Cracked corners of the mouth are a common condition that affects millions of people. It is medically known as angular cheilitis. It is also known as perleche, angular stomatitis, corner of mouth sores, and cracked lip corners.
Angular cheilitis is a condition that causes red, swollen patches in the corners of your mouth where your lips meet and make an angle. It can occur on only one side of your mouth or both sides at the same time.
The main symptom of angular cheilitis is irritation and soreness in the corners of your mouth. Other symptoms you can have on the affected area include bleeding, blisters, crusty patches, itchiness, pain, redness, a scaly texture and swelling.
Also, your lips obviously feel dry and uncomfortable, and you may have difficulty eating, too.
Angular cheilitis occurs when saliva gets trapped and builds up in the corners of your mouth, which causes a fungus to grow and multiply, ultimately leading to an infection. Certain bacteria and virus strains can also cause this problem.
You are most likely to develop this problem if the corners of your mouth are moist a lot of the time, which can be due to having braces, wearing poorly fitting dentures, licking your lips a lot, drooling while sleeping, sagging skin around your mouth from weight loss or aging, smoking and lack of nutrients like vitamin B or iron.
At the same time, certain medical conditions like anemia, diabetes and immune disorders can also put you at a higher risk.
If you are suffering from angular cheilitis, there are many home treatments available to fight this irritating and painful condition.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for angular cheilitis.
1. Castor Oil
Castor oil is another good remedy. It helps tone down angular cheilitis by minimizing pain and inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
It also has strong antibacterial properties that will help fight any bacteria that may be causing the problem. It is also effective for fungal strains that infect the mouth corners.
Additionally, castor oil can keep the skin around the mouth from getting dry.
- Simply apply castor oil to the affected area near your mouth several times a day.
- Alternatively, mix ½ teaspoon of castor oil and 2 drops of tea tree oil. Use a cotton ball to apply it on the corners of your mouth. Wait 30 minutes before rinsing it off with cool water. Repeat twice a day.
2. Aloe Vera
Another speedy and effective cure for angular cheilitis is aloe vera.
It has antiseptic, antifungal and anti-inflammatory healing properties, thus making it effective against fungi and a wide range of bacteria. It helps alleviate the pain and inflammation that you have to deal with due to angular cheilitis.
It also helps moisturize the dry and damaged skin on the corners of your mouth.
- Extract the gel from an aloe vera leaf.
- Put the gel in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Rub the cool gel gently on the corners of your mouth.
- Let it dry for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing it off with cool water.
- Use this remedy 2 or 3 times a day, until the skin at the corners of your mouth heals completely.
Yogurt is a good remedy to treat angular cheilitis.
It contains active bacteria cultures, or probiotics, that help restore the natural balance of bacteria in the body. This in turn helps fight this irritating skin condition.
Plus, it helps moisturize the skin to promote healing.
- Apply plain, unsweetened yogurt to the corners of your mouth before going to bed. Leave it on overnight and rinse it off with lukewarm water the next morning. Repeat daily for 7 to 10 days or until your condition heals.
- Also, include plain yogurt in your diet.
4. Coconut Oil
Another effective remedy to treat angular cheilitis is coconut oil.
Due to its antimicrobial properties, the oil prevents the growth and spread of pathogens, and helps fight the infection.
Coconut oil also acts as a moisturizer to reduce the dryness of the skin and the resulting pain and irritation.
- Apply some extra-virgin coconut oil on the affected areas. Repeat 3 or 4 times a day.
- Alternatively, mix equal amounts of extra-virgin coconut oil and lemon juice. Apply it on the affected area, wait 15 minutes and then rinse it off using lukewarm water. Do it twice daily.
Follow either of these remedies for 7 to 10 days to see positive results.
Due to its potent antibacterial and antifungal properties, Listerine (the amber-colored original one) can help clear angular cheilitis within a week.
- Simply soak a cotton ball in Listerine mouthwash and dab it on the affected areas.
- Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse it off.
- Do this 2 or 3 times a day for up to 1 week.
6. Bee Propolis
Bee propolis, the sticky resin that bees collect from trees and vegetables, is another effective treatment for angular cheilitis.
It is rich in antibiotic and antifungal properties that help get rid of a host of skin conditions, including angular cheilitis.
Bee propolis is also full of important nutrients like amino acids, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes or coenzymes, and fatty acids that help fight infection and soothe the skin.
- For external use, opt for a propolis powder, spray, ointment or cream that you can easily find in the market. Always follow the instructions on the label.
- You can opt to take propolis capsules or tablets. The typical dosage is 500 mg, once or twice per day with food. Always consult your doctor before taking supplements.