Allergic Contact Cheilitis - Rxharun

Allergic Contact Cheilitis

Allergic contact cheilitis (ACC) is a form of contact dermatitis that affects the lips. It is an allergic reaction to a substance that comes into contact with the skin. The reaction may occur immediately after exposure or may take several days to develop. The symptoms of ACC include dryness, redness, scaling, cracking, and swelling of the lips. In severe cases, blisters and sores may also appear.

Allergic contact cheilitis is a condition that occurs when the lips come into contact with an allergen or irritant that triggers an allergic reaction. The most common cause of allergic contact cheilitis is exposure to cosmetics, fragrances, and other chemicals that are commonly found in lip balms, lipsticks, and other lip products. The most common causes of ACC are lip cosmetics, such as lipsticks, lip glosses, and lip balms. Other causes include toothpaste, food, medications, and dental materials. In some cases, ACC can also be caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to sun or wind.


Allergic contact cheilitis is a type of allergic reaction that affects the lips. It occurs when the lips come in contact with a substance that causes an allergic reaction. Here are the main causes of allergic contact cheilitis:

  1. Cosmetics and personal care products: Many cosmetics and personal care products contain chemicals that can cause an allergic reaction. Lipsticks, lip balms, toothpaste, mouthwash, and face creams are common culprits.
  2. Metals: Metals such as nickel, cobalt, and chrome can cause an allergic reaction. These metals are often found in jewelry, dental braces, and other metal objects that come in contact with the lips.
  3. Medications: Some medications can cause an allergic reaction that affects the lips. Topical medications such as corticosteroids, antifungals, and antibiotics can cause a reaction.
  4. Food: Certain foods can cause an allergic reaction that affects the lips. Citrus fruits, chocolate, and spicy foods are common culprits.
  5. Environmental irritants: Environmental irritants such as sun exposure, wind, and cold weather can cause the lips to become dry and cracked, leading to an allergic reaction.
  6. Occupational exposure: Certain occupations, such as hairdressers, may be more prone to developing allergic contact cheilitis due to exposure to chemicals and irritants.
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It is important to identify the specific cause of allergic contact cheilitis to avoid future exposure and prevent further reactions. Consultation with an allergist or dermatologist can aid in identifying the cause and providing the appropriate treatment.


Allergic contact cheilitis is a type of allergic reaction that affects the lips. It is caused by contact with a substance that triggers an allergic reaction in the body. Some of the main symptoms of allergic contact cheilitis include:

  1. Redness and swelling of the lips: The lips become inflamed and swollen, and they may also feel sore or itchy.
  2. Dryness and cracking of the lips: The skin on the lips becomes dry and flaky, and may even crack or peel.
  3. Blisters or sores on the lips: In some cases, small blisters or sores may develop on the lips, which can be painful and uncomfortable.
  4. Burning or stinging sensation on the lips: The lips may feel like they are burning or stinging, which can be very uncomfortable.
  5. Itching or tingling sensation on the lips: Some people may experience an itching or tingling sensation on their lips, which can be very annoying.
  6. Swollen lymph nodes: In some cases, the lymph nodes in the neck or jaw may become swollen, which can be a sign of an allergic reaction.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor or dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Treatment may include avoiding the allergen that is causing the reaction, using topical creams or ointments to soothe the skin, or taking oral medications to relieve symptoms.

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The main lab test used to diagnose this condition is patch testing.

The diagnosis of ACC is usually made by a dermatologist based on the clinical appearance of the lips, medical history, and patch testing. Patch testing is a standard test used to diagnose contact dermatitis, including ACC. In patch testing, small amounts of suspected allergens are applied to the skin, usually on the back, and left in place for 48-72 hours. The skin is then observed for any reaction, such as redness, itching, or blistering. Patch testing is typically done after the acute phase of the reaction has subsided.

Patch testing involves applying small amounts of suspected allergens to the skin of the back and leaving them in place for 48 hours. The patches are then removed, and the skin is observed for any signs of an allergic reaction, such as redness, itching, or swelling.

In the case of allergic contact cheilitis, the suspected allergens may include lip balms, lipsticks, toothpaste, or other personal care products. The patch test may also include a range of metals, such as nickel, which is a common cause of allergic reactions.

If the patch test shows a positive reaction to a particular substance, the patient will be advised to avoid that substance to prevent further reactions. Treatment may also include the use of topical corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and itching.

Overall, patch testing is an important diagnostic tool for allergic contact cheilitis and can help identify the specific allergens that are causing the problem. With proper treatment and avoidance of allergens, most cases of allergic contact cheilitis can be effectively managed.

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The main drugs used to treat allergic contact cheilitis are topical corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and antihistamines. These drugs work by reducing inflammation, itching, and other symptoms associated with allergic contact cheilitis.

Topical corticosteroids: These are the most commonly used drugs for treating allergic contact cheilitis. They work by reducing inflammation and redness in the affected area. Commonly used topical corticosteroids include hydrocortisone, betamethasone, and clobetasol.

Immunomodulators: These drugs work by suppressing the immune system’s response to allergens and irritants. They are particularly useful in cases where corticosteroids are ineffective or cause side effects. Commonly used immunomodulators include tacrolimus and pimecrolimus.

Antihistamines: These drugs work by blocking histamine receptors, which are responsible for causing itching and swelling. They are particularly useful in cases where the lips are swollen or itchy. Commonly used antihistamines include diphenhydramine and loratadine.

In addition to these drugs, it is also important to identify and avoid the allergen or irritant that is causing the allergic contact cheilitis. This may involve changing lip products or avoiding certain foods or environmental triggers. If the condition is severe or does not respond to treatment, referral to a dermatologist may be necessary.

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