless plug ;)

    • Also be sure to read the newest comments at the bottom of Am I Allergic to Beeswax?. There is some good info there for anyone having allergic skin reactions due to propolis.

  77. mj says:

    I had the same symptoms shown above. I had been using burts bee chapstick for several years and nver hd a problem until recently. I have since stopped using the burts bee chapstick, started to use plain old chapstick and applied vitamin E to my lips and surrounding area. After one day I noticed no more itchiness or redness. Amazing!!!! Thank you so much for your information on the topic.

  78. shante says:

    another thing that works when you are in your peeling stage is johnson and johnson baby oil gel. I use it everyday in my peeling stage and it’s clearing up alot! :)

  79. So I have mentioned before that didgeridoo players can develop an allergy to propolis because the mouthpiece of their instrument is formed from beeswax (a special blend of beeswax AND propollis to be more exact). But other musicians can develop mouth and lip rashes due to many different substances or trauma to the tissue. Learn more about contact cheilitis in musicians: http://www.dermnetnz.org/site-age-specific/cheilitis-musicians.html

  80. SA says:

    My daughter had a problem like this off and on from 14 to about 22yrs old. We discovered it was worse with tinned tomatoes and sauces (popular with school pupils and students) Fresh tomatoes were fine. Eventually we had test which identified citric acid- found in tomato products. She has been free from problems for 6 years- has occasional tinned toms now with no bad effect.

  81. Yang says:

    I have this problem. I swear I thought I was the only one. Anywho, I had it at the beginning of the year. Then after some home remedies, I’m not sure which one, it went away. However, at the beginning of this week, my bottom lip line started itching and after I scratched it and went to sleep, I woke up with a swollen and itchy bottom lip. The Dr. Prescribed me some cream for Rosrea so I put some of that around my mouth and chapstick on my lips that night and went to sleep. The next morning, I woke up with red all around my mouth (I look like a clown). Same process that night and this morning, I woke up with an extremely dry and flaky red ring around my lips with extremely chapped lips. It hurts to talk or even open my mouth to breathe. What can I do to help? :(

    *note
    I realized that at the beginning of the year when I used the EOS chapstick, it started. Then I stopped and after a bit, my lips weren’t as harsh looking. Then just this past weekend before my lips started with this ugly condition, I started using the EOS chapstick again. So I think it might have a little something to do with it. Ive stopped using it completely, but its only been a day that I realized.

    • Definitely discontinue the use of anything containing beeswax. Give it a few days, it should resolve if propolis is your allergen. An antihistamine (Benadryl, Zyrtec, etc.) should help reduce the itchiness for now.

  82. lilan says:

    Mine keeps reappearing every month.

  83. Marissa says:

    So glad I stumbled upon this. I get this rash every year for the last 3-4 years starting in October. I went to the doctor this year for it because it was SO itchy and red and painful that I could not handle it. He told me that chap stick is drying (I had been applying like crazy to try to stop the itch) and not to use it. He told me use Vaseline and gave me a script for an oral steroid. I stopped the chap stick and used the Vaseline and it cleared up within a week….. For about 3 days. I woke up this past weekend at square one. I wracked my brain trying to remember what I had the day before and it’s all food I eat all the time that causes no problems during other months of the year. I researched some seasonal allergies and ragweed is bad at this time so I’m hoping it is a bad reaction to that. I’m debating an allergist appointment for allergy tests and going from there. I would cut out all products except like I said its only in the fall that I get this By January I am fine and I really am only using Vaseline…

    Thanks for all the suggestions! I am sorry other people suffer too, but glad I am not the only one!

    • My guess is not that you are having an allergic skin reaction to pollen in the air (like ragweed or sage which are big allergens in the autumn) but rather that the autumn climate (dry and breezy) is making your lips drier that usual and making you more susceptible to reacting to something they are coming into contact with. Also, steroids can suppress inflammatory reactions, so that when the steroid is no longer there, the reaction flares again. Check your toothpaste – fluoride and propolis can be problems there. Also avoid any lip gloss or lip stick for now. Let us know how you do!

  84. Joelle says:

    I came across this site while I was searching for more information about those who have horrible skin like me. I too have a rash around my lips (currently) and have been battling with my sensitive lips for 7 years. I had been using Burt’s Bees lip balm for approximately two years before I had an reaction, and then suddenly my lips started reacting to everything. After excessive patch testing, scratch testing, dermatologists, allergists, homeopathic doctors, acupuncture, and currently a naturopath, my lips still only tolerate vaseline. They itch, burn, peel, etc on the lip skin. I was diagnosed with a slight allergy to balsam of peru, which is in EVERYTHING, but I only react on the lips. I’ve also been diagnosed with mild allergies to just about all trees and dust, but again mild, and no success with allergy shots. I’ve read an absurd number of labels and tested more products in the past 7 years to count and only use products that work for me, however it is impossible to live in a bubble. Just shaking hands, touching door knobs, or touching a friend’s purse can eventually work it’s way up to my lips. Something that helped was eliminating wheat, dairy, egg and soy from my diet and my lips are better able to fight reactions.
    About 3 months ago, things went downhill (and I thought I was already at the bottom of the hill), and I now also have “clown lips” as so many of the other authors experience, where the area around the lips looks very similar to the picture on this post. Some days itchy, some days painful, but all days unsightly. When it is really bad, the only thing that calms it down is hydrocortisone, which I try to use sparingly. Since reading these posts (2 days ago) I have made great efforts to not lick my lips and use only the smallest amounts of vaseline (fragrence-free, of course). I also recently started seeing the naturopath and am taking herbs to reduce the toxins in my body, and hope to see results in the coming weeks. I’ll be sure to comment on my status.
    With such sensitivity, it was hard to find facial products that don’t cause reactions. If anyone is interested in the products I’ve found that work, feel free to ask!

    • Laura says:

      Hi Joelle,
      I would love to hear the facial products that you found that work for you. I’m just finally figuring out this may be the problem I’m having and am already wondering what in the world I am going to do for moisturizer, makeup, etc.
      Thanks!
      Laura

      • Joelle says:

        Hi Laura,
        Unfortunately the one sunscreen that worked for me starting irritating my lips a month ago, after using it for about 5 months. Prior to this I used a moisturizer by Neutrogena, but the ingredients changed. I currently only use aloe as a moisturizer and hope to get my lips under control soon to start testing products again. I think I’m an extreme case, so this might be helpful: Elta MD and CeraVe moisturizers irritated my lips mildly, especially Elta MD physical and pure, so they might work for you. As for a concealer, I luckily stumbled on MAC mineralize foundation (I just dab it on my trouble areas) early on and have continued to have success (and it’s SPF 15). As for mascara (if your eyes bother you) NARS lengthening doesn’t have any trace of beeswax and has worked for me for over a year or so. I use pencil eye liner and have had no trouble there. I’ve stayed off the vaseline and only put canola oil on my lips, which of course still flake but I think they’re getting better.
        Let me know if you have any other questions! As in shampoo, conditioner, hair products, etc.
        Good luck!!
        Joelle

        • Hi Laura and Joelle,

          Just FYI, I am working on a BeeswaxFree lip balm with SPF – hopefully I’ll have that available before winter ends. Also, I found a pressed powder foundation from Glo Minerals that I really like that does not irritate my skin. I also use an eye liner from Rimmel and the cheapest mascara from Cover Girl – they do not contain beeswax or jojoba oil. I still have to rotate shampoos/conditioners because even if they do not contain jojoba oil, most have fragrance that begins to make me itch after a month or so of use. In general, I recommend rotating your skin/hair care products and cosmetics. Find a couple that you like and alternate their use to reduce the likelihood of developing sensitivities to any one ingredient.

  85. Maria says:

    Out of all I read , your looks like the rash I have, only it’s on my back and my breasts. Thank you for all that information. I will try the cortisone cream. I forgot that it’s also very itchy on top of my head too.

  86. shall says:

    I have found this post very helpful. I have been gluten free for 3 years and then in August I developed the exact rash around my lips with the peeling. My naturopath explained the FODMAP diet, which I have tried for the last 3 weeks. I eliminated all fruits, veggies, high in excess fructose, lactose (dairy), galactan (legumes) some nuts, polyols (sweetners like sorbitol, xylitol in gum, tic-tacs, certain toothpastes etc.) I was doing better and then it got really bad. After googling it and reading this post, the only thing that has really helped is the Aveeno 1% cream and vit E oil. I used three different chapsticks, not realizing they all contained beeswax and jojoba and that could be a big part of the problem. No more chapstick! Thank you very much. I really think it is all inter-conneted, the food allergies, our immune systems, sensitivities and hormones. There are too many people with the exact symptoms to be told its just chapped lips.

    • I agree – it is often not just chapped lips for many people. And most people with the type of allergic response rashes like we here have dealt with, have “sensitive skin” in general. Clinically I see in these patients, myself included, imbalances in their digestive system and their immune system (which is definitely related to the health of the digestive system). I think all people with allergies and chronic or recurring skin problems need to clean up their diet. So good for you that you are making improvements in the food you feed your body – keep it up – you will see improvements in your skin as well as other areas of your health. Thank you for writing in and good luck to you.

  87. lauren says:

    I have had a flaky like rash above my upper lip for almoat a year. I got it done bit it won’t go away it is very red and sensitove. I use coconut oil and it will help but then the skin with break open and peel. It all started after I had cut my lip on a can. I had a small bump come and go and then the rash started. No one can give me an answer. Iv triend everything

  88. Steve says:

    I had basically the same rash and burning and tingling. I too had immediately discontinued any time of your normal store bought lotions and began only using Vaseline (or olive oil, or palm oil, i.e. a pure oil with absolutely nothing else in it). That certainly help to relieve symptoms when applied generously and 3-4 times a day. However none of this solved the problem. I also felt a fatigued and slightly cognitively impaired, similar to what one may feel if they had a sinus infection (but without the coughing, sneezing, etc). I was having trouble sleeping which seem increase inflammation. So upon reading vigorously on all the medical sites….I finally found the cause. Its simply IRON DEFICIENCY. Of course check with your doctor ( I am not one). However I had tracked my diet through an smartphone app and happened to have my iron record for the previous 10 months.. and sure enough it matched my hypothesis. I immediately started to eat some food that had high iron (cereals tend to be fortified with Iron) and purchased a multivitamin that had my daily need. Within days both my mind and face began to clear up. Even the person who started this blog, notes that they started taking Iron…..

    • That’s great that you figured out your problem. However, I caution against any individual suddenly increasing their iron intake for one reason only: possible hemochromatosis. While iron deficiency may very well be an issue for a person (esp. women), no one should just start taking an iron supplement without getting a simple blood test first to rule out hemochromatosis (more common in men). This is a condition in which the body absorbs too much iron and it can be life-threatening. If you suspect you have iron deficiency, get a simple CBC blood test from your primary care provider to be sure taking an iron supplement is safe for you. To learn more about hemochromatosis, read: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hemochromatosis/DS00455

      • Steve says:

        Thank you for pointing out a potentially serious problem. I had all of these iron test done unrelated to this recent issue in this post, about 2 years ago and the only thing that came back then was Vitamin D & B12 deficient. I come from a fairly healthy stock, no medications, stay out of the doctors office, wash my hands – no conventional flu’s or fevers or respiratory infections for about 8 years , don’t drink (other than glass of wine every couple of months), don’t smoke, no drugs..maintain a proper weight – eat organically, … its taken me my early adult life to figure out how to operate my body :) The web is so cool…everyone sharing…very nice.

