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Red Ring Around Lips: Causes, Treatment, & Prevention

Red Ring Around Lips: Causes, Treatment, & Prevention

You wake up in the morning, and you see a red chapped ring around your lips, and suddenly you get sad about it. How did it form? And most importantly, how to get it away? You must be wondering about the appearance of the red ring around your lips overnight, and this blog post will help you discover everything about this condition.

Various potential reasons are involved behind the red ring lips; some may refer to it as perioral dermatitis, while others may call it lip licker’s dermatitis. Whatever the condition is, the formation of red rings or acne-like blisters around the mouth contributes greatly to skin irritation. The skin around the mouth is extremely sensitive as it reacts instantly to weather changes or contact with chemicals.  Moreover, when gets in contact with this skin area, the saliva leads to severe irritation, another cause of red ring around lips allergy. In a lot of females, any rubbing or staining of lipstick around the lips leads to forming redness that causes irritation. When spread out unevenly, the pigments of the lipstick may react with the skin around the mouth in people with a more sensitive skin type. It leads to the formation of visible red marks, which some people commonly refer to as ‘lipstick marks.’ Excessive lip-licking also contributes to red staining around the lips.

Below we have enlisted some of the common reasons behind the red dry ring around your lips to help you know more about this skin condition.

Causes of Red Rings and Dryness Around LipsCauses of Red Rings and Dryness Around Lips

Contact With an Irritant

When the skin around the mouth comes in contact with an allergen, such as any makeup product, shaving or after-shaving cream, or low-quality skin care products, it reacts to it by causing dryness and burning sensation around the lips. Dermatitis caused by the allergic substances may be mild or strongly acidic in nature, drawing out the essential oils from your skin by breaking its protective barrier.

Eczema or Lip DermatitisEczema or Lip Dermatitis

People who suffer from Eczema keep on experiencing redness around their lips at regular intervals throughout their life. The red and dry skin, followed by the painful blisters resulting from Lip Dermatitis or Eczema, have genetic factors behind it. Any contact with skin irritants, harsh chemicals or products, or any hormonal changes leads to red ring lips.

Perioral Dermatitis

The extremely painful inflammation and red scaly patches formation around the lips that sometimes expands to the nose and under-eyes is mostly common in young females. Perioral Dermatitis occurs due to excessive use of steroid creams that result in painful pustules and patches. Individuals who suffer from rosacea may also have a wider chance of developing Perioral Dermatitis.

Insufficient Sebum ProductionInsufficient Sebum Production

The sebaceous glands produce sebum which is the protective barrier of the skin. The skin may look dry and patchy if the glands do not produce enough sebum. The lack of sebum reacts severely on the thinner skin areas, such as around the lips and under the eyes. This results in the appearance of a red ring around the mouth and dehydration around this area.

Lip Licker’s Dermatitis

If you habitually lick your lips, you are more prone to developing a red ring around your lips. During the condition of Lip Licker’s Dermatitis or Lip Lick Cheilitis, cracked or scaly patches are formed around the mouth due to the skin being constantly in contact with the saliva as a result of licking. Saliva pulls out the natural skin oils from the skin around the mouth, making it dry, inflamed, and patchy.

Too Much Exposure to the SunToo Much Exposure to the Sun

The UV rays of the sun have the ability to damage the skin’s protective layer and loosen all of its moisture. People who come under overexposure to the sun’s rays usually develop dry skin and especially a more inflamed, patchy area in the form of red rings around the lips. This indicates the loss of moisture caused due to sun damage.

Climatic Changes

Climatic changes have a direct influence on the human skin. As the skin around the mouth is the most sensitive area, any drop in the humidity level affects it by damaging its protective barrier. Once the protective layer is damaged, it results in a red ring around the lips leading to irritation formation of large dry patches.

How to Get Rid of Red Rings Around the Lips?How to Get Rid of Red Rings Around the Lips

So now as you are aware of all the causes of red rings around the mouth, first, you have to determine the exact reason behind the chapped ring around your lips. You are probably having pimples, painful blisters, inflammation, or merely red rings with no pain. Once you have analyzed the symptoms and the cause, it’s time to move on with the right treatment option based on your condition.

If the irritation or redness stays and does not disappear, you should consult your dermatologist as soon as possible.

Put on Sunscreen Always!

For many years, there has been much emphasis on putting on good sunscreen whether or not you go under the sun. The miraculous sunscreen strengthens your skin’s protective barrier and saves it from aging and dryness. If you have dryness and redness around your lips, this might be due to sun damage. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above effectively treats dryness, swelling, or red rings around the mouth.

Wear a Good-Quality Lip BalmGood-Quality Lip Balm

Just like your skin, your lips need moisturization too. Some people keep on constantly licking their lips to keep them hydrated. This leads to lip-licking dermatitis that is extremely damaging to the lips. Applying a lip balm on the lips helps provide ample moisture to the skin and stops you from licking your lips repeatedly.

