. Allergopedia

Causes of contact cheilitis

Βλαχάκη Ελεάννα
Ωτορινολαρυγγολόγος, Ηράκλειο, Κρήτης

Contact cheilitis, Χειλίτιδα ή χειλίτις εξ επαφής. (See lip contact dermatitis). The lips have a modified epidermis that is much more likely to develop allergic contact sensitivity reactions than is the oral mucosa. Allergens in contact with both the oral mucosa and the lips often produce only cheilitis. Angular cheilitis may be the only manifestation to allergic hypersensitivity to denture materials or to mercury amalgams. Such angular cheilitis may closely mimic vitamin B deficiency or monilial perleche. Allergic cheilitis may manifest itself at first merely by dryness and fissuring, edema and crusting.

Allergic contact cheilitis may be caused from dental materials, dentifrices, toothpastes, dental procedures,  cosmetics (essential oils, anise oil, cinnamon oil or cassia oil, eugenol, menthol, lipstick[3], nail polish and nail hardeners and several foods and medications[1,2]. Lavy Y, et al (2009) formed a patch test kit containing 11 substances used in toothpastes. In their study sample consisted of 44 patients, 24 with cheilitis (study group) and 20 with contact dermatitis but without cheilitis (control group) found eleven patients in the study group (45%) to be allergic to toothpaste, compared to only one patient (5%) in the control group (p < .05) [2].


1 Fisser, A.A.: Contact stomatitis, Glossitis and Cheilitis. Otolaryngologic Cl. of N. Am. 1974:7(3):838-840.

2. Lavy Y, Slodownik D, Trattner A, Ingber A. Toothpaste allergy as a cause of cheilitis in Israeli patients. Dermatitis. 2009 Mar-Apr;20(2):95-8.

3. Inui S, Azukizawa H, Katayama I. Recurrent contact cheilitis because of glyceryl isostearate, diisostearyl maleate, oleyl alcohol, and Lithol Rubine BCA in lipsticks. Contact Dermatitis. 2009 Apr;60(4):231-2.

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