  89. Nice job, Steve, keep up the good work. Yeah, wouldn’t it be nice if we all came with operation manuals so it wouldn’t take us so long to figure this stuff out? I didn’t start caring for my health until my 20′s (when I went to school to study Traditional Chinese Medicine) and I didn’t make any particular effort to take of my skin until I started developing problems. So dumb. Should’ve started all of it when I was a kid!

  90. Maree says:

    Natural Greek yoghurt applied like a mask on the affected area then rinsed off with warm water when dried really helps soothe itchiness burning and redness! I’ve struggled with this for ages as I still haven’t figured out my trigger. I’m allergic to everything!

  91. Desmond says:

    Dont drink soda or anything with acid i didnt drink it for a week and my lips were clearing up andd when sunday came i drunk some sprite and my upper lip skin got bad

  92. Erika says:

    Hi again! In February, I posted that I had a rash similar to what Diana posted. After getting patch tested for over 100 allergens I found out that I too am allergic to propolis and also ‘fragrance mix 1″. Since February, I have removed all beeswax products (and its cross-allergens… such as carnauba wax, shea butter, cinnamates, and resins) and most fragrances from my home and I have been rash free ever since. However, this week my lips started to tingle. After some thought, I realized I ate two apples this week. I was biting into them and it occurred to me that maybe they were waxed. In fact I asked Whole Foods which of their apples were not waxed and the produce guy said all of their apples are waxed! Many of their pears too. I stopped eating the waxed apples and my lips recovered. I thought I would pass this along for those of you who may be allergic to beeswax, but also tempted by all these beautiful apples in the store. From now on I will get my apples from farmer’s markets.

  93. Yes! Drives me nuts that they wax apples and pears and the like. I get all my pears from my own tree (yay!) but that is it. I buy unwaxed apples.

  94. Jessica powers says:

    I don’t know if it’s a rash or what but my lips have like little blister like stuff on them. They don’t hurt or anything but I don’t what to do to make it go away really really fast. Any suggestions?

  95. Skin Tips says:

    After cutting a lot of bad stuff out of my diet, my skin irritations are very minimal. I had no idea that the two were so closely related.

  96. chloerawrxx says:

    hello,
    i’m only 14 and i am faced with this similar rash. as you can probably tell from your own experience that it is very embaressing and i get very self-conscious when i’m at school. it is only under my bottom lip though. it doesn’t tingle/sting/burn/itch all the time but it will have sudden times when it does. when it first appeared i applied vaseline (petroleum jelly) continously through out the day, this did not work, my mum said to put a layer of sudocrem onto it but that just seemed to dry it out even more and i woke up with little red spots on my lips, these went through out the day though. i then went to my sisters and saw E45 cream and wondered if that would help as it was a lot less thick as sudocrem, i used this and it eased the itching for a little while and redness but then after a day the rash went back to the normal red colour, then my mum found some calendula cream and thought this would help, again like the E45, it helped and ive been using that for a day but now it is worse than before, i then checked ingredients to find it had beeswax (cera alba) in it, now i am really unsure with what cream i could use.. please help :(

    • I would use nothing or just olive oil. Your lips will dry and crack and feel tight for a couple of days, but then the rash will hopefully be on its way out. Hang in there! If you use simple olive oil, wet your lips with a bit of water before applying the oil – the oil will soften the skin and hold the moisture in. Also, I formulated a beeswax-free lip balm with Chinese herbs in it that are used to treat exactly these kinds of rashes. I have found that it is very soothing on irritated lips and I have not received a single complaint from my customers or patients about it causing any irritation or discomfort. It is now the only thing I ever use on my own lips. I am not saying you have to buy my product, but we do ship anywhere in the world if you are interested. I have also formulated a tinted version and I am working on a beeswax-free lip balm with SPF, too.
      BeeswaxFree Herbal Lip Balm

      • Kim says:

        After going to a dermatologist, he prescribed a steroid cream called Desonide. Another doctor gave me a prescription for a non- steroid cream, but I can’t remember the name of it right now. Obviously the important a thing is to figure out the cause of the reaction, but I also realize that it’s really embarrassing! And all I wanted was to find something that made it go away. I’m currently going through testing to figure out what my allergy is, but wanted to share my findings with y’all so far. Also, the olive oil definitely worked well, but it would still flair up with any heat (which a Texas summer didn’t help with).

  97. Robin says:

    I have been experiencing a similar problem for the last 4 months, and it seemingly was triggered by a bad sunburn on my lips. It has escalated in the last month and a half. I saw two doctors who diagnosed me with a bacterial infection, but antibiotics didn’t help. I have been seeing a dermatologist now, who said it was contact dermatitis, but the basic patch tests have all come back negative. He has me keeping track of products and eliminating things: right now I’m to go for 3 weeks off any toothpaste and see what happens, but after one week I haven’t noticed too much of a difference. I have a strong steroid ointment (hypoallergenic) that I’m allowed to use periodically. I was wondering how long it might take for the dermatitis to subside, and also, why is it that cleanser/makeup/ moisturizers would affect the lips only? If you’re allergic, shouldn’t the rash show up around eyes, and on the face in general? I have been avoiding the lip area completely with everything, and only using the ointment and Vaseline… I too am one of those sensitive skin people. Lately my scalp has been itchy and dry, in patches, as well as on my arms, somewhat. I actually started a gluten-free diet yesterday, after looking up gluten sensitivity symptoms.

  98. Emma says:

    This has definitely given me food for thought – thank you. I have had a rash, of varying severity, around my mouth for about two years. It is ranges from pink to red, always dry, sometimes flaky and itchy and this seems to go in a cycle of activity. During the 2 yrs it has spread from one small area of my bottom lip to nearly the whole of my bottom lip and top lip (although much less severe on my top lip).

    My GP suggested adding moisture and applying a topical hydrocortisone 1% cream and while i found this very effective a day or so after stopping using it it would resurface. Interestingly, i think, the area that has been affected for longest and also the only area i applied the hydrocortisone cream is the worst affected bit.

    I have a birch allergy and therefore allergic to quite a lot of fruit and obviously if i come into contact with my allergy irritants the itching really increases but presumably this is because the offending item is geting “into” the skin round my lips as it is dry/flaky/exposed….

    I’m not to sure where to start in terms of identifying the cause, finding a remedy, but i have got on well with some of the aveena body products (not sure about trying the face stuff as it is soya based…) anyway, if you have any thoughts i’d be grateful and i’ll report back on any action i take/effect.

    Really great to know i’m not alone and very grateful for all the posts to give me something to try/hope of getting over this completely.

    • Christina says:

      have you tried to change your toothpaste? I had the same rash due to my toothpaste. I use colgate regular paste. and my rash cleared up.
      ** something else I have noticed as well, is when I eat pork products my lips start to itch like crazy..!!!

  99. Jessica says:

    I have a similar rash now. I’ve had it for two months. It started out as a very light pink color and a tiny bit of flakiness/roughness. After a month, the rash grew larger and redder, and about once a week, tiny blisters would appear under my lip and ooze out liquid. I would wake up in the morning with yellow-ish crust. My doctor said it could be either contact dermatitis or herpes. The rash started after I purchased a new Burt’s Bees lip balm and used it for 3 days, so I figured it was more likely to be contact dermatitis. Three days ago, I stopped putting all store-bought products on my face: no lotion, no face washes, no medicated chapstick (which I was completely addicted to) no vasaline, no aveeno hydrocortisone cream (which I had been using 2x’s daily for a month and was not helping; eventually started burning when I put it on so I stopped). I also purchased all natural toothpaste today and will start using that tonight. I am moisturizing the rest of my face with coconut oil, and I am applying Vitamin E oil and olive oil to the rash and to my lips. On the plus side, the rest of my skin on my face looks fantastic- most of my blemishes are gone. I should have stopped using all these store-bought products years ago! But as for the rash…I can’t smile at this point, have trouble eating, and the different parts of the rash are either red or covered in hard, yellow crust. I’m doing everything in my power to not pick at the crust and the flaking skin!

    I am still left wondering what this actually is, though. The herpes cream I was prescribed is almost $100. I don’t want to spend this money if it is not herpes and I also don’t want to put this product on the rash if it really IS contact dermatitis, because it would probably be extremely irritating. Also, what if this is a fungal infection, as another commenter previously discussed? So many options. I guess I will continue cutting out all products for another week and see if it improves. It is definitely more crusty and scabby and flaky than it has EVER been, so maybe that is a sign that it’s in the process of healing? Fingers are crossed!

  100. TheGirlandTheBee says:

    I am so glad I found this blog. I have been suffering from this stupid rash on and off for a year now. Shea butter made it worst!!!!! ugh. I put cortisone cream on the rash and it helped but the area around my mouth became lighter :/
    I put 100% argan oil at night around my lips (on the rash area) and it seems to help a bit. But not always???? so confusing.
    I don’t have Vit E on hand but I WILL go get a bottle tmw morning!
    Thank you for the tips and I will let you know how it goes!!

  101. TheGirlandTheBee says:

    hi Diana, I just wanted to post an update :) So I couldn’t wait till the morning to get Vit E. I went to the organic shop in my neighborhood and got myself a roll-on Vit E, all-natural toothpaste (Nature’s Gate brand) and organic olive oil face soap (fragrance-free).
    Last night, I washed my face with the olive oil soap and brushed my teeth with the new toothpaste. For my mouth rash I put hydrocortisone 1% (very thin layer), 2-3 mins later I put the Vit E on, wait 2-3 mins then put aquaphor ointment on (also on my lips; no chapstick!!!!).
    Let me tell you….within couple hours, I saw wonderful result!!!! OMG I couldn’t even believe it. I was so excited that I kept putting on a combo of Vit E and Aquaphor together on my rash.
    This morning I woke up, the rash is almost gone!!! This is like a miracle. It was never gone this fast!!! All day today I keep the rash moisturized with Vit E + Aquaphor. There is nothing pretty to look at :/ BUT! the rash is almost gone completely now! In just one day!!! AMAZING!!!!
    Oh, I put another very thin layer or hydrocortisone 1% during the day also.
    I think I have found the right combo to fix the mouth rash that works for me. I don’t know if it’ll work for everyone else but I figured I’d share here.
    Thank you Diana for the Vit E recommendation!!!

    • That’s great. However, WEAN yourself down off the cortisone cream once you no longer need it. Apply it fewer times each day and then every other day and eventually stop using it. If you stop using the cortisone cold-turkey, the inflammation may return and then all your good work will be for nothing. Good luck.

      • TheGirlandTheBee says:

        I saw your shop and I am going to order some of your products this Thursday. Definitely will purchase the beeswax-free lip balm.
        Thank you again for the advice! SO glad I found this blog!!
        :)

  102. Jenny says:

    I Posted a few weeks back after discovering this site and relaying my own story. Since then I’ve replaced all my soap/cleansing products with ones that are sulfate free. I’m taking B vitamins and staying away from products that contain beeswax or jojoba oil. It took several weeks but has finally cleared up. I’m hoping to maintain it now but will keep you posted on the progress.

