THAT RED RASH AROUND YOUR CHILD’S MOUTH: LIP-LICKING DERMATITIS

THAT RED RASH AROUND YOUR CHILD’S MOUTH: LIP-LICKING DERMATITIS

It seems that all of my children have gone through a stage of having that irritating red rash around their mouths. It looks terrible and drives me crazy. My infant is currently going through a stage of constantly sticking her tongue out and licking the skin below her mouth.

The cause:

While lip licking or biting is a common cause, there are other causes as well. Binky use is a common offender. The saliva gets trapped under the binky and on top of the skin and a rash develops. Finger-sucking is another common offender. The commonality is that saliva is usually the underlying culprit.

The treatment:

The solution is simple, stop the saliva. However, the practicality of doing that is nearly impossible. How do you get a 1 year-old to stop licking her lips? You don’t.

Instead, you do what I do and chase the stupid rash by applying ointments a million times a day to try and get it under control (so it doesn’t get so bad that the skin breaks down and gets infected). Yesterday, I counted. I applied ointment to her face 15 times (and yesterday was a very typical day). I prefer to use Aquaphor. I don’t have to worry if she licks it. It provides a barrier to allow for healing. I have also tried Elidel (a prescription medication) because it isn’t a steroid. Be warned, the medication is expensive. Finally you can try steroid creams (e.g., hydrocortisone). The problem is long-term side effects of using steroids. If the problem is the binky, you may be forced to get rid of it sooner than you were ready in order to get rid of the rash. If the affected child is older, you may be able to give them a pocket sized Aquaphor or lip balm that he/she can put on anytime they have the urge to lip lick.

The good news is that the red rash isn’t forever (although it may feel like it) and it’s nothing that a little Photoshop can’t fix.

Some of the Products I Love

BOOSTER SEATS: THE FACTS AND MY FAVES

One of the questions I get a lot include, "What is the best booster seat?" and "What are the top-rated booster seats?" Here's what I know, and what I use: Booster seats are car seats designed to be used by children between the ages of 4-8 years-old. The seat belt in a...

10 THINGS YOU SHOULD HAVE IN YOUR MEDICINE CABINET

Everyone should have a few common, key items in their medicine cabinet. These few items should help in a pinch, and save you from making trips to the store in the middle of the night. Here are the must haves to any medicine cabinet: Tylenol (generic is acetaminophen)....

SHOULD I BUY A BREAST PUMP?

If you are having a baby and planning on breastfeeding, you may want to consider buying a breast pump. The most valuable time to have a breast pump is generally in the first few days after having a baby. So if you’re going to invest in one, do so early. Consider...

About The Author

Dr. Monica Wonnacott

I'm a pediatrician and a mom. I've been doing this doctor thing for 10 years, and love it. I'm known for giving parents the straight scoop without always sugar-coating it. And I believe in educating parents. The more you know, the better care you give your kids.

Dr. Monica Wonnacott


I'm a pediatrician and a mom. PediatricAnswers.com is my blog where parents can get the straight scoop on their child's health, largely based on my experience in the office and at home. I don't diagnose on the site, so please don't ask. These are just my opinions. Use this site as a resource. And trust your parent gut.

Subscribe Now

Share This

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER?

I send out a free newsletter with some of the articles and recommendations from the site. If you haven't already, please subscribe...and share with your friends on Facebook.

Thanks for subscribing. You'll start getting my newsletter soon.