An allergic reaction on the lips may be caused by one of several things, including a food allergy, a pollen allergy, or an allergy or sensitivity to lip balms or cosmetics. Swollen, irritated, and itchy lips may indicate that something that a person is eating, drinking, or applying onto or around the mouth is triggering a reaction. Those who experience an allergic reaction of this kind should speak to their doctor so that appropriate testing can be done to determine the source of the problem. Although it may seem like an insignificant issue, if it is a symptom of a more serious allergy, it is important to determine its cause before the person suffering the symptoms has a stronger, possibly life-threatening reaction to an allergy trigger.
A very common cause of an allergic reaction on the lips is the use of some personal care products, such as lip balm, or cosmetics, such as lipstick or lip gloss, and the reaction is often made worse when the user applies more lip product in hopes of counteracting the irritation caused by the original reaction. These products frequently contain fragrances, dyes, and other ingredients that can trigger sensitivities and allergies.
Other possible causes of this kind of reaction may be oral care products, such as mouthwashes or toothpaste, or skin care products. In many cases, the best way to determine whether a product is triggering a reaction is to stop using all products for a few days and then slowly add one product back each day. When the reaction reappears, the sufferer can identify its cause as the product that has most recently been re-added to his or her routine.
In other cases, an allergic reaction on the lips may actually be a result of a food allergy. If a person swallows a food or beverage to which he or she is allergic, one of the initial signs of the reaction may be a swelling or tingling on the lips. In more severe cases, this reaction may be accompanied by other symptoms, including difficulty breathing. Some individuals may suffer from oral allergy syndrome, which is triggered by eating certain fruits and vegetables that have proteins that are constructed similarly to certain pollens.
In most cases, the reaction caused by oral allergy syndrome is relegated to the lips and mouth and does not last long. There have been cases, however, in which sufferers have developed a much more serious reaction and required medical attention.