Angular cheilitis is a common problem affecting the lips of two million people every year, making it the second most common lip infection. This infection is characterized by inflammation at either one corner or both corners of the mouth. This condition makes your lips vulnerable to opportunistic bacterial and fungal infections, often leading to a lesion to appear.
If you think you may be suffering from angular cheilitis, you may notice the following symptoms:
• Painful sores at either one corner of the lip or at both corners of the mouth
• A burning sensation at the sore site
• Chapped lips
Without treatment, these symptoms may persist from a couple weeks to several months depending on the severity of the case.
Causes of Angular Cheilitis
There are several factors that can held accountable for causing angular cheilitis. These causes include:
• Mineral deficiency, such as zinc, iron, and vitamin B2
• Dentures that don’t fit properly
• Poor Hygiene
Treatment for Angular Cheilitis
If left untreated, angular cheilitis will eventually resolve itself. However, this may take several months. For one thing, you are constantly using your mouth and stretching the corners to eat, laugh, and talk. This frequent movement makes it difficult for new skin cells to develop and close off the open wound.
Saliva gets into these open wounds, introducing harmful bacteria to a vulnerable area. Secondly, the wounds may have trouble healing due to the bacterial and fungal infections introduced to these wounds via saliva and outside elements.
If this is the case, the immune system has a lot of work, fighting off these infections and then healing the wound. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to heal your angular cheilitis. First off, you can see your physician and get medication to treat the sores and eliminate infection.
If you want to go the more natural route, there are several home remedies you can use at home that not only help prevent infection, but also encourage the healing of the sores on your mouth.
Make sure you are drinking enough water. One common cause of cracked dry lips is that you’re not keeping your body sufficiently hydrated. By drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, you are ensuring not only your overall health, but also the health of your lips as well.
2) Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera is an effective natural treatment of angular cheilitis because it not only soothes painful inflammation, but it also helps treat infection as well. You can either use the leaf of an aloe vera plant or purchase aloe vera gel.
- Put an aloe vera leaf or gel in the refrigerator for a couple hours.
- Once completely cool, rub the aloe vera gel on the corners of your mouth for two minutes.
- Let sit for 15 minutes or until the gel dries.
- Then rinse of with cool water.
3) Coconut Oil
This moisturizing natural remedy not only helps to soothe dry, cracked lips, it also helps eliminate harmful bacteria and microorganisms that cause a wide array of skin conditions.
Due to its bacteria killing abilities, virgin coconut oil is also a great preventative treatment. Apply coconut oil four times a day to the infected areas.
4) Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is another great moisturizing natural treatment. Using cocoa butter daily will prevent your lips from becoming dry and chapped.
Apply a dab or two of natural cocoa butter directly on the affected area three times a day every day. Keeping your lips sufficiently moisturized will considerably cut down the healing time and likelihood of contracting infection.
Cucumbers are often revered for their moisturizing, anti-inflammatory properties, and for good reason. This vegetable lives up to its reputation and is a great natural remedy for angular cheilitis.
This treatment not only heals cracked lips, but it also helps alleviate pain associated with the condition. Simply hold a cucumber slice to the affected area for a couple minutes a day, twice a day, everyday. For an extra pain relieving treat, keep the cucumbers cool in the refrigerator.
6) Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly is a great pain reliever and healing agent for angular cheilitis. Petroleum jelly will keep chapped lips moisturized and prevent the cracking of healing skin. The thickness of this substance also helps shield your lips from coming into contact with air, therefore inhibiting the growth of bacteria.
Apply petroleum jelly to your lips the minute you feel your lips starting to crack.
7) Baking Soda
Baking soda is a popular and effective natural treatment for angular cheilitis. This healing powder contains kills microorganisms responsible for infection. To use baking soda as a treatment for your angular cheilitis, mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a bit of water to form a paste.
- Apply the paste directly to the affected area and let sit for five minutes.
- After five minutes, rinse off the paste and gently dry area with a dry, clean cloth.
- Apply an unscented moisturizer afterward to soften the skin around the sores of your lip.
- Apply this treatment twice a day everyday until the condition improves.
8) Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is effective for lips that have developed painful slits on the sides. These slits may be vulnerable to opportunistic bacteria, so its important to not only apply an antibacterial treatment, but to heal these slits ASAP.
Combine two tablespoons of pure organic tea tree oil with one table spoon of vitamin E oil. Apply this mixture directly on the slits five times a day, daily. This home remedy will help speed up the healing time.
Honey is nature’s antibacterial, famous for killing bacteria and fungi that may result in infection. To keep these offenders away from vulnerable lips, apply honey liberally directly on the affected area and leave on for 15 minutes. Do this treatment daily.
Lemon is another great disinfectant, preventing and eliminating from lips suffering from angular cheilitis. Soften the corners of the mouth by applying a damp, warm wash cloth directly to each corner of your mouth.
This will help open up the lesions, allowing the lemon to get to the source of the problem. Once you have soften the skin on the corners of your lips, take a lemon wedge, squeeze out the juice, and apply the juice directly on the legions, massaging in a circular movement for two minutes.
Rinse the lemon juice off of your lips and dry the area with a clean, dry cloth. Its recommended to apply this treatment every five hours until infection subsides.
There are several steps you can take to prevent yourself from developing angular cheilitis in the first place.
- Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
- Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet. If incorporating foods that include these vitamins and minerals is an issue consider taking supplements of iron, folate, and Vitamin B.
- Make sure you have a strong immune system. Problems associated with angular cheilitis are often the result of a weak immune system. Take care of yourself by eating well and getting exercise. Your whole body will thank you.
- If you wear dentures, make sure they fit properly. Ill-fitting dentures may cause trauma to the sides of your mouth, increasing your chances of developing angular cheilitis.
- Avoid excessively licking your lips.