  103. Lynn says:

    I have recently discovered the cause (hopefully!) of my rash, and I thought I would share it since it was something I never would have anticipated and maybe it can help somebody else: I am allergic to gold (gold sodium thiosulfate).
    I pretty much have never worn gold jewelry in my life until about 6 months ago when I started wearing some, and a gold ring every day. I was getting a very red, blotchy, dry rash around my mouth, chin and eyelids. I had it for 2 weeks and started switching out all my chapstick, cosmetics, lotions, etc. with no luck, so I went to a dermatologist who told me it was due to the cold weather changes and licking my lips. I didn’t believe him, but I used the Topicort steroid he gave me and it went away. 2 days later the rash returned. So I went to an allergist for patch testing and within 48 hours it was clear I was reacting to gold. I did some research on it myself since I was skeptical, but apparently there is a link between titanium dioxide in cosmetics reacting with the gold particles in jewelry that get into your skin and bloodstream, causing contact dermatitis in sensitive areas, not necessarily where the allergen is touching you. The main ingredient in all of my makeup is titanium dioxide and other oxides, since I have always tried to use “cleaner” products.
    Currently, the rash is all clear except for a few spots that are still a bit dry, and the rest of my skin is slowly healing. It has been quite traumatizing to deal with this on top of acne and other things! I don’t want to exacerbate one problem by trying to heal another one. The allergist said it should also aid in clearing the eczema on my hands that I have had for years and years.
    I also found out last year that I am allergic to birch pollen (Oral Allergy Syndrome) so hopefully with avoiding those trigger foods, and now gold, I can get rid of these issues for good. I am wondering if I completely avoid gold can I still use makeup with titanium dioxide? I am still apprehensive to return to makeup with a bunch of chemicals!

    Hope this can help somebody!

    • Wonderful detective work! Thank you so much for sharing your story – I am certain your information will help others. Titanium dioxide alone will not likely be a problem for you if you are not wearing any gold, so don’t be afraid to try your cosmetics again.

  104. Jake says:

    I had a similar rash that I could not figure out the cause for about a year. After I got allergy tested it turned out I was allergic to the properties of Balsam of Peru. I was wondering whether products containing Sodium Benzoate would be safe to use?

    • Sodium benzoate is used as a preservative in food and drinks. It is a common allergen and has been linked to triggering urticaria, angiodema, and asthma. I would avoid it if possible. Have you found it in topical skin care products?

  105. Hong says:

    Hi, thank you for your informative post! I used to have eczema as a child and very occasionally as an adult, but it’s been years since I’ve had it. Recently i developed a red rash around my mouth that has fissures and is scaly. It was so sudden, but I assumed it was eczema since I had had it before. I’ve been using an ointment (homeoplasmine from france) and sometimes cetaphil moisturizing cream on it. The ointment generally works wonders for me on anything resembling eczema. Also, since I had had a random one time terrible bout with acne last year, my ayurvedic medicine / acupuncturist here in germany gave me herbs to clear the Heat and promote healthy skin. She also suggested i stop using moisturizers, so I’ve only been using a tiny bit of ghee when it gets very dry and sandalwood powder, so I can’t be reacting to a skincare product. But I always wear lipstick (to cover my extremely pale lips) and for about 5 years solely from MAC. Could I suddenly be reacting to the lipstick I’ve worn for ages? Could it be a lipstick that is old (one of them is a few years old)? At any rate, I mostly wanted to ask if it’s possible to get contact dermatitis from lipstick. It seems weird because my lips are completely fine – not dry or scaly or irritated, only the area around my mouth is having the reaction. Thanks for any help you can provide!

    • It is definitely possible to develop an allergy to one of the ingredients in your lipstick even if you have never reacted to it in the past. This is called a Type IV Hypersensitivity – you develop the sensitivity after repeated exposure to the substance. But it may be perioral dermatitis which is not an allergic response. It is also possible that the old stick of lipstick was carrying a lot of bacteria and that it caused a reaction in the nearby skin where there was a weakness (a small dry patch or a small crack). I highly recommend rotating cosmetic and facial skin care products (i.e. alternating between a couple different brands or varieties) to reduce the rick of developing a sensitivity to any one ingredient. Discontinue the lipstick for a week and see if your rash clears. If it does, the lipstick may have been the source.

      • Hong says:

        Thank you, I’ve stopped using the lipstick and it seems to be getting a bit better already after just a couple of days.

      • Hong says:

        HI again, another question… if I do in fact have Type IV Hypersensitivity to some ingredient in the Mac lipsticks I’ve been using (or Chapstick SPF15), will I never be able to use anything with that ingredient in it again? Or do I just need a break? I have very pale lips and look sickly if I don’t wear lipstick, so I’ve been somewhat of a lipstick fiend my whole adult life. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t wear any because of sensitivity to an ingredient that’s likely in many different brands! :’(
        Also, I’m not sure if it’s PD as I have no bumps. Right now everything looks mostly healed, except I woke up with a small slightly pus-y spot on my top lip, and under my bottom lip there’s a spot where it looks like I’ve scratched a thin layer of skin off.
        Thank you! This blog is helping so much; lots of great advice and helps to not feel completely alone!

  106. Ana says:

    Hi There,
    Thanks for your helpful posts on PD. I was diagnosed with it my dermatologist about 2 months ago and suffered from it for about 3 months prior. I think what caused it initially was an overuse of moisturizers and cleansers (from a natural line with only organic ingredients and no chemicals) and then what made it worse eventually was use of a cortisone cream for an extended period of time. I was on oral antibiotics for 1 month and now I’m using a topical antibiotic solution and cream for 3 months. I also wash my face with neem oil soap which seems to be the only thing that doesn’t irritate it. I’m concerned about going off the antibiotic cream (which I will have to do in a couple of months according to my Drs prescription) because my skin tends to be quite dry and I live in a very dry climate. In turn, I’m also concerned with using any moisturizer for fear that it will come back. Any suggestions on what I can use for dry skin that won’t cause the PD to return? I use hyaluronic acid derived from potatoes to moisturize other parts of my face that don’t have PD and it works ok as a moisturizer. I’m thinking of trying this on the previously affected area eventually but I’m also thinking I might need something that moisturizes more.

    Thanks for your suggestions!!

    A

    • I would avoid any moisturizers on the skin that has PD for a while after it resolves fully. And don’t fret about the eventual discontinuation of your antibiotic cream – topical antibiotics don’t really seem to help too much for PD anyway. You should be able to return to using moisturizer on the rest of your face, just don’t over do it – don’t slather it on too thick and don’t add too many layers, such as moisturizer and liquid foundation and pressed powder on top of that. Dry climate makes it tough to keep your skin hydrated, so you may consider spritzing a little rosewater on it before adding a moisturizer or facial serum. You can buy rosewater at most health food stores.

  107. Kathy says:

    All I can say is where have you been all my life? I have had the worst skin my entire life. It started in my teens and I am now in my mid forties. It all started with hydradenitis cysts in a horrible place, and then it moved on to bad cystic acne on my face. In the last 8 months I have also come down with the nightmarish red lips, itchy, burning, and to top it off I believe excema on my eyelid. So needless to say you are an angel for being on here with natural remedies. It shocked me to hear that b12 causes more acne, since i have to take it every day to keep the levels right. But it would explain some of the skin issues. I have stopped the burts bees which i used religiously every day last summer. But i was also prescribed doxcycline to control the cysts. Well come to find out i read if I am allergic to sulfa drugs, which i am, I shouldnt be taking them. So needless to say maybe thats why my face and lips have been a scratching post these past few months. Did I say nightmare? Ugh…… I need to find someone like you near me to discuss more natural ways. I for one am tired of dealing with all the skin issues. Good luck to everyone out there on the blog, its been wonderful to read everyones suggestions.

    • Where do you live? Perhaps I can recommend a practitioner near you. Also, I wonder about that eczema on the eyelid – could be an expansion of the lip rash or you may have concurrent acne and perioral dermatitis (perioral dermatitis can also have rash on/near the eyelids).

      • Kathy says:

        I dont believe it is the perioral dermatitis, at least it doesnt look like the pictures on your site. Its more dry and puffy, where sometimes my eyelid looks droopy. I was also prescribed a steroid for it, but i dont like using it. But boy, it takes the itch away superfast. I just want it gone. I never had issues with my eyes. Its to the point where im afraid to where any makeup, which yes, it feels good, but I feel i look alot healthier with it on. I live in Massachusetts , near Springfield. Thanks so much :)

        • Elizabeth tienhaara says:

          I perked up hearing the last person on your blog looking for a Practitioner near Springfield Massachusetts. I live in the Worcester Massachusetts area & would love to find someone to help with my lips. I read this week on your blog that there is a type IV hypersensitivity that happens With repeated use of the same products… That makes perfect sense, wish I had known that sooner! It seems whenever I find something that works, after length of time it produces a rash. I know I’m sensitive to titanium dioxide but now other things must be bothering me. The only thing that’s safe for my lips is pure petroleum jelly . Even the organic lipsticks that used to be ok are not anymore. I do probably need to rotate a few brands but don’t know where to start… Haven’t had a whole lot of luck ! If there are any practitioners (natural ) you could recommend that would be good also….. Thanks!

          • Kathy, here is a practitioner near you: Collins J. Allen, MAC 120 Maple St, Springfield, MA (413) 736-8329. I also highly recommend Michael Arsenault who practices in Ipswich, MA and in Woburn, MA at the Winchester Hospital Community Health Institute. Contact him via his website at http://www.internalartsacu.com He is experienced in treating eczema and related skin conditions. Tell him I sent you :)

  108. Kathy says:

    Oh and I will most definately be doing the honey/oatmeal wash. Along with the ACV . Cuz I am just one big bacteria mess apparently. Oh and to think I have menopause to look forward to next. Yikes……

  109. Kathy says:

    You are the bomb!!!! And to let you know I stopped using everything on my lips the past two days and the itch is slowly disappearing. Thanks so much bout the beeswax ordeal of yours, makes sense in my case. Hope the healing continues. .Now to get rid of all the other skin disorders would be so nice. I will look him up tomorrow morning.

  110. Lynn says:

    I posted on here about a month ago after I found out my rash was caused by an allergic reaction to gold (and I read that it can be made worse when combined with titanium dioxide, which is in my makeup). The area around my mouth has been fine, but I am still a little worried because since then, I have had the worst acne I’ve ever had in my life! (I’m 26). I still have some dry patches, too, where the rash used to be, and the mark from the patch test is still visible on my back. Is this normal? Could the acne be caused by the toxins leaving my body or something entirely different? Thinking I might have to go see a dermatologist again…thanks!

    • The dry patches and the lingering mark from the patch test are pretty normal. Give the skin a little more time to heal. Are you taking any B vitamins? Vit B6 and Vit B12 can aggravate acne.

  111. Jenny Rimkus says:

    Ever since finding your blog a month ago my life has literally turned around. After suffering on and off from PD for 2 years, I’ve been able to successfully keep it at bay by doing simple things like switching my toothpaste, not using products with sulfates, keeping away from beeswax and jojoba oil lip balms, and taking B vitamins. I even started using Jergens Daily Glow Facial Moisturizer and the faint red discoloration has faded away. Thank you for giving me back my life!

    • Jenny, you are so welcome. Comments like this make me feel like the hard work I put into sharing this information is all worth it! Thank you for that. And thank you for sharing your story. All you readers who take the time to write about your story are truly helping so many other readers who suffer from the same issues. SO thank you to all of you!

