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Angular Cheilitis & Treatment

Updated on May 21, 2013

Introduction to Angular Cheilitis

Angular Cheilitis is something that effects many people (although most people don't necessarily realize it). The word "Angular" means corner of mouth/lips and the word "Cheilitis" means wound or lesion. With this knowledge you can pretty easily put together that angular cheilitis is when you have sores on the corners of your mouth. This lense should help you to better understand angular cheilitis so you can be able to get rid of it as soon as possible.

What Exactly is Angular Cheilitis

Appearance, Symptoms, and More

As mentioned earlier, Angular Cheilitis is where the corners of your mouth and lips are inflamed, cut, or chapped. Initially people thought that angular cheilitis was caused by a vitamin B complex deficiency, but this has been proven wrong. Researchers now believe that angular cheilitis is caused by a combination of stress and/or trauma to your lips with excess moisture from saliva getting into the small crevices in the corners of your mouth.

Under normal conditions excess saliva (and the bacteria within it) would be no big issue as your body would easily be able to defend itself against the bacteria on your lips. But when under stress or when suffering from mouth trauma, your body cannot defend itself as easily and a bacteria and fungus will develop which will prevent your lips from healing.

When this happens your lips will look chapped around the corners and you will develop redness around your mouth. Eventually you will form lesions at one or both corners of your mouth which will split causing discomfort.

Who Gets Angular Cheilitis

Angular cheilitis can happen with anyone. After-all, all it takes is a small lip injury (can be as subtle as a chapped corner) or some daily stress and a bit of saliva. But, with that being said, a larger majority of people who suffer from angular cheilitis are elderly people. This is usually because their immune systems are not as strong and the are more susceptible to the bacteria's initial onset.

First Stage of Angular Cheilitis

In the beginning stage of Angular Cheilitis you will notice that your lip will be more sensitive and a little swollen in the corners. Eventually you may notice a red rash around the outside of your mouth.

Usually during this stage people will think that they ate something hot or spicy which causes their lips to be sensitive and the red rash to appear. Most people will ignore it think that it will go away within a few hours.

Second Stage of Angular Cheilitis

The second stage of angular cheilitis is where the corners of your mouth develop sores and/or legions. It will look like your mouth is chapped around your lips and you may begin to notice a scab forming in the corner of your mouth.

Usually, during this stage people just assume their lips are chapped and will begin applying chapstick to relieve the dryness of their lips.

Third & Last Stage of Angular Cheilitis

In the last stage of angular cheilitis the sores and lesions in the corners of your mouth will begin to split and cause major discomfort when eating, talking, and moving your mouth. This is normally the stage people reach before they realize something is wrong and that their lips are not just chapped.

How to Cure and/or Get Rid of Angular Cheilitis

Finally, Get the Cure Now!

First off, if you are convinced that you can simply wait it out...think again! When I had angular cheilitis I only had it on one side of my mouth, then a month later it spread to the other side. Every three hours I would alternate putting on chapstick and neosporin...and this did nothing! Unfortunately, I didn't know at the time that no matter what you do, you cannot heal angular cheilitis without getting rid of the fungus/bacteria that causes it first.

So, how did I cure my angular cheilitis? Well, I kind of lucked out. I had my angular cheilitis for two months then went on vacation to the beach. While at the beach I got high doses of chlorine (from the pool) and salt water from the ocean. Within two days of being in this type of environment the chlorine/salt water combination completely healed my lips. In fact, I forgot of my cracked lip corners until halfway through vacation when I looked in the mirror (expecting the worst) only to find no evidence of a mouth sore at all (not scabs, no scars, no marks at all)!

Your mouth and lips, after all, are one of the fastest healing parts of your body. So once you get rid of the bacteria that cause angular cheilitis your body will quickly be able to heal itself within a day or two.

Recommended Resources

Here are a few Angular Cheilitis resources that can further help you get rid of your angualr cheilitis.

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