Use a Good Exfoliator

The dry and dead skin cells, when accumulating in a particular area, result in clogging the pores. Clogged pores are the major reason behind breakouts and other skin-related issues. Using an exfoliator on the red rings around the lips helps remove the dead skin particles and dry patches, helping you achieve baby-soft skin with healthier skin cells. It is recommended to choose hydroxy acids containing exfoliator as they speed up the process of removing dead cells and encourage the growth of new skin cells.

AntibioticsAntibiotics for ring around lips

If the redness around your lips is not getting away or you have developed perioral dermatitis, you may start taking antibiotics from your doctor’s consultation. Skip corticosteroids and rather choose erythromycin or tetracycline around the swollen area.

Use a Good Moisturizer

Moisturization is the key to healthy-looking skin. Due to changing climatic conditions, the skin under the mouth gets extremely dry, and in some cases, it develops pustules and acne-like rings. To prevent it or to reduce its appearance, it is recommended to use a good moisturizer that contains shea butter to soothe the affected area.

Use Lipstick Less FrequentlyUse Lipstick Less Frequently

Females who are habitual of putting on cheap lipsticks all the time develop dryness and redness around their lips. This is because the chemicals in the lipstick affect the lips’ breathability, and once these chemicals come in contact with the skin around the mouth, it results in causing a severe chemical reaction. Always choose lipsticks manufactured with high-quality and skin-friendly products to keep your lips moisturized and not cause any skin reaction.

Use Ice Pack

Ice contains the exceptional ability to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. If you have developed any redness or ring around chapped lips, apply ice cubes to the affected area to reduce the dryness.

Take Help from Nature

Natural remedies work great in combatting skin damage or any inflammation that is caused due to environmental regressors. Organic remedies such as aloe vera, cucumber, honey, or lemon contain exceptional anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Applying these to your dry lips will heal all kinds of problems naturally. These organic ingredients help tighten skin and help you get rid of red rings around the lips instantly by locking in the moisture for longer.

Use a Humidifier

air humidifier

If you have developed red rings or dryness around your mouth overnight, this is because of the nasal congestion that leads to dry mouth, which eventually results in saliva pouring out of the mouth. Using a humidifier can be really helpful in providing you with a good night’s sleep by preventing nasal congestion, snoring, and other sleeping issues. A humidifier helps retain skin moisture and relieve any redness or dryness around the mouth.

Lipstick Application Tips

Girls love to apply lipsticks on their lips to add vibrance and a glamorous touch to their appearance. But if you get sensitive skin and get red rings more frequently around your mouth, you need to be very careful before applying the lipstick of your choice.

  • Before applying lipstick, put on a hydrated lip balm containing coconut or jojoba oil. Keep your lips moisturized with the help of a good lip balm, and let them rest for a good 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Apply a small amount of lip shade on your lips with the help of a brush or finger. Don’t rub it too vigorously to avoid any harsh reaction.
  • Keep on changing the lip shade every day, and do not stay stick to the same lip color for everyday usage.
  • Don’t apply lipstick from contaminated hands as this is a major source of transferring bacteria from hands to lips.
  • If the lipstick looks too dark on the lips, try to blot it off using tissue paper. Never rub it vigorously to lighten the shade.

When to See a Doctor?

If your lips are not healing or showing any signs of improvement even after taking care of them properly, you should not delay your visit to the dermatologist. The dry or chapped lips are strongly associated with allergic reactions and if avoided for any long, the allergy may spread to various other body parts. Probably, it is some fungal or bacterial infection that will spread out later if not take care of properly. Rush to your dermatologist if the dry and scaly patches start to pain or bleed frequently.


Lip-licking is a very common habit of the majority of individuals, but this can lead to devoid your skin under the lips of all the essential oils. The appearance of chapped rings around the lips can sometimes be painful, while in some cases, it only looks patchy and not feels painful. Whatever the case is, you should not take it lightly. Use only those skincare products which are verified by dermatologists. Moisturize your lips with organic products, and always do a patch test before applying any random product. Lip products are among the most intimidating makeup products, so never share these with anyone. Consult your dermatologist if the inflammation and redness stay on your lips for longer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does eczema spread from person to person?

Eczema does not spread from one person to another, but it spreads on the body. Not necessarily spreads in a similar pattern. It may develop on different body parts independently.

How do you treat red ring lips?

To treat red rings around the lips, apply aloe vera gel or cucumber slice on the affected area, as these natural products include skin-soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Avoid applying lipstick or corticosteroid ointment without the doctor’s consultation.

Why do I have a red ring around my lips?

Constant lip-licking, climatic conditions, and lack of hydration contribute majorly to causing red lips around the lips.

Why are my lips red around the edges?

If you have redness on the edges of your skin, you may have developed Angular Cheilitis. It occurs when the saliva gets accumulates on the corners of the lips, which makes the skin crack when it dries. The bacterial and fungal reaction grows steadily in the dried saliva area, leading to inflammation and redness.

What is the ring around your lip called?

The ring around the lips can either be lip-licking dermatitis or perioral dermatitis.

What is perioral dermatitis?

Perioral Dermatitis is the skin condition in which acne-like breakouts and dry, scaly patches appear around the mouth due to constantly using corticosteroid cream, any irritating skin product, or even toothpaste.

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