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Christen Mowad, MD
Section Editor
Joseph Fowler, MD
Deputy Editor
Rosamaria Corona, MD, DSc


Cheilitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the lips. It usually involves the lip vermilion and the vermilion border, but the surrounding skin and the oral mucosa may also be affected [1]. Common symptoms include erythema dryness, scaling, fissuring, edema, itching, and burning.

Cheilitis may be caused by a multiplicity of endogenous or exogenous factors, the most common of which are atopic dermatitis, contact irritants or allergens, chronic sun exposure, and infection. Secondary involvement of the lips can occur in many cutaneous and systemic disorders, such as lichen planus, lupus erythematosus, autoimmune bullous diseases, Crohn disease, sarcoidosis, and nutritional deficiencies.

This topic will review the clinical manifestation, diagnosis, and treatment of primary lip diseases. The oral manifestations of cutaneous and systemic diseases are discussed separately.

(See "Oral lichen planus: Pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis".)

(See "Overview of cutaneous lupus erythematosus".)


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Nov 2, 2015.
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