Cheilitis: symptoms, causes and remedies

Cheilitis: symptoms, causes and remedies

Cheilitis is inflammation of the lips caused by several factors. It can manifest as painful dryness, redness or peeling. Naturopathy can contribute to treatment together with drug therapy.


Cheilitis is inflammation of the lips and can manifest itself as painful dryness, redness, flaking. The partial or total involvement of these mucous membranes specifically may concern :

> the area around the lips, where the tissue is epithelial;

> the atual labial mucosa, then the lip;

> the edge of the lips, called the transition zone between the skin and the mucous membrane; 

> the corners of the mouth, called labial commissures, one or both.

Cheilitis, the forms

The inflammation of the lips can be of different nature , first of all acute or chronic, moreover there are different more or less severe forms, which underlie different causes.

Common cheilitis , which manifests itself simply with chapped lips of quick resolution.

Angular cheilitis, the so-called “boccarola”, which involves intense redness and cracks with similar cuts on the sides of the mouth.

Allergic cheilitis , inflammation of the mucous membranes or corners due to contact with allergens that come into contact with the mouth.

Actinic cheilitis , due to sun exposure, is caused by ultraviolet radiation, manifests itself with initial swelling and redness and then scaling and scabs. It can be very dangerous if left untreated and

Atopic cheilitis , an atopic dermatitis that affects the lips and manifests itself with cuts, dryness, cracking, and itching / burning. The insidious aspect is due to the fact that this form of cheilitis causes frequent wetting of the mouth with the tongue and therefore to prevent a rapid resolution of the disorder. 

Cheilitis, the causes

The causes , as can be seen from the various forms of cheilitis, are different, even if they lead to the same inflammatory manifestation.

In addition to those from sun exposure and hypersensitivity to ultraviolet rays , there are active agents that can cause cheilitis: 

Infections originating from  mycotic agents, such as candida albicans , nested in the mouth and transmitted to the external mucous membranes through salivation; bacteria such as staphylococci, streptococci and viruses such as herpes simplex which causes herpetic cheilitis, the manifestation of which is given by moist and painful blisters. 

Immune deficiencies : in the case of immunodeficiency or simply a lowering of the immune defenses due to fatigue , stress  or as a result of pharmacological treatments, some microorganisms are transformed into pathogens and can affect the mucous membranes, such as the lips and manifest cheilitis.

Nutritional deficiencies : avitaminosis is one of the most common causes of angular cheilitis. Deficiency of B vitamins , such as B6 and B12 or minerals such as iron , are generally at the basis of inflammatory manifestations in the mouth. Conditions of malnutrition, anorexia, malabsorption due to celiac disease , Crohn’s disease can also cause cheilitis.

> Irritative and allergic reactions : irritants due to low quality cosmetic  products such as lipsticks, detergents, toothpastes or allergens contained in metal objects, in particular spices, in foods.

Pharmacological treatments : after important drug therapies with antibiotics or cortisone, if prolonged for a long time, inflammation of the lips can occur, due to reduced salivation, dry mouth and lips.

Autoimmune dermatological diseases : some autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus, psoriasis ,  lichen can be a contributory cause of cheilitis.

Cheilitis, remedies

The dermatologist must first diagnose this inflammation as such , through a visit and a microbiological research to identify the triggering cause of cheilitis and prepare the correct therapy. 

Naturopathy  can be a tool to support pharmacological treatment , to accelerate the time of remission and help the subject to soothe the part. Can help us:

coconut butter : apply coconut butter to moisturize and nourish the lips and areas affected by cheilitis. It is advisable to have clean hands or to use a disposable spoon for the application. Coconut butter  has antiseptic properties , useful if the cause was of an infectious nature and in any case indicated as a universal topical remedy.


Echinacea and astragalus : in case of immune system deficiency it is possible to help with remedies that reinforce the response and help increase the body’s defenses. Echinacea is an immunomodulator
that corrects the depressive states of the immune system and stimulates the production of T lymphocytes, interleukin 2, phagocytes against foreign elements. 


Astragalus is an immunostimulant with antiviral and adaptogenic properties . Counteracts stress fatigue, helps relaxation, promotes recovery after convalescence.


vitamin complex : in case of avitaminosis, a complex with vitamins of group B, vitamin C and vitamins A and E are useful for replenishing and correcting deficiencies. They also counteract forms of asthenia and support pharmacological treatments. 

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