  112. Thia Ley says:

    I have been suffering with this same symptom since winter of 2008. I have wasted alot of time and money going to doctors when all it seems to be is this Beeswax sensitivity. I, like the rest of you have tried everything because I am tired of walking around town looking like a clown! Something that I am doing finally seems to be working…I am a Huge Fan of Braggs Organic vinegar, for it cleans your body and flushes toxins from the inside. I drink an ounce twice a day in my Vegetable juice and I use a cotton ball and apply it to the rash. It seems to be working, It is drawing and drying the rash…Now I plan to put nothing on my lips as long as I can take it. But I have noticed if I put 100% pure Shea butter on my lips at night that the redness is almost non existant by morning….I just started doing this a couple days ago so I will keep you posted.

  113. Emma says:

    I posted a while ago and although I haven’t been able to find an obvious allergy link i have made some progress. A different GP suggested eczema and that I use ointments instead of creams as they have less ingredients and therefore less likely to irritate my sensitive skin. I noticed dramatically good effects in dryness, peeling and redness after using Epaderm for just one day. Nearly two weeks on the rash has almost gone, but i have been in this position before so i’ll see if it works and clearing it up entirely.

  114. Emma says:

    ooh forgot to say she has told me to take a good multi vitamin with the highest vitamin C level i could find…not sure if it’s helping but can;t do any harm I guess!

    • I would also suggest fish oil capsules in addition to the Vitamin C. I prefer Standard Process Cataplex C as the best supplement source of Vitamin C – most of the other brands are crap made from GMO corn.

  115. Susan says:

    I have been suffering with an itchy, red rash around my lips for about a year. It begins with itching, burning, tenderness then turns dry & chapped. It comes & goes so I’ve not been able to pinpoint the cause. I’ve blamed it on my dogs, my pillow, melatonin, Estroven, arthritis medicine. I constantly use lip balms to try & relieve the symptoms, never realizing that could be the culprit. I am wondering what you think of Emu oil as a treatment. My massage therapist recommended it for inflamation. I use Beauticontrol skin care & the list of ingredients in it is very extensive. How can I determine if it’s causing it?

    • A couple of ways to test if you are allergic to a topical substance: Apply the product to inner crease of your elbow (the antecubital fossa) 3 times per day for 4 days in a row. If you are allergic, chances are you will develop a rash there (though this is not a definitive test for mild allergies). You could also stop the use of any product containing the suspicious ingredient(s). If you stop the product that has a long list of ingredients, it will be challenging to determine which one is the cause. To be honest, I would put the following ingredients on the top of the list of culprits if you use lip balm often: propolis (in beeswax), jojoba oil, shea butter, lanolin, “fragrance”, citrus essential oils. If your lip balm contains any of those ingredients, stop using it for a couple of weeks and see if the rash resolves. I do not know much about the therapeutic properties of emu oil. It is rendered from the fat of emus and I do not use any topical products with ingredients in which the animal was killed to obtain the ingredient, so I have never tried it. Can anyone else comment on the effectiveness of emu oil for skin inflammation/rashes?

    • Susan says:

      Its been 3 days since I posted about my problem. I have stopped using all lip balm except white petroleum protectant & coconut oil, which feels amazing. My lips are so much better!

  116. Emma says:

    thanks for the info re vitamin c and the allergy testing…i put stuff on my wrist once with no reaction, but will try your method…just in case :)

  117. Janine says:

    Hi,
    I found this blog, just last night, and it sounds like my situation on again and off again for the past 2 years (more on again really). I started by trying every lip chap under the sun, which didn’t work. I mentioned it to my doctor on multiple occasions and have not been sent to a dermatologist or allergist or provided with any suggestions about how to deal with it. I started using Lip conditioner SPF 15 by Blistex and was heavily relying on that as my source of relief, but I am still red and sore. In October 2012, I found that taking a Reactine helped with the itching and soreness.
    With your advice thus far, I have stopped using the Blistex lip conditioner, I am using just olive oil when things get really dry, I am using petroleum jelly on top of the olive oil for night times and I plan on start taking a vitamin B asap. As well I will take Reactine at night time. I have called my toothpaste company about the use of jojoba oil or beeswax and they assured me it is not in Colgate total. I use Norwex face cloths to wash my face, no soap required. I am finding it particularly difficult to not lick my lips when I eat, I am trying my best to be very aware. Do you have any other suggestions at this point and where do I go from here? (My lips are crazy, crazy, dry!) Thanks for the all the wonderful advice and giving others hope that this can be dealt with. Hopefully I will be able to get this nasty situation under control sometime soon, and resolved for good.

    • Hi. Thanks for sharing your story. First and foremost, I would switch to Tom’s of Maine toothpaste WITHOUT fluoride for a little while to see if that is part of the problem. I looked up the Norwex cloths you mention, but I could not tell if they contain any ingredients other than the dyed fabric itself. But if the rash is only your lips/around your mouth, then I do not suspect those cloths are a concern. We do not have Reactine here in the US, so I had to look that up as well. Reactine is an antihistamine – while this is helpful to reduce allergy symptoms, antihistamines can be really drying. See if you can comfortably wean yourself off of it. Maybe only use it every other night to start. So for now, try switching to a non-fluoride toothpaste, reduce the Reactine if possible, and I would also recommend taking fish oil caps (for the omega 3 fatty acids) in addition to the B vitamins. Good luck and keep us posted!

  118. sarah says:

    HI! I have been going through the same thing for the past 3 years.or so.. I have grown up with excema and have in the past 3 years developed a sensitivity to many things. It’s been painful and sometimes I think i figured it out exactly what the allergy is then something else causes an allergy. My mouth has gotten worse than your photos :( My eye lids have swollen up on numerous occasion. I first thought it was vitamin E oil. But it’s also citrus from fruit and probably oils. I never considered beeswax… I believe there is something else which was in a product recently…my eyes lids swell so I can’t even see! I often look like I’ve licked my lips to death!! I have done a tonne of google searches and I found your posting the most helpful.
    I also didn’t react very well to reactine antihistamine…the list of troubles go on! I’m trying to pin point it.
    I’m also trying to find products that I can use such as moisturizers for face. Does anyone recommend products?

  119. My mom has this and 100% shea butter helps aswell. :)

  120. Sal Parker says:

    Just stumbled upon this place. I too have a severe case of what you are all talking about. Started in November and recurred thru May last year. Sounds like I over-medicated myself by reading most of the posts. Again this past Nov. it surfaced again and here in Feb, my lips are really on fire and I have ‘Mad-Clown’ face going on. Scared to try anything but a cold wet washcloth, I have no health ins., so doctor visits are out of the question with specialists upon specialists and tests upon tests ~ The itch drives me crazy, and for this nite, I shall try the olive oil suggestion. Thanks to all who gave me great insight !!

  121. Nyliram says:

    I have had this rash since December. I use ChapStick brand chapstick and Lubriderm (Daily Moisture & Advanced Therapy) lotion on my face. Do you recommend that I stop using these products? It got really bad when I drank alcohol one night, so I am cutting out alcohol. My bottom lip looks exactly like your picture up top. I don’t use any other face products. Help please!

  122. Rachel says:

    In the last year and a half, i’ve developed eczema that did not want to go away, and it all started as a small patch at the corner of my mouth.. At that time, my Doctor would prescribe me Protopic, a type of non-steroid oilment for eczema. It went away shortly after, but it kept coming back. But a year ago, it suddenly manifested to a big rash around my mouth and down to my neck. So during that time I switched up to all natural face washes, moisturizers.. etc But I had no idea it was related to the types of food i ate till I saw an acupuncturist, I had to avoid seafood, spicy food, as well as foods that were too greasy or fried. It took months for it go down, it only started healing just before summer, during the summer I kept it at bay by avoiding certain foods and eating right. I know I have slipped when the corner of my mouth splits. I do get it more frequently during the winter, so I would usually watch what i eat and make sure I apply lip balm on my lips.. But I just had a flare up and I happen to chance upon your blog and I’m definitely folllowing some of your tips! The redness did not last as long after each meal.and it is starting to heal up nicely! Thank you!!

  123. kristen says:

    I have been having this same problemI since June of last year… Just about when I think I have figured it out and it gets better, it flares back up. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what is causing it, but I know for certain that beeswax, tea tree oil and tomatoes really set my lips on fire. I switched toothpaste a few weeks ago, as I realized mine had tea tree oil in it. I’m hoping that will help over time. I decided this week to start keeping a detailed food log, because I feel like there must some foods triggering it too… I do find this blog and the other one about Beeswax Allergy very helpful. I’m glad to know I’m not crazy… I might consider allergy testing if I can figure it out soon. I really want my lips to feel normal again! I just ordered some of the Beeswax Free Lip Balm from Zi Zai to give it a try. I hate not having something to put on my lips.

    • Thia Ley says:

      I had the same issue, started in 2008 and would come and go, My issue may have been Beeswax, but people can also get that reaction from ASPARTAME…I cut out Beeswax and stopped drinking diet soda and it’s been two months now and it is totally healed….Everyone that uses Aspartame should look up Aspartame toxicity and see what it does to you….BAD STUFF!

  124. AaronAaronr says:

    I am having a hard time finding any toothpastes free of propolis? Does anybody know which Toms of Maine is the propolis free one? I can’t even find it online. Any advice would help, thank you!!

  125. Emma says:

    I may have my answer!! I tried no toothpaste (just an electric brush and mouth wash – urgh!) for two weeks with no improvement. During this time I also stopped using my Liz Earle face wash, toner and moisturiser and used Nitrogena deep clean instead (which it turns out although has none of the trigger ingredients mentioned here made my rash so much worse) and trying not to wear make up on my mouth/chin area to no affect. However, i have been applying epaderm repeatedly throughout the day and although it made it feel better and reduced the pealing I still had the red rash/clown look. I have washed my face with the epaderm ointment for two nights and I woke up this morning and could see the line of my bottom lip for the first time in about a year! I could have cried. It is soooooo much better. i’m hoping another few days will see the rash off completely…… I’ll try going back to my face wash when it’s all better and see what happens, but it may take me a while to be brave enough to stop washing with the epaderm….

  126. Suzanne says:

    Comrades in Suffering: I an delighted to say I have stopped my rash in only 24 hours. Background….Like so many described, I had persisant rash with swelling that tingled, burned and itched. At first breakout, I thought it was fever blister, even though I have never had one before in my entire life. It went away, only to spring up in another location. Then I started using Abreva and I was got some improvement, but as soon as I stopped, the rash came back. My GP prescibed an antibiotic which I never took. Every morning I awoke to swollen, burning lips, so miserable that I have an appt with my dermatologist scheduled. Like everyone else, I didn’t know if my problem was herpes or allergy or fungus. I spent an entire evening reading on the net about this, and found this board invaluable to know what everyone else and tried that didn’t work. This is what I did……First, I ditched my flouride-filled, whitening toothpaste and am currently using my toddler’s training toothpaste until I a new one for me. Based on reading on another site, topical zinc oxide was recommended for herpes. I personally am a big believer in apple cider vinegar because its alkalinity acts as a disinfectant for bacteria and virus. I spent one entire day at home “soaking” my top lip in a diluted mix of water and vinegar (1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons vinegar) in order to change the pH of the area…just let it sit on my lip like a milk mustache. At night I coated my upper lip with zinc oxide cream, (same thing that is in baby diaper rash ointment, but I used plain to avoid the smell) The next morning, no redness, no swelling, no itch. My lips were dry in the effected areas but I left them like that until I had to go out, then put light coat of vaseline. Second day, my lips are normal…..I will continue to do the vinegar rinse and zinc application at night for a day or two. Still not certain if this was allergy to toothpaste, a viral infection, or fungus, but this worked for me. Good luck mates!!!

