By Dr. Stacy Matthews Branch
Lip eczema may be thought of as a battle on kissable lips. It feels like dryness that can´t be relieved with all the lip balms in the world. In fact, eczema seems to get worse with those waxy, scented balms that actually trigger more skin to slough. That's because their most common ingredients are lanolin, beeswax and fragrance, all identified as lip allergens. Go figure!
Using lip balms on lips to cure your dry lips is like using gasoline to put out a fire.
Basically, lip eczema is a form of dermatitis (skin inflammation) that manifests as a dry, chapped, scaly, and red appearing lips. It is a form of allergic contact dermatitis, atopy, or eczematous cheilitis (1). Results of a study in Spain suggest that most cases of lip eczema are atopic dermatitis, and that cosmetics and some common topical medications are the main culprits (2).
In addition to external factors (e.g., allergens in cosmetics), there are internal or genetic factors that make some people more susceptible than others to develop lip eczema. It is not uncommon for genetically susceptible people to have chronically chapped lips. In the need to relieve long-term lip eczema, many turn to creams containing hydrocortisone, a topical steroid. While steroids may temporarily relieve the symptoms, when use of the cream stops, the lip eczema returns with a vengeance. Worse yet, chronic steroid use can permanently thin the skin, a definite no-no when it comes to anti-aging skin. Those who don’t want to use steroid products sometimes turn to shea butter and essential oils for relief.
There is hope for those who suffer with chronic and unrelenting lip eczema. Dr. Yazdani, the creator of MatrX B, a proprietary antioxidant system, battled with lip eczema for a decade until one day she decided to try Post-Traumatic Response Gel on her own lips. After 2 weeks of twice daily use, the problem resolved permanently.
To resolve lip eczema, an important step is to avoid products that contain eczema-triggering allergens and use skin cleansing and cosmetic products that instead promote healthy skin. Naturally derived antioxidants formulated without use of common allergens can help you win the war on lip eczema.
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