The center of my upper lip is slightly swollen and it feels a bit dry (in a different way from regular dry lips) more like tightness. Upon closer inspection I noticed that there are small wrinkles, as well as tiny bumps which seem to be filled with clear liquid. If I press my lips together, I can feel the fluid. Even though the border of the lip is visible, there is a band of darker pink/red on the outside of the border.
At first, I thought it may be photo-contact dermatitis because I just started using a new sunscreen yesterday and I did stay out in the sun for a while. However, I used the sunscreen all over my face and chest with no problem, whereas what I'm describing is limited to my upper lip.
After doing some internet research and not finding anything that fits in terms of the way it looks or the symptoms it causes, I stumbled upon the wikipedia page for angular cheilitis and although that manifests at the corner of the mouth, it looks almost exactly the same as what I'm experiencing. Here's a link to the photo:
Not sure if it is related in any way, but I also experienced a migraine headache today before the onset of the lip condition. However, I did experience migraine headaches before without any lip reactions.
This happened to me before, however very rarely (about once or twice a year at most). In the past I thought it may have been a reaction to certain lipbalms or even the chlorine in swimming pool, but it's difficult to determine the cause because every single time it happened, two or more possible factors coincided, such as trying a new body lotion or lipbalm and going swimming. The one time it happened after going swimming was the worst: my lips were also sore and the swelling was a lot more severe that now and lasted for more than one week. Otherwise, it generally occurs only on my upper lip and lasts for one week. One time it also affected my lower lip.
It also happened to my mom a few times and she first suspected a body lotion which she then stopped using. After a while it happened again and this time she suspected an older lipstick so she threw it away. It then happened again even after using new lipstick. However, it's worth noting that for both of us it seems to coincide with being out in the sun (and/or possibly wind). At the same time, it's also worth noting that none of us have any sun-related allergies or skin reactions and in general we do not get sunburns easily.
What work to alleviate the tightness and the discomfort is applying a thick layer of Nivea Creme (the very moisturizing, thick, greasy one). I also noticed that if I catch it early and apply the Nivea before it gets worse, the lip condition tends to go away faster (less than the regular 1 week).
Note: it is not a cold sore. I have experienced cold sores and this is definitely different.
Right now I'm trying to figure out what it is that causes it:
- allergic reaction to a chemical in sunscreen/cosmetics? possibly also related to sun exposure?
- food allergy?
- nutritional deficiencies that also cause angular cheilitis?
Because you say that both you and your mother have been suffering from this, I would assume that it IS an allergy/sensitivity...probably caused by one of the ingredients found in the cosmetics/lotions...as allergies tend to run in families.
If the Nivea makes it better, try to spot a difference between the ingredients in that, and the ingredients in other lotions.
From the picture, it looks like contact dermatitis or possibly eczema...which also tend to run in families...and can be made worse by water, allergies/sensitivities, etc.
The next time you're in to see your doctor ask him about it...surmising the "rash" is present. If it's eczema he can prescribe something that will help.
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