Cracked Corners of the Mouth: Causes and Treatments

Updated at: Sep 21, 2013
Cracked Corners of the Mouth: Causes and Treatments

Your cracked corner of the mouth can be a real pain during winter or in other times too. Here are the causes and treatment for the same.

Arka Roy Chowdhury
Skin CareWritten by: Arka Roy ChowdhuryPublished at: Jun 12, 2013

Cracked corners of the mouth are a common condition which is also known as perleche or angular cheilitis. The term is French which means ‘to lick’, and this is because as you would know people tend to lick their cracked sides when they feel irritated. This is more common during cold weathers, but there can be other causes for it too. Let us find out its causes and risks here.

Girl with bandaid on either sides of mouth

Causes of Perleche

• One of the more common causes of perleche is the chilling cold during the winter time, and therefore it can be a form of chapped lips. Individuals who lick their lips in an attempt to get relief in fact worsen the condition. These however are less severe cases.

• At times the angular cheilitis or perleche is caused by the fungus named Candida Albicans or some other pathogens.

• Initial onset of this disease has also been related to nutritional deficiencies namely riboflavin (vitamin B) and iron deficiency anemia. This is evidence of poor diets or even malnutrition, also zinc deficiency has been found to be associated with angular cheilitis.

• Elderly people who more frequently suffer from a loss of vertical dimension due to loss of teeth allows the over closure of the mouth. It can be found more commonly in denture wearers.

•  Can be caused by medication that has the ability to dry the skin, including isotretinoin which is an analog of vitamin A.

• Can also be associated with primary hyperyitaminosis A which can occur when large amounts of your liver including the cold liver oil and other fish oils are consumed regularly. It can also happen when there is an excess intake of vitamin A in the form of vitamin supplements.

• It can also be due to contact dermatitis, which we will explain with an example. Suppose, you are wearing lip balm, and the sunscreen in the lip balm degrades over time into an irritant. Using expired lipbalm can initiate mild angular cheilitis, and when the patient applies more lipbalm to alleviate the cracking, it only aggravates it.

Treatments of Perleche

You can opt for two kinds of treatments:

•  Most people just let it be and allow it to heal on its own, but the truth is that it may take your body longer that you realise to heal itself and so this minor case can turn into a severe problem. The corners of your mouth move frequently and so it gets difficult for your skin cells to close the open wounds, imagine when you yawn, eat, talk, laugh, your corners get stretched and it doesn’t help. So this is a bad option.

•  You could of course go to the doctor to get yourself treated as this is the safest and best method. But you must be careful because a doctor’s chamber will have people who are always sick and are full of bacterias.

You should take note from the causes and make sure to do the right thing in order to save the corners of your lips. When you smile, the sun should shine!

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