Cheilitis simplex

Last Updated: 2020-08-12

Author(s): Navarini A.

ICD11: DA00.0

Cheilitis is an inflammation of the lips. It can be acute or chronic. Primarily the red part of the lips is affected (vermilion and its edge), secondarily the surrounding hair follicle-bearing skin as well as the mucosa may be involved.


Occurs in

  • chronic irritant contact dermatitis (1/3 patients)
  • allergic contact dermatitis (1/4)
  • atopic diathesis (1/5)
  • idiopathic (1/10)
  • associated with other dermatoses (1/10) 

  • Erythema
  • Dry, lamellar scaling
  • Rhagades
  • Edema
  • Itching / burning

  • Medical history: Atopic diathesis, contact irritants or allergens, lip gloss, food, cosmetics, environmental irritants (cold, dryness, ...).  
  • Typical clinical picture
  • Exclusion of actinic cheilitis and exfoliative cheilitis (idiopathic) 

Lips, partly surrounding skin.

After avoiding identified contact substances, the prognosis is good.

  1. Treatments of actinic cheilitis: A systematic review of the literature. Lai M, Pampena R, Cornacchia L, Pellacani G, Peris K, Longo C.J Am Acad Dermatol. 2019 

  2. Treatment of actinic cheilitis: a systematic review. Salgueiro AP, de Jesus LH, de Souza IF, Rados PV, Visioli F.Clin Oral Investig. 2019 May;23(5):2041-2053. 

  3. Patch Testing for Cheilitis: A 10-Year Series. Cheng HS, Konya J, Lobel E, Fernandez-Penas P.Dermatitis. 2019 Nov/Dec;30(6):347-351.