What Is Cheilosis? Everything You Need To Know About It

Cheilosis is developed around the mouth than can cause many risks to an individual’s health, but it can be treated by taking care of your oral hygiene

 Onlymyhealth Staff Writer
Written by: Onlymyhealth Staff WriterUpdated at: Jul 03, 2020 14:01 IST
What Is Cheilosis? Everything You Need To Know About It

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Cheilosis also is known as Angular cheilitis, or perleche is an inflammation that leads to red patches in the corners of your lips. It can happen either on one side of the mouth or on both sides at the same time. This isn’t a disease but a symptom of an underlying condition. The treatment depends on how severe it is. Some may be painful, and some may be serious. If you notice the spots and it doesn’t go away after ten days, you should consult a dentist. They don’t spread beyond the corners of the mouth, but if it gets severe, then the infection can spread.


Symptoms Of Cheilosis

The symptoms depend on the issue depending upon how much the infection has spread. Some of them are:

  • Spots that look red or purple around the corner of the lips.
  • Irritation, pain and burning sensation at the corner of the lips
  • Swelling around the lips
  • Cracks
  • Dry and chapped lips
  • Bleeding and blistered
  • Difficulty eating

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Causes of Cheilosis


This spread can cause several reasons. The most common cause is a yeast infection developed by saliva. The saliva accumulates around the corner of the mouth, and when it is dried, the skin around your mouth becomes dried and irritated. The moisture around your lips is created by licking their lips that can cause dryness and irritation, and the fungus grows. The growing of fungus or bacteria can cause infection which happens because of a yeast called Candida.

Risk Factors Of Angular Cheilitis

Cheilitis happens if the corners of your mouth are moist most of the time. This might happen due to braces, excessive saliva, sucking your thumb, smoking or having sagging skin around your mouth. Certain medical conditions can be a risk, such as:

  • Diabetes: This weakens the immune system and increases the chances of yeast infection associated with cheilosis.
  • Less immunity: Certain diseases like HIV or a chemotherapy treatment/drug can weaken and increase the risk of cheilitis.
  • Genetics: A history of a genetic condition, such as  Down syndrome can be a risk factor
  • Lack of nutrition: Nutrition issues include anaemia or inadequate diet that can make your body vulnerable to infections.
  • Excessive saliva: The saliva comes in contact with the skin, which is due to frequent lip licking. People having an everted lower lip may develop angular cheilitis.
  • Chapped and dry lips: The dried lips cause the opening or crack, which is easier for viruses, bacteria and yeast to develop the chances of it.
  • Gum disease and tooth issues: Oral health condition or wearing poorly fitted dentures worsens the issue.


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Treatment Of Cheilosis

Various treatments are available depending on the condition:

Healthy lifestyle

An individual having diabetes should include a proper diet and lifestyle along with medications such as insulin therapy or medicines to keep blood sugar level under control. Intake of vitamin supplements or changes in diet can decrease the chances of angular cheilitis due to poor nutrition.

Antibiotics or creams

To clear out the infections around the area and keep them dry, the doctor will recommend an antifungal ointment to treat it such as nystatin, clotrimazole or ketoconazole. If your infection is bacterial, then mupirocin or fusidic acid can be used.


It is necessary to keep the area clean and dry so that it can ease the pain and prevent infections. Applying lip balm can reduce the dryness and keeps the area moist. Topical steroid cream may be advised by the doctor to stimulate healing and help with pain or itching.


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Injections and fillers

If the infection is severe or an issue with the shape of lip or mouth, the doctor might recommend lip fillers to change the shape of the lips. Cosmetic fillers can reduce droopy lips which cause angular cheilitis.

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