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Angular Cheilitis: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatments

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.

Lips being very delicate are very much prone to damage and problems. A little carelessness and exposure to damaging conditions affect lips in such a way that they start spoiling. One of such damaging condition is Angular Cheilitis, when the corners of one’s mouth start drying abnormally and subsequent cracking and fissuring also occurs. When the corners of a person’s mouth crack, it can be irritating, hurting, and unpleasant. It also causes a lot of discomfort to even open and close the mouth and this is the reason why eating and talking also become difficult. Fortunately, this condition of cracked lips is easy to treat*, and how to cure* corner lip cracks, we would precisely discuss in this article further.

What is Angular Cheilitis or Corner Lip Cracks?

This is a condition of lip damage that affects the corners and nooks around the mouth. It can make normal activities like eating and talking very painful and causes ulcers and sores to form at the corners of the mouth/lips. The sores can start to bleed due to excessive stiffness, fissures and dryness especially when the victim opens her mouth too wide when affected by Angular Cheilitis. Most medical specialists affirm that this condition is connected to poor diet, Vitamin deficiencies, especially B2, are supposed to be the main cause of angular cheilitis. There might also be the deficiencies of iron and zinc, and fungal infections might also be the reason for the same.

Signs and Symptoms of Angular Cheilitis

The lips are very much prone to chapping and dryness around the corners because the skin is very thin and the contouring deepens in case of dryness and non-presence of any extra membrane or hair at this particular area. Angular cheilitis’ common signs and symptoms include:

  • Dryness around the mouth
  • Redness on the corners and the contours
  • Pain or tenderness on the lip sides
  • Swelling around the mouth
  • Rough skin
  • Bleeding
  • Peeling and flaking of lip skin and the surrounding skin

Causes of Corner Lip Cracks

Causes of Cracked Corners of the Mouth include:

  • Vitamin Deficiencies
  • Iron and Zinc Deficiencies
  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Extreme Weather Conditions
  • Skin Irritants like makeup cosmetics, chemical based lipsticks or balms, mouthwashes, toothpastes, etc.
  • Allergic reaction from some medication, product or food.
  • Celiac Disease that causes the body difficulty in digesting essential nutrients from food, causing a vitamin deficiency that can trigger cracking.
  • Dehydration and not drinking enough water is one of the most common causes of cracked corners of the mouth and dry, chapped lips.
  • Oral Herpes that is triggered by stress, poor eating, or lack of sleep causes soring, dryness and cracking lips at the corners.
  • Mouth breathing that creates a continuous air flow around the mouth leads to chapped, dry lips.
  • Poor Habits like licking or biting the lips can cause the corners of the mouth to crack. Also smoking which instigates the carbon layering is a reason of cracks at the corners.

Tips to Prevent Lip Cracks at Corners of Mouth

  • Get rid of toxins
  • Eat healthy and avoid junk food
  • Less* exposure to pollution and direct sun/ rain
  • Proper hydration
  • No licking/ biting of lips
  • Good sleep cycle
  • Maintenance of oral hygiene
  • Less* use of cosmetics
  • Apply sunscreen
  • Exfoliation and Moisturization

Treatments for Angular Cheilitis

  • Antifungal Creams and Over the Counter Creams: to be religiously applied throughout the day and when prescribed.
  • Natural Olive/ Coconut Oil: massaging with the same in regular intervals heal Angular cheilitis.
  • Vitamin B2: Supplements of the same can be helpful in treating Angular cheilitis.

Other Treatments Include:

  • Consuming fibrous foods
  • Iron and zinc creams that are good for skin.
  • Good mineral water source should be ensured in order to cure* Angular cheilitis.
  • Adequate water intake also helps treating Angular cheilitis.
  • Natural or home based lip balms like those made of honey, milk, strawberries, rose-petals, etc.
  • Vitamin A is a very important vitamin for good health of the skin as it helps in repair and maintenance. Foods such as milk, apricots, carrots and milk can help curing Angular cheilitis.

Diet and Nutritional Improvements

The diet plays one of the most important roles in curing, when the corners of your mouth are cracked. Spicy and heavy foods can irritate the cracks and cause extreme trouble. Sugary foods and caffeine are also problematical. These types of foods dehydrate the body and retard the healing*. Having plenty of water and hydrating and nutritious foods always aggravate the healing*.

  • Ensure adequate intake of water and other fluids on a regular basis.
  • Follow a healthy and balanced diet comprising of a variety of different foods.
  • Have vitamins and minerals rich foods in order to stay healthy and away from Angular cheilitis.
  • Consume lots of fresh fruits and vegetables as these are rich in antioxidants.
  • Vitamin Supplements as suggested can also be taken.
  • Vitamin C which is enclosed in citrus fruits and numerous vegetables helps to guard the body from sun damage and also aids* in tissue refurbishing.
  • Nuts, leafy vegetables and eggs include high amounts of vitamin E which helps to prevent wrinkles and fine lines and drying of skin too.

Natural Remedies

There are certain natural ingredients you can use easily and are available at home to relieve the condition of Angular cheilitis:

  • Petroleum Jelly: It locks moisture into the lips and is especially useful for open mouth breathers and those who lick their lips. Make sure the product is mild and non-addictive.
  • Olive Oil: It moisturizes and hydrates the lips and prevents cracks from occurring. It also softens and nourishes the lip skin.
  • Cucumber Juice: Rubbing a slice of fresh cucumber on the affected soothes and heals the skin.
  • Honey: It fights the bacterial infection and naturally moisturizes the affected cracked and dried skin.
  • Aloe Vera: It heals the discomfort of Angular cheilitis and also sooth the discomfort of Angular cheilitis. The gel or pulp from natural aloe vera is a great healing* agent.
  • Margosa Leaves: These leaves are an efficient treatment for cracked corners caused by angular cheilitis. The powder of the same can also be applied directly to the affected areas to cure* the problem quickly.

If the cracks in the corners or Angular cheilitis of your mouth do not leave you in a few days, quickly consult with your doctor. The condition can be all the more uncomfortable and make you self-conscious of your social appearance, so the sooner it heals up the better* it is. There might also be a condition of yeast infection or a particular allergy that will definitely need special medication.