Ever heard of a disease called angular cheilitis? Actually, angular cheilitis is a medical problem that makes the area at the corner of the lips or the corner of the mouth red, inflamed, and sometimes peeling. This condition can actually be caused by many things, including yeast infections, various types of autoimmune diseases, dehydration, and excess moisture in the corners of the mouth. Although the sensation is very itchy and uncomfortable, fortunately angular cheilitis can be treated easily, although the method of treatment depends on the underlying cause of your angular cheilitis. X Research sources
Keeping Lips Clean and Dry
Maintain oral hygiene so that the condition of your lips and mouth is always healthy. To maintain oral health, make sure you brush your teeth at least 2 times a day, once after breakfast and once before going to bed at night. Also, clean the area between your teeth with special floss, and avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol after you brush your teeth. Although some people claim that alcoholic mouthwash can make their mouth cleaner, actually using it will only make your mouth and lips dry. As a result, the severity of angular cheilitis can increase afterwards.
Although angular cheilitis can be caused by a variety of factors, keeping your lips and mouth clean is the perfect way to reduce the risk factors.
Avoid using lip balms that contain flavours, lanolin, or preservatives. All of them risk irritating the lips and making the condition worse. Therefore, instead of using lip balm with unnecessary ingredients, try asking your doctor for the right moisturizer.
If irritation occurs, your lips will likely become inflamed.
Apply petroleum gel to the corners of the lips to keep them moist. Twice a day, apply as much petroleum gel as possible to the entire lips and both corners of the mouth. The natural moisturizing content in petroleum gel is able to trap moisture on the lips and prevent it from evaporating, as well as speed up the recovery process of cracked or flaky skin areas.
Petroleum gel can be purchased at most supermarkets or large pharmacies.
Use a zinc oxide paste to speed up the healing process of your lips. Zinc oxide is a topical cream that protects the skin and treats cracked or peeling skin. To use it, you just need to apply a thin layer of zinc oxide paste to the lip area with your fingertips, and make sure you don’t swallow the cream while applying it!
Zinc oxide paste can be purchased without a prescription at most pharmacies or large supermarkets. One of the trademarks of zinc oxide paste that you will likely come across in the market is Desitin .
Stop licking the corners of your lips, if you’ve been used to it. Some people are used to licking the corners of their lips several times an hour. So do you? Although it feels comfortable, actually this behavior will not help restore the condition of your lips! In fact, wetting your lips too often will actually make them dry, especially because when the saliva evaporates, the extra moisture on the lips will evaporate too. That’s why, you need to break the habit of licking your lips to restore your lips and treat your angular cheilitis problem .
If your child is used to sucking his thumb and is having problems with angular cheilitis , ask him to stop the habit.
Check with the Doctor
Consult a doctor if angular cheilitis does not go away after 1 month. If the petroleum gel has been used regularly for 1 month but the problem you are experiencing does not improve, immediately consult a doctor. Explain the symptoms you are experiencing to the doctor, and let the doctor examine the condition of the corners of your lips. In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist, especially since angular cheilitis is generally a medical condition of the skin.
Some of the common symptoms of angular cheilitis are the appearance of a red, dry, flaky rash on the corners of the lips (usually accompanied by swelling and cracks in the skin) that are painful.
In some relatively common situations, angular cheilitis can be caused by dermatitis, a medical disorder that causes an itchy, red rash to appear on the skin (usually on the scalp).
Ask your dentist for help to correct the shape of your dentures, if you are currently wearing them. In the case of angular cheilitis that affects the elderly, the cause is often a problem with their dentures. Therefore, if you also wear dentures and notice swelling or discomfort at the corners of your lips, you should immediately see a dentist or denture specialist. They can make the necessary changes to make the shape and size of the dentures better fit your mouth. After that, your angular cheilitis should be resolved.
Your doctor may suspect that your angular cheilitis is caused by an infection in your dentures. In this situation, the doctor will usually wipe the dentures and test the sample in the laboratory to identify the presence or absence of bacteria there.
