20 answers

How Do I Get My 3 Year Old to Stop Licking His Lips So Much?

My 3 1/2 year old has been licking his lips and around his lips a lot the past couple weeks. As a result he has dry patches that are really red and even a spot that looks like it may have been bleeding a little. I have used vasoline, and chapstick on it but he continues to lick it. How can I get him to stop and what can I put on it to heal it faster?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the great advice. I'm glad to hear that this is very common. I've been giving him a lot more water, and at night I have put vitamin E on it. In the morning it looks great. But by evening it is all red again from his licking, so I have started to be more diligent during the day.

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Try bag balm. You can get it at cvs, and it heals it very quickly, and tastes icky, so he will be less likely to lick it. A friend of my daughters had this same habit, getting a huge red ring around her mouth every winter, and she got to the point that every time she came to stay a few days with us, she asked for the bag balm. By the time she went home, it would be cleared up. Her mom just used vaseline on it, and as I said, she would ask me for the bag balm as soon as she got to my house. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Last year, my then two and a half year old, had the same problem. I took him to the pediatrician because it had gotten so bad he was getting some cracking around his lips. Anyway, the pediatrician told me he was dehydrated (always happens around this time of year through spring). I went to Target and got the Target brand lip balm in a small jar. It was a two pack, small white jar with the red Target lid. It was unflavored so he didn't lick it more and really he didn't like it but it helped so much!

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Try bag balm. You can get it at cvs, and it heals it very quickly, and tastes icky, so he will be less likely to lick it. A friend of my daughters had this same habit, getting a huge red ring around her mouth every winter, and she got to the point that every time she came to stay a few days with us, she asked for the bag balm. By the time she went home, it would be cleared up. Her mom just used vaseline on it, and as I said, she would ask me for the bag balm as soon as she got to my house. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

It's kind of expensive but try Abreva. It's actually a cold sore medicine, but that's what our doctor told us to use for my son. There's also lip medex in the little blue barrel that works really well but is medicated so it burns a bit. Vaseline doesn't help at all once the "chapness" has begun.

This might sound weird - does he have any other ticks, like eye-blinking, shrugging, etc. Our son had some of these with the lip licking, and just by chance, had him checked out by a chiropractor. He had something out of line pushing on his nerves, and when he got that straightened out, all of his ticks and licking went away just like that.

Last year, my then two and a half year old, had the same problem. I took him to the pediatrician because it had gotten so bad he was getting some cracking around his lips. Anyway, the pediatrician told me he was dehydrated (always happens around this time of year through spring). I went to Target and got the Target brand lip balm in a small jar. It was a two pack, small white jar with the red Target lid. It was unflavored so he didn't lick it more and really he didn't like it but it helped so much!

A friend of mine (health professional) commented on my son's "moustache" from licking his lips - she had gotten some continuing ed info on this condition. She recommends a mixture of Lamasil (the athlete's foot/anti-fungal med) and hydrocortisone. I am trying this on him this week.
Another thing that works okay is plain old A&D (the diaper rash ointment) - I slather that on at night.
I'd like to find something that is not toxic but tastes so nasty that he stops licking, but haven't done that yet.

Hi T.,
Many children do this, so you child is not unusual. I have been in the health care field for 3 decades, and just wanted you to know that Vaseline and Chapstick are petroleum based and will keep his lips irritated. If Chapstick cured the problem, they would be out of business- it just perpetuates the problem and doesn't heal it. Go to the drugstore and ask for a stick of pure cocoa butter. This will be much better for your child. Also some pure Vit. E oil might help, too.
I hope this helps.
M.

First off, did you realize that licking ones lips is a sign of dehydration?

When someone is suffering from lack of water they start licking their lips to rehydrate them.....

Both of my kids do this and it is so bad they look like they ate a thing of lipstick.

Get him to drink more water and if you still want to put something on his lips I would suggest something that if he ingests it is not going to hurt him....so watch the night creams and stuff. I even try to stay away from vasaline, and go with the Burts Bees stuff, or Carmex.

Good luck give him an extra glass of water.

Chelle E.

My son did the exact same thing...put in on him when he is sleeping!

Hello T., Get him some chapstick. Keep it in your pocket and put it on often or when he asks. Good luck.

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