    • Suzanne says:

      Couple more facts….This had been a problem for me for many months and the red, swollen, itchy areas involved both the lip and the skin above the lip ( therefore, it was NOT perioral dermatitis which is only around the lips, not on them) and most recently I developed a line of white dots inside my upper lip which were sensitive. Those too have receded. Also, I used organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (has much more healing qualities that regular apple cider vinegar. A well-known name brand is Bragg, easily available)

      • Amyster says:

        Your symptoms sound exactly like mine! I have a line of white dots inside my lip as well, almost like canker sores but really small and they have been lasting for months. My lips are constantly swollen, itching and burning and sometimes turn super red. How is your home treatment going? Any suggestions for me?

  127. anu says:

    I also went through this.. but my condition was worse.. it all started when i tried an organic lip balm which had beeswax as its main ingredient.. after few days of continuous application of that lip balm my lips became dry and the skin around lips started getting red.. and after few days the whole area around lips became red, swollen, painful.. i went to atleast 4-5 doctors for this.. at last after 3 months of unease my uncle who owns a medical store told me that i have some kind of infection and he gave me an antibacterial ointment to apply on the skin around the lips.. and the redness and swelling went away within 2 hours but the uncomfortable dryness was still there i always had to apply something moisturizing to keep the dryness at bay.. and its been another 3 months since i m suffering from flaking and dryness ( no swelling like before) of skin.. i tried everything i found on internet but it just didnt go away.. but yesterday i stumbled upon your page and i read that there is something like beeswax allergy and it struck me that it all started when i used that beeswax lip balm.. n i was still using a neutrogena and a body shop lip balm religiously both had beeswax in them.. and its only been one day since i discontinued both of them and i see less dryness and flaking of skin.. I wrote this much because i really wanted you to know that i was really uneasy most of the time due to this condition for long time almost 7 months and i didnt realized the cause of it until i read your article.. thank you so much..

  128. Abi says:

    Hi there,

    Thanks you so much for all of your information and comments. I know this post is an old one and hope that there may be still some comments going on, on this topic. I have exactly same rash BUT am unable to identify what causes it – have had two allergy tests and they throw up usual things – dairy, yeast etc, which I avoid for a week or so, but doesnt seem to have an impact. This makes me think it is something in the environment – eg something I put on or come into contact with.. BUT i have tried changing creams, no facecream etc. and still cant find cause. Does anyone have any advice on what works and doesnt work to diagnose cause of irritant? Anyone tried patch testing?

    THanks so much
    A

    • vanessapeters says:

      You may need to try a more extensive allergy test – mine was Balsam of Peru (just do a Ctrl + F here on this page to read all of the back comments about BoP) and it was discovered through patch testing.

  129. Tiffany says:

    Hi, I have redness around my lips that seem to get worse after brushing my teeth, washing my mouth, and eating. I really want to try your methods, what is a safe dosage to buy for Vitamin B complex? I’ve read that taking too much vitamin B can be dangerous. Thanks!

    • Couple of things: 1. I suspect you may have an allergy to fluoride (somewhat common). Try using a toothpaste that is fluoride-free (Tom’s of Maine and others make them) and avoid drinking tap water if you have city water that is fluorinated. 2. I have recently gotten an amazing education on the use of vitamins and nutritional supplements and I am completely changing my recommendations for their use in skin-related issues. Don’t go buy any vitamins from the store. I hope to write a blog post about this aspect of skin treatment in the next couple of weeks, so check back again to learn more.

  130. Paola says:

    Thanks for the great tips! I hope you are still responding to comments. I also have the same issue red itchy rash on my upper lip. I’ve tried your tips to stop the redness and itchiness and has worked! I too was allergic to most lip balms. Oh, and you know what else causes flareups (at least for me)? Prespiration. Unfortunately, as the rash is getting better, it’s left a darker discoloration there. Do you have any tips for this? I’m afraid of putting anything on there lest the rash come back.

    • Hyperpigmentation can remain for a little while after a rash heals – this is common and in most cases will resolve on its own. But stay the heck out of the sun! Vitamin C (internally and topically) can help lighten it, too. But I do not recommend using a cream on this area just yet. If you are the kind of person that needs to do something (like me, I always feel I need to be proactive, plus I have very little patience!) I would recommend our RosaceaHerbal Facial Serum. This particular serum is naturally high in vitamin C (it is in the delicate oils that the serum contains) plus the herbs in this formula were designed for red, sensitive skin. So applying a drop or 2 of that may help your skin heal faster. Best wishes to you – glad you got rid of the rash!

      • Paola says:

        Thanks so much! Yes, I am definitely in the proactive category and want to do something now, but you’re right, anything that I’ve tried to put on there to brighten it a bit has left me itchy again. So yes, I will definitely hold off on putting something on there but will look into the rosacea herbal serum you recommend! Thanks again!

  131. Alan says:

    So I’ve had this rash thing for years, reddish sensitive skin around the mouth. sometimes flaky too when it gets bad. it always get better and worse and super annoying. I’ve tried all the tips on here and avoiding any irritant I can think of but still no help. So after wasting a bunch of money on creams and ointments and little improvement. I finally listened to my parents and tried acupuncture. the doctor told me the rash was eczema and there was a lot of “heat” there (other dermatologists told me I had eczema before but only prescribed me a bunch of steroids, that did help a little but the rash always came back :( so I didn’t really feel like continuing the use of steroids) anyways, she wanted to put a bunch of needles around my mouth and a few on top of my head. I was extremely skeptical and scared but I was also desperate for a solution so I gave it a go. The needles stayed on for half an hour or so before she plucked them out again. she also gave me some cream she made from herbs to take home. I had the acupuncture treatment in the afternoon and the same night after I took my shower my redness had gone down at least 90% and zero flaking. this was about 2 weeks ago and the skin around my mouth now has only a little pinkish now. which I’m perfectly okay with compared to what I had to deal with before. my routine now is a moisturizer during the day and her herbal cream at night. And she did tell me to stay away from food that’s acidic, hot, oily/fried, and meats.

    so moral of the story.. for the people that has tried everything and nothing works.. give acupuncture a go. it was very expensive for me because my insurance didn’t cover ($145 first time and $80 second treatment) but it worked better than any cream I’ve bought. Just make sure you do your own research and find an acupuncturist that’s legit and specializes in dermatology. she also said it’s likely for my rash to come back but I guess I’ll just do another treatment when that happens :(

  132. Rairai says:

    Ive been suffering this for over than 3 years & i have been using berts bees & premium jelly. this did not help on my bad days & it makes me feel like im not suppose to be smiling. & it makes me insecure even around my boyfriend. Like who can like a girl with crusty lips? & my parents dont even do anything about it. Sometimes it would make water come out & its so irritating. I hope this works

  133. Emma says:

    Having had a similar rash almost constantly for 18 mths I ended up getting patch tested and it turned out I’m allergic to colophony, balsam of peru, gold, nickel and colbalt. What did surprise me was that after the patch testing it took at least a week for the reactions to reduce and in case anyone is trying to figure out what might be causing their rash it takes 2 -4 days for my reactions to occur and I don’t necessarily have to use a product I am allergic to on my mouth area…i’m not sure if this is some sort of weak area for me or perhaps more likel i’m just touching my lip area after using/touching something I’m allergic too. One more thing my consultant recommended washing in Aveeno moisturiser only as something that usually doesn’t irritate people and also Neutrogena norwegian formula lip balm is usually ok and finally to use toothpaste without cinnamic acid e.g. arm and hammer brand. I hope this helps….this site certainly set me on the path to figuring this out so thank you so much.

  134. Stacy says:

    It’s a zinc deficiency. I suffered for years with dry peeling skin around mouth and tried everything.Changed diet, cortizones chapsticks, oils, different makeup, whatever. Take a zinc supplement and in like a day you’ll be fine.

  135. Carina Fuller says:

    I am so glad I found this posting as I also have been suffering from this condition since childhood on and off. I have had eczema all my life on and off and sensitivity to various foods and allergies to pollen and dust. I live a super healthy lifestyle, no gluten, hardly any dairy. Triggers for me are spices, eating nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, cayenne,…and other spices) and fruits (all berries, mango, apples, pears, peaches, plums). It’s really depressing, as most foods need some spice or at least tomatoes in them to taste good!

    What works for me is Protopic. It really works with 2 applications and heals the lips completely (they look like the photo you posted above). I don’t like using it much as it suppresses the immune system which can’t be a good thing in the long run, but it helps to get the rash under control. I just wonder if there is a complete cure that would allow one to eat normally again?! Ever? I would definitely stay away from cortisone creams on the face. They are just a topical temporary relief and in the end result in more trouble than doing good (skin thinning, making skin more prone to infections, chronic dryness etc).

    One thing that really helped and that is 100% natural is Dr.Lipp’s nipple balm. I know it sounds funny, but boy was I surprised when I sued it! It’s medical grade, pure lanolin and you only need to apply a small amount once a day and it is the ONLY thing I have tried in my 25 years of exploration, that doesn’t result in dry flaky lips after some use. It keeps lips moist and subtle and let’s them heal properly. It also protects them from liquids that might trigger a reaction. So definitely highly recommend this.

    But regardless of all the nice topical treatments I am still at my wit’s end when it comes to a long-term solution. If this means avoiding 50% of my food source- kill me now!

    Thanks for the posts and advise all!

  136. Vienna Vukotic says:

    I am so happy to find this blog! Imhave had a rash around my mouth for years and occasionally is disappears but for the most part I have it. I am having a really hard time making a connection and most doctors tell me its Seborrheic Dermatitis and advise me to use hydrocortisone on my scalp, oddly enough using medicine on my scalp actually helps the area around my mouth. I try not to use the meds for obvious reasons but I feel so lost about what to do. I think hormones are part of my problem and the less I eat the better it becomes. Hard to do for a girl that loves to eat! Just happy to know that I am not alone here.

  137. Tula says:

    i think i am allergic to jojoba too! I put a few drop in with my regular lotion and the next day it felt and looked like a terrible chemical burn all around my mouth ad chin where I had put it for extra moisturization cause I get terrible cystic pimples from pms. I am so happy to have found your article I couldn’t find anyone else who had this happen. Did your reaction feel like a chemical burn and cause you skin to be extremely dry and chapped looking? I have alot of coverage for acupuncture that I haven’t used I’m going to go ASAP. Thank you so so much for this post and follow up.

