When cold winter weather sets in, the dry air can have a negative affect on our skin, particularly our lips. Winter and chapped lips are practically synonymous, but a severely cracked mouth doesn’t just occur during the colder months of the year. Cheilosis—also known as Angular Cheilitis, Perleche or Angular Stomatitis—can strike year-round, and, if it goes untreated, can become extremely painful. It is important to know how to care for this condition and prevent it from happening. Read on to learn about some effective treatments for Cheilosis.
Cheilosis is a condition where painful inflammation and cracking occurs in the corners of the mouth, resulting in redness, swelling and tenderness. It can be caused by a number of different things, and it is important to identify what sparked it so you can receive proper treatment.
The most common and well-known cause of Cheilosis is dry, cold weather. This, paired with a lack of hydration, can cause lips to chap. Other causes of Cheilosis are medications or skincare products that dry out the skin. In cases where lips are dry, people tend to lick or pick which increases irritation and the possibility for infection. These cases are generally less severe, and can be treated quickly.
Fungal infections, such as Candida yeasts, or bacterial infections can also bring on Cheilosis. Yeast or bacteria can form in moisture that collects in the skin flaps at the corner of the mouth, becoming a breeding ground for infections. This can also be an indication of an oral infection growing inside the mouth. Cheilosis is extremely common in older people who wear dentures that are not fitted properly. Due to the jaw being abnormally positioned, the folds of the mouth can attract microorganisms, causing inflammation.
Another cause of Cheilosis is malnutrition, which often occurs in people with health disorders like anemia, diabetes and celiac disease. Since iron and riboflavin, or B vitamins, are necessary supplements for healthy skin and lips, a diet that lacks these nutrients can result in Cheilosis.
In severe cases of Cheilosis, cracks or splits in the corners of the mouth can bleed, forming shallow ulcers and sores. Apart from being extremely painful, these conditions can cause serious infections that can be dangerous to your health.
To properly treat Cheilosis, you first need to identify the cause. For minor cases, like ones brought on by dryness, a topical antibiotic will sufficiently heal lesions. Fungal and bacterial infections will usually require over-the-counter antibiotic creams, but it is a good idea to consult with a dermatologist or oral surgeon to verify the cause. A doctor will take a culture of the mouth to see if there is any yeast or bacteria present.
In instances of malabsorption, Cheilosis can be treated through the injection of B-12 or B complex shots. The amount and frequency of these injections will depend on the severity of the condition and whether or not the patient has a history of Cheilosis. Again, consulting a doctor will help you treat your Cheilosis more effectively.
If you have been diagnosed with Cheilosis, you know how irritating and painful it can be. So, to prevent it from flaring up again, there are some helpful tips to follow. First, it’s essential to protect your lips by applying oil-based cream or lip balm that contains vitamin E and has an SPF of at least 15. Second, avoid licking your lips. Saliva evaporates quickly, leaving lips even drier and more prone to crack. Third, drink lots of water. Hydration is key to keeping lips healthy and moist. Fourth, maintain a well-balanced diet. If you do not consume enough iron and B vitamins through your daily meals, then opt for supplements that get you to your required daily intake of these valuable nutrients. Finally, if you wear dentures, visit your dentist often to make sure they are properly fitted and there is no irritation around your lips.
These are good steps to take to prevent Cheilosis, but there is always a chance for this condition to form even if you follow these tips. If you are concerned about getting Cheilosis or you are interested in more information, contact us today and we’ll set you up with a personal consultation with a certified skincare specialist.