Apply an antibacterial cream if the angular cheilitis is caused by a bacterial infection. In fact, quite a lot of angular cheilitis problems are caused by Staphylococcus aureus , a type of bacteria that commonly causes skin problems. If your doctor gives this diagnosis, you will most likely be asked to apply an antibacterial cream containing an active ingredient such as mupirocin or fusidic acid once a day to the corners of your lips.
If over-the-counter antibacterial creams don’t treat your angular cheilitis problem , ask your doctor to prescribe a higher-dose cream.
Apply an over-the-counter antifungal cream if the angular cheilitis is caused by a yeast infection. If your doctor has determined that the underlying cause of your angular cheilitis is a yeast infection, you will most likely be asked to apply an antifungal cream until the infection is completely cured. If this is the case, please buy an antifungal cream without a prescription at various large pharmacies, then apply it to the corners of the lips once a day, or according to the instructions for use listed on the medicine package.
One type of antifungal cream that is commonly used is ketoconazole . Continue to apply the antifungal cream until the condition of the mouth is completely healed.
In most cases, angular cheilitis is an infection caused by a fungus called “ Candida albicans ”.
The doctor may take a sample of the lesion or wipe the mucus in the mouth to identify the presence or absence of a Candida yeast infection .
Apply 1% hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation. If there is swelling and inflammation in the corners of your lips from angular cheilitis , try applying 1% hydrocortisone cream on the inflamed area every day. In addition, hydrocortisone cream is also able to relieve itching that appears so it is worth applying if you constantly want to scratch or lick the corners of the lips that feel itchy.
Hydrocortisone cream can be purchased without a prescription at most pharmacies and supermarkets.
Increase iron intake to prevent anemia and angular cheilitis . In fact, recent studies have shown an association between low blood cell counts (anemia) and the risk of angular cheilitis . To prevent anemia, as well as to strengthen the immune system, make sure you receive the recommended amount of iron each day. Before taking iron in supplement form, don’t forget to consult your doctor for safety. If permitted by the doctor, please buy iron supplements at the nearest pharmacy and take them once a day, or as recommended on the vitamin packaging.
Some examples of foods rich in iron are red meat, green leafy vegetables, spinach, oysters, quinoa , dark chocolate, and lentils.
Adult men should consume 8-11 mg of iron per day. Generally, adult women need more iron intake so ideally should consume 15-18 mg of iron per day.
If the body receives too much iron intake, it is likely that there will be negative side effects, such as nausea and constipation.
Increase consumption of zinc and B vitamins to strengthen your immune system. If angular cheilitis is caused by a fungal or bacterial infection, strengthening your immune system is a very important factor in restoring your health, and one easy way is to increase your intake of zinc and B vitamins. However, before taking both in the form of vitamins and mineral supplements, do not forget to consult a doctor, yes! If permitted by a doctor, daily supplements can be purchased at major pharmacies and consumed as directed on the supplement packaging. If you prefer to get nutrition naturally, please eat foods that are rich in zinc and B vitamins.
Adults should consume about 8-11 mg of zinc per day, and natural zinc can be found in foods such as whole grains, red meat, eggs, dairy products, and whole grains.
If you are over 18 years old, consume at least 2.4 micrograms of B vitamins per day. Natural B vitamins can also be obtained from foods rich in zinc, as well as other foods such as lentils and beans, poultry, fish, and brown rice.
Make sure the body stays hydrated so that the moisture in the skin is not lost. If the body is dehydrated, surely the skin texture will start to dry out. As a result, the chances of the skin to develop severe angular cheilitis will increase. Therefore, keep the body hydrated by consuming water or other fluids with high levels of hydration such as tea and fruit juices. For the same reason, reduce your intake of fluids that can dehydrate you, such as coffee and alcohol.
In general, adult men should consume about 4 liters of water per day, while adult women should consume about 3 liters of water per day.
Reduce your intake of sweet foods and snacks, such as candy. If you like to eat sugary foods like candy and/or a variety of desserts every day, this is the best time to break the habit, especially if your case of angular cheilitis is caused by the yeast fungus Candida . Basically, this type of fungus makes sugar as its food. Therefore, if your mouth is constantly covered with sugar, surely the infection you are experiencing will get worse quickly.
If you’re craving something sweet, try snacking on an apple or a handful of berries instead of candy.