Symptoms Of Factitious Cheilitis: Causes & Treatment Options

Factitious cheilitis is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the lips. It is characterized by extreme dryness and flaking of the skin of the lips. The lips peel off and reveal raw skin and then there is associated burning, fissuring, and pain. Crusting and ulceration may happen as well. The lips feel itchy; they swell and may even get discolored.

Factitious or exfoliative cheilitis is not very common. It is known to affect young adults and commonly develops in the vermilion of the lips and the constant and severe scaling of the lips can lead to their increased sensitivity which later causes cosmetic concern. It also has a tendency to recur after the phase of remission.

Factitious cheilitis is not life-threatening, on the other hand, the onset may signify an underlying disorder or could indicate that something is wrong in your body.

What Are The Causes Of Exfoliative Cheilitis?

The precise cause of factitious cheilitis is not yet known although several factors may trigger the onset.

  • An important cause is continuous licking, picking, sucking, and biting of the lip, along with mouth breathing.
  • An over growth of the candida fungus is involved in the cause of exfoliative cheilitis. It is caused by Candida albicans which resides in the human body in small colonies. They could become reactive and start an infection.
  • HIV infection has been linked to factitious cheilitis. The immunodeficiency acquired by the patient makes him more susceptible to a host of diseases.
  • Bad oral hygiene triggers exfoliative cheilitis.
  • A nutritional deficiency is a vital cause of factitious cheilitis.
  • A depressed immune mechanism is another huge cause where the keratin is erroneously identified as a foreign body. The immune system incorrectly wards off the keratin thus causing inflammation while the body is removing the inflamed tissue from the body thus the result of lip peeling.
  • Long term anti-biotic treatment is another essential cause.

Treatment Options For Factitious Cheilitis

Factitious cheilitis is known to be a little unresponsive to treatment and given that it is a chronic disorder, it needs long term therapy and careful management to prevent recurrences.

  • Apply a cream or lip balm 2 to 3 times a day in order to keep your lips moist.
  • Good oral hygiene is a must.
  • A cold compress with water is beneficial for the treatment of exfoliative cheilitis.
  • Make sure that you consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • In case your health care provider feels you have a dietary insufficiency, he will prescribe supplements.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your body well hydrated and to keep the lips moist too.
  • Do not pick, bite or pull the lips.
  • Topical steroids are helpful in some cases of exfoliative cheilitis.
  • Anti-fungal creams and / or tablets to manage an overgrowth of Candida yeast are advised.
  • In case, you fail to respond to all treatment methods, you may consider surgery for cosmetic purposes.
  • Laser treatment is advocated too; it helps get rid of the diseased cells giving your lips a good cosmetic appearance without any scarring.
  • Photodynamic therapy has been recommended too.
  • Cryosurgery and electrocautery are other significant treatment options.
  • Calendula officinalis or marigold is a natural home remedy for factitious cheilitis. The extract of the Calendula plant has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Calendula officinalis for factitious cheilitis comes in 10 % ointment.