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Itchy, dry, cracked lips (Perioral Dermatitis) – cured naturally

I have been struggling on and off with itchy, dry, cracked lips (called perioral dermatitis) for several years now.
It started with dry, scaly lips that didn’t seem to get better. Recently it’s escalated to an itchy, burning sensation deep inside the lip which quickly turns into a swollen, bumpy rash with more itching and soreness. At first I thought I was getting a cold sore – mine start with an itch under the skin on the lip. But it didn’t turn into a cold sore.
A dermatologist told me to use a steroid cream to settle down my itchy, dry, cracked lips, but from experience I know that steroid creams aren’t the long term solution. I’ve had autoimmune problems for many years. I suffered with scalp psoriasis for 5 years, so I know the western medicine drill.

I cured my scalp psoriasis by doing a detox and changing my diet. I also did a yoga teacher training course at the same time and found a way to manage my stress through yoga. It’s only recently occurred to me that I might need to do the same again for my lips.

I thought that it might be what I put on my lips that is causing the itchy, dry, cracked lips, so I made more lip balm using different ingredients to try to work out if I was allergic to what I was using. Nothing seemed to help. I also thought that it might be the chemicals and pesticides that are used on my golf course (I play 3 days a week), but very few others seem to have the same symptoms.

I went to the GP to discuss the problem and asked for a referral for an allergy test. He advised me (based on his own experience) that they can’t really pinpoint a particular allergen and that it is rather generic and they might tell you that you are allergic to dust mites. I have a strong belief that the gut is responsible for what happens elsewhere in the body, so it occurred to me that I could do this myself.

2 weeks ago I decided to go on an elimination diet of my own to cut out possible foods that might be causing the problem. I mostly avoid gluten anyway, but sometimes I have something glutenous when I’m out. So I’ve been very strict with myself and I’ve cut out all wheat, gluten, nuts, alcohol and dairy. I’m now 2 weeks into my new diet and my lips have never felt better. They are soft and normal with no scale or dry skin peeling off. I’ve had mild itching a couple of times but it has settled down very quickly using calamine lotion. I can use my natural lip balm on them and they feel wonderful.

I will continue for a few more weeks with my elimination diet to make sure that this isn’t just coincidence. Then I will introduce alcohol, then dairy and see if the lips break out again. Oooh – almost forgot. Another benefit has been that I’ve lost 2 kg!

We are all different. What triggers my autoimmune reaction might be different to what triggers your autoimmune responses. We have to work it out for ourselves because western medicine isn’t interested in helping us. They just want to sell us pharmaceuticals to keep their medical economy ticking over and making lots of money.

I was inspired to write this article because I read of someone else’s experience (thanks Phoebe) –

No longer itchy dry cracked lips - they feel normal again
No longer itchy dry cracked lips – they feel normal again


Perioral dermatitis is a facial rash, most commonly occurring in women. It is usually around the mouth but can also be on the sides of the nose. It presents as small raised pink bumps and feels rough and scaly.

The rash causes the lips and surrounds to turn red, the lip definition blurs in with the rash and it is difficult to smile, eat and talk. And forget kissing or putting on lipstick! Eating hot, spicy foods can feel like an acid burn and even drinking a hot drink can feel very uncomfortable. Because it’s in the middle of the face, a sufferer feels very conspicuous and self conscious.

It’s also considered to be a recurring condition, and many dermatologists will offer the same treatment over and over again.

The overuse of steroid creams and nasal sprays is known to be a cause. However, the reason that perioral dermatitis recurs is unknown. It would seem that it is your body telling you that something is out of balance. The trick is figuring out what is out of balance and bringing it back into balance.