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Doctor Natasha
Doctor Natasha, Doctor (non-pediatrics specialty)
Category: Pediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 12910
Experience:  American Board Certified in Emergency Medicine
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My 6 year old grandson is constantly licking his lips and

Resolved Question:

my 6 year old grandson is constantly licking his lips and they stay chapped all the time and now his whole chin and cheeks are red and chapped from him wiping his hand and arm across his mouth. what causes him to do this and what can i put on it to help clear it up and stop him from doing this?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Pediatrics
Expert:  Doctor Natasha replied 8 years ago.

This is a very tough habit to break.

Your grandson has lip licker's dermatitis- it is a habitual licking of the lips which causes a contact dermatitis. Initially he likely felt that his lips were dry- which improved with moistening them with saliva. However, the saliva is irritating and can dry out the lips even more, creating a viscious cycle.

You may need to apply a bland moisturizer (one without perfumes, medications, etc.), as often as hourly, so your grandson won't feel the need to lick his lips. I think that lanolin works really well. At bed time, a larger amount is needed to lessen lip licking while sleeping. You may also apply a low dose corticosteroid cream 1% to the area surrounding the lips to decrease the inflammation.

But most importantly, he needs to stop licking his lips!

Good luck-

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