  138. Mike R. says:

    Wow! Here is my story. It is a little graphic but it might help some of you help me! About 1 month ago I was at an all day boat party (in the sun)and had a 24 hour date that made me feel like I was in high school (I am 30). During this time, I must have spent at least 3 hours kissing, and my girlfriend (this was the first week we knew each other) likes to bite and suck a little bit on my bottom lip. I also gave her oral sex that night and she had abrasive shaved pubic hair.
    I woke up the following morning with a tingling, someone numb, red lip, especially around the border of the lower lip. The following day or two it chapped and cracked, both on the lip and around it.
    I went to the Dermatologist and he ruled out cold sore, or herpes and said it was just cheilitis and gave me Mycolog – an steroid cream with an anti fungal in it.
    I took that for two weeks with no improvement.
    I still have this redness and one area of it is very sensitive…it gets a slight burning sensation with creams, etc.
    I have been using Jojoba as a moisturizer for months with only positive results so i do not think it is related to that.
    I still see my girlfriend once or twice a week and we do a lot of kissing, so she might be the culprit…I don’t lick my lips, but obviously the kissing gets the area wet with saliva, etc.
    The dermatologist wanted to give me a steroid so strong I need to wash my hands if I get it on them!! No WAY!!
    He barely even looked at me. I don’t trust him in the least..
    I am going to try washing my mouth and brushing with hot water to avoid getting toothpaste on the area and maybe the apple cider vinegar too.
    This is so WEIRD!!!!

    • Couple of things to think about here. You could have had a combo of things going on or just one – a bit more detective work will help figure it out. The initial reaction on your lips could have been sunburn and the kissing, etc. could have made it WAY more irritated. HSV (herpes, a.k.a. cold sore) would take longer to develop if you caught it from her, so just considering the timing I would rule that out. Stop using the jojoba oil – you may not have reacted to it before this incident, but it can be an irritant to some people with sensitive or irritated skin. It is entirely possible that you are allergic to your girlfriend’s saliva (how crappy would that be? I hope that is not the case). Perhaps it is just a temporary irritation from the saliva. Babies who are teething can develop eczema-like rashes on their face because they are reacting to their own saliva. Forget the steroids – they are not going to do any long-term good anyway. My suggestion (and you do not have to follow what I say because this forum is for educational purposes, not for me to give out treatment plans) would be to give up kissing (and etc!) your girlfriend for 2 weeks. Give your lips a break – they need time to heal. I know, I know, it will feel like an eternity, but when you return to it the fireworks will be there again like that first night, so consider trying it. During the 2 week lip-vacation, consider some of the suggestions other readers have suggested – avoid fluoride toothpaste, avoid beeswax products, avoid jojoba oil, don’t eat mangoes, don’t overwash the skin, and use LUKEWARM (not hot) water when you do wash your face. Report back to us…this is an interesting case. Good luck…I’m sure your gal will want your lips to be healthy so she should be on board with the short break.

  139. Ryan says:

    One more. I have a rash but I’m not sure my symptoms are the same as most of the other post. I have no pain or sensitivity from the rash and it usually does not itch. The rash is not symmetrical, its at the edge and under my lower lip from one corner to almost the middle and on the other side is only a tiny spot that I can’t usually see but I feel it. The main symptoms are the tightness of the skin an tingly at times. The redness is usually there but at times is barely noticable.I rarely ever use lip balm or any thing at all on my lips. When I first noticed the dry skin feeling about 3-4 weeks ago I thought it was chapped lips but after a few days I noticed it was not my lip. About 8 days ago I was at a party and spent a lot of time outdoors so the area was itchy/tingly and red. That night I rubbed some Vick’s vapor rub on the area. The next day there was flakey dry skin that fell off. The rash seemed to be getting better over the next several days. A few days ago I noticed the tightness more, so I used some EOS lip balm for 2 days and the rash now seems to be speading. I don’t think the EOS is the issue. I just wish I could figure this out. I have tried a topical antibiotic ointment and an anti fungal cream with no noticable effect. Is it common for the rash to be non-symmetrical and painless? Thanks for your information.

  140. tulipgarden says:

    Hi Can I ask how did you find out you are sensitive to jojoba oid? some kind of test?

    • One of the simplest ways to test for skin reactions to topical substances (jojoba oil or any cosmetics) is to apply it on the antecubital fossa of your arm (the crease between your upper arm and lower arm). Apply the substance in the exact same spot for 3 or 4 days in a row (don’t wash it off). If the skin itches or gets red – avoid that substance in the future. If no reaction, you are probably not sensitive to that substance. Do not test more than one substance at a time or you won’t know which one caused the reaction.

  141. Erin says:

    My 15 mo old has the rash around the mouth that her doctor has diagnosed to be contact dermatitis. I have a sneaking suspicion its food related, since I’ve noticed that sometimes it rednnens in color after she eats. I’ve cut out some foods like tomatoes, but I can’t pin point anything specifically triggering it. She’ll get spots under her eyes as well if I don’t catch her in time and she rubs her eyes while she eats. The doctor to,d me to use the hydrocortisone creams. Thankfully the pharmacist gave me stern instructions to the point where I used it delicately for two days, didn’t see much of a change and have since stopped. What suggestions do you have for me to use to help her? From what I can tell, it doesn’t bother her, she doesn’t scratch at it or show any signs of being irritated by the rash. It’s more just a visual bother. It’s been persistent for about a month and a half now.

  142. e-beth says:

    Thanks everyone for the helpful info!
    I have had a few occurrences of what my doctor called contact dermatitis on my lips: starts with tingling, then redness and swelling, sometimes small pustules, then crusty patches and peeling. I did a bunch of internet research and found that common causal irritants are peppermint oil, “lip plumbers,” long-wearing lipsticks and stains, beeswax (bummer! I was a Burts Bees fan!), vitamin E, as well as many other options. I threw out all my products with peppermint, beeswax, lip stains and vitamin E; and just used vaseline per doctor’s recommendation. Some of the medical sites suggested using lip products that are more waxy textured and less “glossy,” which has been consistent with my experience. I tried out a variety of new lipsticks after the rash had cleared, and threw away anything that gave a tingle. I even found a couple of inexpensive, matte-finish “long wearing” lipsticks that have worked fine for intermittent use. That worked for over a year and a half.

    I’ve had a new bout with the same symptoms for over a week. Reading comments above, I think that factors in my recent relapse may be high stress, use of the same products repeatedly (not rotating enough), high-fluoride toothpaste, and/or a recent grapefruit juice jag. I’ll check in if I get identifiable relief. I’ll also look into your no-beeswax lip balm.

    Thanks for everyone’s input, and good luck!

  143. mary says:

    Hi.
    I get severe redness around my mouth when i eat any sorts of food. No burning no irritation just redness of the skin which is very noticable. I have dropped down to a size 6 because i will not eat in front if anyone now. This has been persistent everytime iv eaten for the last 5 years and will usually clear up within an hour of eating. I am 22 and my dermatologist has prescribed me protopic but this has aggrivated the redness. I will occassionaly wake up to red itchy bumps around my mouth area but not always.

  144. mary says:

    Continued..
    The skin around my mouth is very dry and its so humiliating because iv tried everything. I dont wash with soap my skin is very sensitive around mouth area and my dermatologist says it could be atopic dermatitis but the treatment is not working. Please help.

  145. Hana says:

    I’ve read through all of the comments and am surprised to not have read anything about impetigo!

    My story begins with an itchy patch of skin right below my lip that kept flaking and which I kept peeling off. I was pregnant and had suffered from bouts of itchy lips, esp the edges but had no idea what it was. Kept track of foods but couldn’t come up with anything and did not even think it could be the organic lip balms I’ve been using for years! But anyway, I gave birth and the next day the itchy patch of skin was now weeping and crusty. This had never happened to me before so I just wiped it away but it kept on weeping. Eventually over the next few days my whole lips were crusted with honey colored weeping with red swollen lips that were itchy and burning and tiny bumps. I couldn’t even open my mouth more than a cm, it was horrible. After researching online it was either cold sores or impetigo which are both very contagious–I had unintentionally spread it onto the rest of my lips by messing with the original patch.
    Once I figured it was impetigo, I started trying every single natural remedy to stop it. Tea tree oil, a special salve of essential oils, raw garlic, garlic pills, raw honey, coconut oil, then Camphophenique, more supplements (Vit C, probiotics, multivitamin, etc) and my lips would start healing and then suddenly flare up again! I traced it to tomato products (i.e. Pizza) and sugar so cut those out of my diet. Looking back I was also using lip balm when lips started healing and then it would flare up badly. But it was not healing completely and I was so sick of not being able to kiss my husband and babies so I finally went to the derm after three horrible long months.

    I got a round of antibiotics after culture tests came back as staph infection (impetigo) and it started healing. It wasn’t completely healed after I was done with the rx but I thought there was hope it would still heal in time. Went back for a checkup with derm and she suggested a different antibiotic and steroid cream which I thought was stupid at the time so I didn’t pick up right away.
    I wanted to wait a few more days before doing back to back antibiotics but then I put on more lip balm to help relieve the dryness and BAM another weeping mess of a reaction with huge red burning lips. I picked up my rx right away and in two days my lips were healing right up with a little more help from rx steroid cream and antibiotic ointment.
    After finishing the antibiotics I used coconut oil to moisturize the lips but it kept flaking and so I kept peeling so my lips are raw in patches. Right now my lips are being kept naked (tried vaseline but lips kinda hurt) but are flaking and peeling and I’m trying with all my might not to pick at it.

    I ordered your beeswax free lip balm and tinted version and tried them on half of my lips but felt a bit of a reaction so I’m waiting on using them again.
    I’ve never had a problem with my lips for this long so I’m scared they’re never going to get better at this point. But I’m so glad to have found this blog post and to read about other ppl’s experiences and wanted to add another story.

    • Impetigo is whole different disease than allergic contact dermatitis (I plan to write a new post where I cover many different types of rashes that can affect the mouth/lips). Impetigo is a bacterial infection that has a tendency to become recurrent. However, it responds quite well to internal Chinese herbal treatment, which I prefer over the use of steroids and antibiotics because Chinese herbs do not have the negative systemic affects that steroids and antibiotics do. I am glad you brought this topic up. Allergic contact dermatitis can have redness, itching and sometimes even papules (little bumps), and if it is severe it can present with weeping and crusting or blisters. However, if there is weeping and crusting then impetigo is definitely a consideration, and if there are blisters, then HSV (herpes/cold sore) must also be ruled out. Dermatologists can usually diagnose these diseases upon visual inspection. And if this is the first time a person experiences such a rash, they should see a dermatologist for proper diagnosis. Impetigo and herpes are highly contagious and you should know what you are dealing with so you can properly treat it and/or manage it. Impetigo is curable, herpes currently is not. Here is more about impetigo: http://www.dermnetnz.org/bacterial/impetigo.html

  146. Casey says:

    Hi all
    Thanks for the wonderful information.
    I took an antibiotic earlier this year (recurring severe chest infection), After the course, I noticed a tiny patch of rash on the corner of my mouth. It itched, flaked, and even cracked open. Dermatologists thought it was Candida and they gave me steroid creams which didn’t work. The skin blackened around the rash and became really thin so fissures (new and old ones) would heal and reappear. Then the dermatologist suggested an antibiotic cream (suspected dermatitis) which seems to have cleared up the infection/reaction, but the skin is so thin and irritated that the crack/fissures keep happening. I’ve stopped the antibiotic cream and have begun slathering on Vaseline and Aquaphor. I even went on a Yeast detox and I’m currently trying to leave the skin untreated (except for Aquaphor/Vaseline) to see how it heals itself. As I write this, I notice a slight tingling and itching in that area.
    You suggest not peeling the flaking skin off which I’d been doing. My question is : am I slowing down the flaking/healing process by putting on too much Vaseline? Because I can’t see the flaking happening when the skin is moisturised. But if I leave it unmoisturised, then the fissuring happens again. What do I do?
    BTW: I suspect that this rash was caused by switching to organic/botanical facial products earlier this year (Pangaea Organic – Willowbark). At the same time I’d also begun taking Bee Pollen and local honey (to fight hayfever) and using Beeswax for my hands. I tend to use the beeswax before going to bed and I sometimes sleep with my hand cupping my cheek. This rash has been going on since April of this year and I’m still trying to narrow down the cause.
    Thank you all for the helpful suggestions.

