Angular Cheilitis - Western SummaryWestern Medicine Summary

Western Medicine

Western Summary

Angular cheilitis is a common condition in which the corners of the mouth become inflamed.

Symptoms

In Angular cheilitis the corners of the mouth become inflamed, causing redness and small cracks that may lead to blistering, oozing, crusting, and bleeding. The affected areas can be painful and have a burning or stinging sensation, especially when eating spicy and salty food.

Causes

Angular cheilitis has many potential causes. Most commonly, saliva collects on the corners of the mouth, causing irritation and eczema. This tends to be seen in middle-aged and elderly individuals, where there is volume loss around the lips due to aging.

Other causes include dry and chapped lips, bacteria and yeast overgrowth, poor nutrition, and the use of retinoid medications, such as isotretinoin and acitretin which can cause dry skin. 

Treatments

Lip licking should be minimized. A lip balm or moisturizer, such as petrolatum, can be helpful. Medication that can be helpful include:

  • Topical antibiotics, antifungal cream, and steroids may be prescribed by a health care provider
  • Oral antifungal creams are used if there are signs of fungal overgrowth

Filler injections

In cases where angular cheilitis develops as a saliva pools in the downturned corners of the mouth, filler injections can build up the corner of the lips to reduce pooling of saliva.

Nutritional supplements can be helpful if the cause is due to a nutritional deficiency.