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How can I protect my children from cheilitis?

Cheilitis is the term used to describe chapped lips. It can be caused by several things including poor nutrition, sun exposure, allergies and excessive licking or picking at the lips. You can help protect your child from getting extremely chapped lips by limiting exposure to the sun and by encouraging them not to pick at their mouths.

You can help protect your kids from cheilitis by reminding them not to lick or irritate the corners of their mouths. Cheilitis, signaled by swelling and cracking at the corners of the mouth, is caused by a type of yeast called Candida. This type of yeast thrive in moist areas, so they tend to collect at the corners of the mouth when it is wet from saliva. The good news is that your children probably aren't at high risk for cheilitis, unless they have an immune system problem or other health condition such as diabetes or anemia. People whose immune systems can't fight off the yeast are more likely to get cheilitis.

 If a child can stop licking or irritating the corners of her mouth, the cheilitis should go away.

The type of cheilitis you want to protect your child from the most is actinic cheilitis. This is one of the easier types to prevent because sunscreen contained in lip balm will protect your child from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. These rays are what cause actinic cheilitis and although in its early stages it is not very serious, it can evolve into squamous cell carcinoma. Do your best in protecting your children from the sun by using at least a sun protecting factor (SPF) of 15.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.