What is Angular Cheilitis?
Angular cheilitis is also known as angular perleche, angular stomatitis, and angular cheilosis. All of these names are in reference to the ability of angular cheilitis to dry out and chap the skin (Healthh). Angular cheilitis is a condition that involves lesions, often found at the corners of the mouth. It can be found in five different settings as follows:
- Those that are immunosuppressed (Derm101)
Symptoms of Angular Cheilitis
Though symptoms may vary according to how far the condition has advanced and as per the cause of each specific case of angular cheilitis, it generally manifests in the following ways:
- Reddish skin
- Inflammation of the skin
- Lesions, cracks, or blisters (usually on both sides of the lips)
- Difficulty in moving lips normally (Pharmainfo, Health CCM)
A Condition Often Mistaken
Many people, upon reading the symptoms are probably thinking that they have experienced angular cheilitis at some point in their lives. Though, there are some other mouth illnesses that are often mistaken for angular cheilitis.
Herpes (cold sores or fever blisters)
Herpes (HSV-1) is often confused with angular cheilitis in that both conditions affect the mouth region and form some sort of lesion. The differences are subtle, but identifiable. Cold sores can affect any part of the lip, while angular cheilitis is usually limited to the corners of the mouth. Herpes tends to clear up in 2-3 weeks while angular chelitis can persist longer. These two conditions also differ in their first symptoms. Cold sores begin as itchiness or tingling before a blister appears. Angular cheilitis will start as a flaky patch of skin.
Although chapped lips can sometimes eventually cause angular cheilitis in how the dryness compromises the strength of the skin, they are not the same condition. Chapped lips usually occur when we live in dry regions and during cold seasons. They also tend to flare up when we are dehydrated. Angular cheilitis, on the other hand, can occur when living in any region and regardless of season. Chapped lips, as we’ve all experienced, affects the entire lip. Angular cheilitis remember, is usually localized to the corners of the lips.
Causes of Angular Cheilitis
The main causes of angular cheilitis are manifold, sometimes disagreed upon, and are not the same for everybody. Some possible causes of angular cheilitis depending on your lifestyle and prior health are:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Lip folding
- Medical conditions
- Some medications (Pharmainfo)
The suggested treatments of angular cheilitis are something of a debate. The controversy is between traditional, mainstream medicine and natural treatments. Depending on your specific case and personal viewpoints, your treatment preferences may vary. Consult a trusted medical or treatment professional to further assist you in making treatment choices.
According to Earth Clinic, some of the best ways to treat angular cheilitis are natural. They suggest that common medicinal treatments to do not actually cure the condition, but rather alleviate some symptoms. Earth Clinic suggests taking on angular cheilitis using some simple DIY remedies:
Yogurt. Earth Clinic sites yogurt’s active bacteria and probiotics as the reason that it works to rid your skin of angular cheilitis. It supposedly moisturizes the skin and brings balances the skin’s healthy levels of bacteria.
Castor Oil. Castor oil is a popular substance used by home remedy enthusiasts. Earth Clinic boasts of its ability to reduce inflammation and infection. They also suggest that castor oil can moisturize the skin, too.
Bee Propolis. Bee propolis is the material that bees collect from plants. It is sticky, but more importantly, packed with nutrients. It is said to be a good choice as a natural treatment for angular cheilitis in that it both soothes the skin and can fight the infections that are irritating the affected skin (Earth Clinic).
Mainstream Medicinal Treatments
Natural cures, according to others, are not always the best treatment–no matter how tempting their gentle methods seem.
A trip to the doctor and following prescribed medications may be the best of the options, though they do offer a few over the counter choices if you are unable to visit a clinic. Here are a few choices that may work, or at least help the symptoms, according to the website:
- Antifungal cream
- Rubbing alcohol
No matter which option you choose to treat your angular cheilitis, it is important to first know what symptoms to monitor and truly understand the condition before taking drastic action. Do not attempt any of these methods without confirming that you are indeed suffering from angular cheilitis. As always, consult your physician with any questions.
- Derm 101, Angular Cheilitis, [online].
- Earth Clinic, Angular Cheilitis Remedies, 2015, [online].
- HealthH, Angular Cheilitis – Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Contagious, Pictures, [online].
- Pharma info, Angular Cheilitis – Everything you should know about Angular Cheilitis, [online].
- Health CCM, Angular Cheilitis, [online].