  147. Sam says:

    Thanks so much for a great product. I just began using the balm today to address a painful, red, raw rash around and on my lips. Can you give an estimated timeframe for when I can expect to see improvements? Many thanks!

    • How long have you had the rash? The length of time it takes for a rash from allergic contact dermatitis to heal varies depending on how bad the reaction was, how long your skin has been reacting, and how sensitive your skin is. Generally you will see the following happen if you have removed ALL possible allergens from contacting the skin:
      First the rash will stop getting worse. After a day or 3, the itchiness and redness will decrease. For some people the rash may be completely gone after 1 week but for others it may take more time. Typically the rash should be completely healed within 3 to 4 weeks (usually sooner). This assumes your skin is not coming into contact with any amount of the offending substance that caused the rash in the first place.

  148. Sam says:

    I’ve had the raw, itchy, burning redness around my lips for months. I’ve been using the lip balm for 24 hours and feel so much better! The only thing that remains is the redness. I’m hoping that will diminish over the coming days?

    • Yes, be patient. It can a few days or even a week or so before all the irritation is gone (assuming you have completely removed all allergens from coming into contact with your skin). If you get a chance, would you take a moment and write a review of the lip balm on our website? It really helps prospective customers make their purchasing decision. Thank you for writing in and glad your lips feel better!

  149. Sam says:

    Thanks so much for your time and response. I’ll definitely provide a review for the products…and will be ordering more!

  150. mary says:

    Hi. I have a problem. When i eat any foods the skin around the bottom of my lips goes red. This happens ecerytime i eat and usually goes down after half an hour. When i say the skin i mean both the right and left hand side of the skin below my mouth turns red. There is no irritation or itching and as it happens with any food i xannot think what it could be. My dermatologist cannot test me for anything because its happening with all foods so we cannot narrow down the cause. Can u suggest what this could be?

  151. cathy says:

    I’ve known for a while now i’m allergic to beeswax when i couldn’t use burts bee’s products in high school but just recently i have started getting rashes on my lips exactly like those described above! I’m confused however because i havent been changing anything in my routine besides i started taking gummy fiber vitamins and just saw that they contain beeswax. Would that still effect my outer lips even though i just chew them and have taken them in the past? Or might it be something else?

  152. Lynn says:

    Well, it’s back, after 10 months from finding out I had an allergy to gold and also Oral Allergy Syndrome it seems there must be a something new. I’ve had an off and on (tolerable) itchy/flaky rash along one side of my jaw and sometimes along my eyebrows. I used prescribed Elidel cream when it itched, until one day it seemed to make it more red and burned, so I’ve stopped.

    I wore red lipstick (which I never do, and it wasn’t ‘costume’ makeup) on Halloween and woke up the next morning with swollen eyelids with redness and itchiness up to my eyebrow and a small rash underneath one eye. My lips were chapped and swollen and a little crusted, with the skin around my mouth and down towards my chin was very blotchy, itchy and with bumps that looked like hives. That persistent rash along my jaw also flared back up and a tiny spot on the tip of my nose. I have only been using CeraVe cleanser and moisturizer (with sunscreen in it), BareMinerals makeup, and Aquaphor on my lips.

    It’s been 3 days now and my lips themselves are healed (but still a little split in the corners) and the redness has gone down some but the skin is extremely dry and still itchy – very unsightly, especially above and below my lips. I really dread going down this road again of finding out what is causing it. I am hoping it was just the lipstick and this will heal shortly. Does it sound like I am missing something? Is it something else besides an allergic reaction?

  153. Jayelbarber says:

    I have something simiar i dont know if its exactly the same thing but im dying to find out what this is! Mines started on my upper lip on (slighty to the right not in the middle) about 2 years ago it started very small and usually would go away with lip balm but it started to get a bigger and dryer over time and now I got a small one on the right side of the mouth and another one just starting on my left. Which has me concerned because ive only had the top one until now. Mines is more of a patch and it doesnt go away, the redness does at times but the spot remains rough and wrinkly and and it tends to shed every other day sometimes everyday. it kinda feels like a piece of tape on there! If i stretch the spot and look very closely i can see little tiny bumps close together under the skin. I know its not and std cus i have been tested clean and still had it. Ive tried to put everythinggg on it but nothing complately helps! At this point any oppinions on what it could be would help thanks!

  154. Heather says:

    I just developed a rash this morning and it’s winter. The same exact thing happened to me last winter and I dont know why! But I use hydrocortisone and allergy relief and I am sick at the moment.

  155. Carmen says:

    The rash around my lips looks exactly like the picture but it is relieved with jojoba oil. I didn’t discover jojoba oil until after my rashes started. Chemicals in my brand new office bldg caused my lips to react and once I removed myself from the toxic building I then discovered I could no longer drink unfiltered water or take any type of powdered substance (vitamins, powdered herbs) without my lips breaking out. I am apparently allergic to binding agents and fluoride and/or chloramine in water thanks to the off-gassing of chemicals in my brand new office building 3 years ago. Jojoba oil helps me immensely.

  156. lucy says:

    I’ve been using burts bees chapstick for years now…and never had any problems. but about two weeks ago I woke up with a dry ring around my mouth that looks just like your picture above. I can’t suddenly become allergic to beeswax, could I?

    • Yes, you most certainly can. What has likely happened is that you began developing the allergy for a while now (with repeated exposure to the ingredient you are allergic to) and it finally just reached a threshold level where your immune system launched a full attack that was strong enough to manifest symptoms. this is called a Type IV Hypersensitivity Reaction (you become allergic over time with repeated exposure to the sensitizing agent). But worry not! Try a lip balm that does not contain beeswax and see if the reaction stops. We offer 2 such lip balms: BeeswaxFree Lip Balm and CSFreedom lip balm. And read more about lip rashes and what might trigger them in our latest blog post.

  157. Brisa says:

    I can’t seem to find the soap you talked about :( I am suffering from this right know and I’m so frustrated I’ve tried everything , I got a cortizone cream with aloe but it didn’t seem to do much so I’m not sure what to do … If you can please help ?

  158. Barbara Novak says:

    My six year old daughter started with the mouth rash right after she used a lip balm

  159. Lena says:

    I went through this small phase a while ago into where I was obsessed with Maybelline baby lips. I used it as a regular Chapstick, but almost every hour. Biggest mistake. My lips became severely dry and with the winter coming around, it was difficult to care for my lips and restore them to normal because I had become “addicted” to Chapstick whereas I couldn’t leave my house without it or my lips would turn to sandpaper. The whole area around my mouth started to flake skin and it was very embarrassing because people would alway comment about it and it hurt, very bad. I started using Blistex and it all went away, but the dry skin was replaced with redness, and it looks exactly like the picture you have shown. I thought the Blistex would get rid of it, but after I read this, I saw that the Blistex contained beeswax. I hoping I can fix this problem with my lips soon, it is lowering my self confidence haha. I am going to try your tips hoping they will help! :)

  160. Janet says:

    I am just recovering from the same ‘clown lips’. I generally do not suffer from allergies, but this is the season when my allergy to cedar and possible others kicks in, so I had read that bee pollen was good for that. About 3 weeks ago, I started taking the bee pollen and some other supplements that are supposed to help with allergies (calcium with magnesium, B vitamins, Kyolic garlic, Omega 3-6-9 complex). I have also been taking liquid melatonin for about 6 weeks to sleep better at night. The area around my lips started getting red and dry sometime after I started the supplements, but I thought it was just chapped lips and didn’t pay it much attention. When nothing helped, in fact usually made it worse, especially if I was out working in the yard, I decided to try some skin healing essential oils and some different carrier oils (coconut oil, sweet almond, shea butter, olive) but nothing made it any better. So I stopped taking all of my supplements about 5 days ago. My daughter told me about vaseline with cocoa butter and I have been using that to keep my lips from being so flaky. My lips are almost healed up now and I am going to wait a while longer before I start reintroducing the supplements, but think I better rethink the bee pollen. I have read a lot of the comments here but have not read about bee pollen. Would it be similar to the propolis for allergens? I’m not allergic to bee stings. Maybe I started with too much bee pollen. It did give me more energy though. I really appreciate all the advice here. It has been very helpful, though I hope to never have to go through this again!

  161. Pete says:

    Hi, thanks for this post, it’s good to hear that I’m not on my own with this. I’m and 18 year old male and have always had a bit of excema. I had quite a lot of my arms and hands when I was younger but it hasn’t really bothered me in recent years. I’ve had a rash around my mouth for about 3 years now. It is mainly around the bottom and sides on my lips but I can also get a bit on the top right of my lips. It originally used to stop during the summer months and then reoccur at the start of winter. However, this summer it has not gone away and is becoming increasingly annoying and grotesque. My actual lips are rarely dry , it is just the area around them. This area isn’t normally particularly itchy either. Sometimes, it can be quite tight and I can feel something there and other times it feels as if there is nothing there and when I look in the mirror it’s actually really bad. When it first started I used to apply acqueos cream and lip balm. For about 2 years now though I have been using Diprobase and nivea lip balm. The diprobase used to work fairly well but I am now questioning whether it makes any difference or not (sometimes my lips get worse after use of it and sometimes they get better which is pretty confusing). Recently, I’ve been changing my routine a bit to see if I have an allergy to anything. I stopped using lip balm for a few weeks but that didn’t make any difference. I have also switched my toothpaste around. I originally used colgate, then thought I would try a non-fluoride toothpaste to no avail and then tried a sensodyne toothpaste without sodium laryl sulphate which I thought I may also be allergic to but that didn’t work as well. One thing I should note is that recently when I’ve woken up in the morning it’s got much better and then during the day it starts to get worse again. I also never lick my lips so that can’t be the problem. I honestly have no idea what makes the rash keep coming back. It’s so frustrating and gets me pretty down. I’m going to university soon and am desperate not to have to meet all these new people while looking so terrible. A reply would be great as I really don’t know where to go with this.

    • Boy,without examining you I really cannot suggest what might be going on here. What major city do you live near? Perhaps I can refer you to a colleague who can see you in person and help you out.

    • Have you read our other blog post about rashes around the mouth? Perhaps there is something there that might be helpful to help you figure this out.

      • Pete says:

        Thanks very much for your quick reply. I’m from Birmingham, UK but I am currently in Wellington, New Zealand on a gap year. I return home in less than two months though. I have just read the blog, very informative. I think I may go to an allergist soon to see if I can get more of an idea of whether there’s something specific that I’m allergic to. Balsam of Peru could be a possibility but the one thing that makes me think not is that mint chewing gum often helps the rash go down short term. Do you think it might help to stop using the Diprobase (it’s an emollient cream) and nivea lip balm?

