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Lip-licking dermatitis in Child
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Lip-licking dermatitis in Child

Contributors: Nnenna Agim MD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Lip-licking dermatitis (lip licker's dermatitis) is a chronic irritant contact dermatitis caused by repeated exposure of the upper and lower cutaneous lips to salivary contents. This condition is common among young children, but it can present in adolescents and adults.

Characteristically, it presents as erythematous, scaly papules coalescing into circumoral plaques, with secondary crusting and fissures. In darker skin phototypes, hyperpigmentation may be more apparent than erythema. Patients often complain of dryness and burning.


K13.0 – Diseases of lips

402285007 – Lip-licking eczema

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Perioral dermatitis typically presents in young women with monomorphous erythematous papules, sometimes with scale, sparing the vermillion, whereas lip-licking dermatitis will involve the vermillion.
  • Allergic contact dermatitis may present in a similar fashion. Common triggers in this distribution include toothpaste, dental hygiene products, lip cosmetics, medications, musical instruments, and dental appliances.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic facial dermatitis that presents with erythema with greasy scale that most commonly involves the eyebrows and nasolabial folds. Perioral distribution is unusual, but possible, and appears hypopigmented in darker skin phototypes.
  • Candidiasis may cause or complicate fissuring of the oral commissures.

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Last Reviewed:02/19/2020
Last Updated:02/19/2020
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Lip-licking dermatitis in Child
A medical illustration showing key findings of Lip-licking dermatitis : Lips, Hyperpigmentation
Clinical image of Lip-licking dermatitis - imageId=1085440. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'A hyperpigmented scaly plaque on the lower cutaneous lip and scaling at the oral commissures.'
A hyperpigmented scaly plaque on the lower cutaneous lip and scaling at the oral commissures.
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