        • Before you get back home, contact http://www.avicenna.co.uk and ask them if they have any TCM dermatologists near where you live. One of my teachers runs this clinic and trains the best TCM dermatologists in the world. If they have someone near you trained at Avicenna, that is who I recommend you see. Until then, try cutting out all the things listed in my blog post (be sure to read the comments, too, as readers have shared valuable experiences there). Chances are it is an allergy. You can certainly test for allergens, but such tests are not always accurate and you may be able to discover the culprit even before you leave NZ. Another good resource to dig through to find lists of potential skin allergens is http://www.dermnetnz.org. Good luck, friend.

  162. ti says:

    i hope this help… i was using a lip balm.. totally made the rash worst. i really didn’t know what was causing this. so i’m gonna try and use the petroleum jelly

  163. Julie says:

    I finally figured out what is causing the hives around my lips – pine/juniper resin or sap which is found in many lip balms, hand creams, salves, adhesives, floor cleaner, etc. It is known as rosin or colophony. If you get hayfever from juniper or pine pollen then you may also have a skin allergy to conifers. I found even getting sap on my hands from a Christmas tree would make the skin around my lips break out the next day. It started a histamine reaction that materialized on the more sensitive skin around my mouth hours later.

    • YES! Thank you for sharing. I have been trying to convince many a patient that even though the rash appears on or around their lips, it may be something they are coming into contact with elsewhere on their skin. A lot of resins cause allergic skin reactions. I avoid them wherever possible. I am uncertain if there is a common chemical constituent among them, but that is why people react to propolis – this bee glue is made from resins. You can also react to resins used on violins and other musical instruments, so all you musicians take note.

  164. Riyo Sovi says:

    I am encountering this problem right now i always knew it had something to do with my lip balms. i stopped and tried petroleum jelly as vaseline dry’s my skin out really bad. its back with a vengeance and i’m an aspiring actress so you can imagine how terrible this is for me what can i do please help

  165. mango says:

    i narrowed down my problem to mangos or revo lipbalm. i had peeled 6 mangos to freeze them and was eating the extra fruit stuck to the skin w/my mouth. that same day i was using the revo lipbalm excessively (had no problems using it previously). my upper left inside lip started to swell the next day and a day later the whole upper lip was swollen. lower lip swelled also but not as bad as the upper. it looked like i had an expensive procedure done on them. but they were painful and very itchy. i started to take benadryl which help alot. then the rash started, mostly in the corner and lower lip. i’ll wait a few more days to see what happens with the benadryl and then try the cream. i suspect a pesticide/fertilizer from the mangos caused it, what do you think? thanks for your site.

  166. mango says:

    Yes!! I had awful poison ivy when I was younger. Wish I had known this before buying them. thanks!

  167. stacy says:

    I’m very thankful to read all the stories on this site and to receive some helpful advice. 3 years ago i began having the clown mouth/botox gone bad look, just plain inflamed and so painful lips/mouth. it has been on and off, dr and dermatologist having NO idea what is wrong. creams and even 3 rounds of antibiotics, and nothing will get rid of it. now i am savvy to the candida that antibiotics cause and the incredible benefits of good enzymes and a good probiotic so i’m heavily dosed on all that as of recently. recently i began treating as if i have a fungus infection and the over the counter cream seems to be helping. However, i finally took notice last night that when i’m in the sun for an extended time and when i’m eating anything salty or spicy, my lips freak out and i’m in miserable pain. i am now having many memories of being in the sun all day and then my lips suffering for days/weeks until somehow it just goes away. i read on this forum of many people using aveeno cortisone cream, but i was pretty nervous about all those chemicals potentially hurting me more, since my skin is very sensitive. last night after being in the sun for 3 hours my lips were screaming and looked awful. i remembered that i had a natural version of cortisone cream and today my mouth looks almost normal, still feels swollen but the red has decreased and i’m looking almost totally normal. it’s called Florasone Cream, it’s a homeopathic cream for itching, eczema, inflammation, and rash. i found it at my local health food store. i hope this cream can help others while they need healing as they figure out what is causing the clown mouth. thanks all!

    • If it is homeopathic, it should not contain cortisone. IF you are using a cortisone cream, be sure to slowly reduce the frequency of application before stopping use. I think it is likely you are either directly allergic to something or you get a reaction when that substance combines with sun exposure. Many essential oils will cause such a photosensitive response, such as citrus oils. Keep playing detective – I bet you can solve this puzzle and find the exact cause so you can stop applying that substance. Of course, it is possible to be directly photosensitive, so wearing a strong zinc oxide-based SPF lip balm whenever you are in the sun might help. Good luck.

  168. Anne says:

    This blog really helped me. I read it a week ago and realized I may have an allergy to my lip balm for sensitive lips. I had very chapped, raw, oozing swollen lips and a red rash around my mouth. My mom is a general practice doctor and helped some, but it eventually got severe enough that it got out of her scope.

    I went to a dermatologist who sent me to an allergist. We thought it could be my toms of Maine toothpaste. But we tested all of my face products and it turns out that my lip balm (Mongo Kiss Unflavored) have me a huge welt on my patch test. It seems silly that I didn’t think of it, but my lips were so chapped that it felt like they had no skin on them–so I put more lip balm on, thinking that the pain was the lip balm wearing off and not the lip balm itself.

    I was tested separately for cocoa butter and beeswax, which led to no reaction. She believes either the mongongo oil or the topical vitamin E are what caused the allergic reaction. And I thought I was doing so well picking an organic all natural lip balm.

    I just wanted to share my story in the hopes that it could help someone else. If you have the resources, I highly recommend seeing a dermatologist or allergist! I suffered with this for several months before finally seeking help from a specialist. Now my lips are back to normal and I feel like I have my life back again!

  169. Carol says:

    Thanks for this post. I was searching for the cause of my similar symptoms. Two days ago I started using a lip balm with the first ingredient being beeswax. I think I found the culprit! Thanks again.

  170. Britney says:

    hey I think I have the same thing as you but I just have around it my upper lip line and it’s a white color I when to my doctor she said to use cortisone but I don’t know where I got I from because I’m not allergic to anything at first I thought it was dry lips so i just added lim blam but the i became worse then I thought i had herpes because little pimples(like you get on your face ( well like acne) but when I searched a picture of herpes I noticed I wasn’t it the pimples left when I popped them on I only have the white rash so I think it the same thing maybe please answer back please

  171. Jacob says:

    Hello. I have a similar rash currently waging war around my mouth. I was pretty sure it was the combination of wearing sunscreen on my face + working up a sweat while working at my job + wiping my face with the sleeve of my shirt + not washing my face until I got home from work. Because I still have this rash I became concerned that it was more than a rash. I have an upcoming Dermatologist appointment next week, but I figured I try a internet search as well. What I have is a rash, but also lots of very small white heads. Along with a chapped lip/tingling/burning sensation. Nothing painful. Just annoying. Because I’m a person that thinks of the worst thing 1st, I thought I had contracted Oral Herpes. None of the Oral Herpes pictures I’ve viewed online look like what I have, so I’m pretty sure I don’t have that. Also, earlier this year, I was battling some form of eczema on my forehead ears, and around my eyes. Should I be concerned that I have oral herpes? Does oral Herpes have just that one look? I have read the rash blogs on this site, and many of the comments. Its all very good information. Any info and/or insight would be very appreciated.

  172. Linda says:

    A week ago the area around my lips began to swell.. Some places were blistering, corners of my mouth were cracking (looking like angular cheilitis) , some places looked like pimples. I had a rash on my cheeks. I went to the doctor she thought it was cold sores because of the blister… so i used Xerese.. a cortisone cream.. I used it a lot.. and a lot of the swelling went down… but made the skin lose elasticity and was very tough. The cracking in the corners got worse so i went to a different doctor.. and he laughed at the other doctor who prescribed cortisone because it didn’t look like herpes at all and its a harsh treatment for the area around your mouth and just prescribed me “Protopic”, He says its from an allergic reaction… I accidentally used Orogold exfoliant on my lips… also was eating a lot mangos.. like seriously diving into them. loll.. So hopefully this works. I think it will.

  173. Manu says:

    Hi All,

    Thanks a lot for all the shared stories! It helped me figure out my problem.

    This year around spring time, I developed a red itchy rash around my lips. I thought it was severe dryness so I kept applying my lip balm (Burts Bees) even more frequently! It kept on increasing and looked funny… I even had to take days off from work, and go to a doctor who suggested some virus and a pharmacist who suggested fungal infection!!!!
    Nothing made it go away. Eventually I started alternating between hydrocortisone and aquaphor. It went away after a couple weeks and never returned.

    Today morning, I applied the same Burts Bees lip balm and I have a red itchy rash around my lips again!!

    After reading your page, I know now what caused it!! Thanks!
    Only thing that surprises me is that I’ve been using the same lip balm for over 5 years but never had a problem before this spring.

    • You may not have had any reaction in the past but this is how this sort of allergic reaction happens. You are exposed to a substance that your body recognizes as an enemy and your body begins to develop an army to attack this enemy. Each time you expose your skin to this enemy, your body adds to the army until one day there is a big enough army to mount an attack. It appears to you that you are reacting “all of a sudden” when in truth, your body has been reacting subtly all along. I currently recommend NOT using cortisone cream on these kinds of conditions around the mouth/lips, but if you chose to use a cortisone cream, wean yourself off it slowly (do not suddenly stop using it one day) or the reaction can return.

  174. Joleen says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I am going to try all of this and see if my rash will disappear. I have had it for almost a year, with occasional disappearances. I cannot figure out what is causing it, but I hope that what you had experienced is the same thing that I have. My rash looks just likes yours in the picture. What really sucks is that I cannot even kiss my boyfriend with out it getting inflamed, and even eating causes it to become inflamed. The only time when its not that bad is when I wake up in the morning. So it must be something that I am exposing myself to during the day! Chapstick?!

  175. Sharyn says:

    I just wanted to tell you that after having dentistry work done a couple of years ago I ended up with a red rash around my mouth that lasted for several months, with no relief from anything I tried, until I found your post. I did everything you said and within weeks it was gone. It has been a year now and I still use Toms toothpaste w/out flouride or sulphates, and no beeswax lip balms. Thank you so much!

  176. Melissa Davidson says:

    I had this same thing, looked exactly like the pic. My doctors kept giving me steroid creams to put on it, which made it go away for a little while but it always came back. I found out it was a zinc deficiency, I am a pescatarian but I never ate dairy just because I don’t really like the taste. I ate a bunch of oysters (VERY high in zinc) and POOF it went away just like that. Now I make sure to keep a lot of foods that are high zinc in my house and I switched to a supplement that has zinc in it. It’s never come back and I was battling it on and off for a year.

  177. Taeya says:

    Hello! I am 15 years old & I have had this rash thing around my lips for like 3 years. Thank you for posting this I wish I could have found this earlier. I have been going to doctors and none of them know what is wrong with me. Only one doctor told me it was probably PD. (Do not know how to spell it lol). I am really addicted to CHAPSTICK® Medicated . I’ve been using it for 3 years. It doesn’t do anything for me but it is the only Chapstick that does not make my lips more irritated. When the Chapstick refuses to help me, I try to hold a wet washcloth on my mouth area for a little bit. It kind of helps reduce the swelling and itchiness but it still hurts. Thank you so much for this I really needed this article. I hope my under lips become beautiful again! Hopefully I won’t be embarrassed at school anymore. You’re a life saver.

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