Do you have red swollen patches in the corner of your lips? It is Angular cheilitis

Also known as angular stomatitis and perleche causes swollen, red patches in the corners of your outside lips.

The area of your mouth where they affect are the labial commissures. It refers to the 2 corners of your mouth where the upper and lower lips connect.

Angular Cheltiits can occur on both or either side of your mouth and is an inflammatory condition.

Moreover, it can either last for a few days or in some cases, be a chronic condition.

The inflammation due to angular cheilitis may extend onto the lips or skin of your face.

However, in most cases, it is confined to the corners of your mouth.

It is important to note that it can affect individuals of all ages including infants.

There are a number of symptoms of this condition and learning about them can help to treat them.

Symptoms of Angular Cheilitis

Signs and symptoms of angular cheilitis will most likely appear at the corners of your mouth.

The symptoms can be painful and can vary from mild redness to open, to bleeding blisters.

Thus, if you are experiencing this condition, you may experience bleeding, red, swollen, cracked, blistered, crusty, itchy, scaly, and painful sores.

angular cheilitis symptoms

Other symptoms are:

  • bad taste in your mouth
  • burning sensations on your lips or mouth
  • lips feeling dry or chapped
  • difficulty eating as a result of irritation.

Causes of Angular Cheilitis

There are different causes of angular cheilitis and the most common cause is yeast infection as a result of saliva.

Saliva can build up and trap in the corners of your tips.

It causes your lips to crack and you may lick your lips more in an attempt to soothe the pain or dryness at the corners.

This excess saliva tends to sit in the corners of your mouth which is the perfect warm environment for fungus, such as yeast to grow.

angular cheilitis causes

Moreover, viruses and bacteria can also cause it to develop.

Certain factors can also increase your risk of developing this condition.

Let’s discuss them as follows:

Risk Factors

Certain individuals are more at risk of developing angular cheilitis. These are:

Individuals who have an overhang of the upper lip, creating deeper angles at the corner of the lip.s

Have regular oral thrush, use corticosteroids and antibiotics frequently.

Sensitive skin, inflammatory conditions like Crohn’s disease, oral retinoid medications, braces, smoking, and having anemia, diabetes or cancer can increase one’s chances.

Deficiencies of Vitamin B 9, B 6, B 2, or B3 or zinc deficiency as well as Sjogren’s syndrome can increase the chances of developing this condition.

Stages of Angular Cheilitis

There are 4 stages of angular cheilitis and are associated with its symptoms.

Let’s discuss them as follows:

Minor Angular Cheilitis

In the first stage of angular cheilitis, you may notice:

  • slight flakiness at the corners of your mouth
  • a tightness in the corners that is accompanied by discomfort when you try and open your mouth.

Mild Angular Cheilitis

During the second stage, you may observe redness on the corners of your mouth and a slight increase in discomfort.

Severe Angular Cheilitis

Simple activities like opening your mouth in any way become painful in the third stage.

Other symptoms you might face are the appearance of lesions a the corners of your mouth.

Moreover, treatment can also become ineffective in this stage.

Chronic Angular Cheilitis

Once this condition becomes chronic, you will notice it disappearing and reappearing frequently.

The skin around the corners of your lips may become dry, crack or cause pain.

Diagnosis of Angular Cheilitis

As in most cases, angular cheilitis can be a sign of a fungal or bacterial infection, therefore, it is important to consult your doctor so that they can treat it.

On the other hand, your primary care doctor can diagnose it, however, dermatologists are able to provide the best treatment.

Your doctor will examine your skin and ask about other skin irritations that may be present in other parts of your body.

angular cheilitis diagnosis

Moreover, they will ask about your personal and family history of oral thrust and yeast infections.

They can also ask about other conditions you have and the medications you are currently taking.

In most cases, doctors take culture swabs from the corners of your mouth and send them to the lab for analysis.

This test can help diagnose the cause of your condition.

Treatment Options

The following are different ways to treat angular cheilitis and its symptoms:

Diet and Lifestyle

If you have uncontrolled diabetes, treatment might include diet and lifestyle changes, insulin therapy, or medications for diabetes.

Moreover, vitamin supplements or changes to your diet can also help in case you have this condition due to a poor diet.


If the area or corners of your mouth are infected, then the underlying infection needs treatment.

Thus, it is important to diagnose the cause of the infection as yeast infections, will not respond to antibiotics.


In most cases, your doctor can diagnose it by just looking at it whether the infection is bacterial or due to yeast.


Keeping the corners of your mouth clean and dry can ease the pain and prevent it from worsening.

Moreover, a lip balm can relieve dryness and protect your skin from saliva.

Your doctor may also recommend a topical steroid cream that you can apply to the skin to stimulate healing.

On the other hand, a steroid cream can also help with pain and itching.

Fillers and Injections

In case you have an issue with the lip or mouth shape, it can make angular cheilitis more likely.

Also, if you have several infections along with this condition, your doctor will recommend a treatment to change the shape of the mouth.

Cosmetic fillers with the help of injection can help with droopy lips that cause angular cheilitis.

Thus, it is important to make sure that your dentist fixes the dentures and fits properly.

Angular Cheilitis Vs. Cold Sores

Angular cheilitis appears without forewarning, appears as a large blister, does not cause other symptoms like a fever or headache, and appears around the corners of your mouth.

On the other hand, cold sores occur in a cycle and you may feel a tingling or burning sensation in the affected area, and which occurs in tiny clusters.

Moreover, cold sores can cause symptoms like fever, headache, or swollen lymph nodes and form anywhere around your mouth.

Given how unsightly angular cheilitis is, it is important to get treatment as soon as possible before it turns into a chronic condition.

Home Remedies

You can use the following home remedies for angular cheilitis.

Let’s discuss them as follows:

Tea Tree Oil

For this remedy, you will need 2 to 3 drops of tea tree oil, 2 teaspoons of coconut oil, and a cotton ball.

By adding 2 to 3 drops of tea tree oil to 2 teaspoons of coconut oil, apply this mixture over the corners of your mouth.

Repeat this process after every 3 hours.

Tea tree oil works as it contains antifungal properties and can help eliminate fungal growth, while its anti-inflammatory properties reduce inflammation and pain.

Baking Soda

Mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with little water can also help.

Apply this mix to the affected areas and allow it to sit for 5 minutes and rinse it off.

Dry the area and apply a moisturizer, making sure to repeat the process after 3 to 4 hours.

Baking soda has natural antiseptic properties that can help to eliminate fungal and bacterial infections.

Honey and Petroleum Jelly

Honey is a great remedy for angular cheilitis as it contains both antiseptic and antifungal properties.

To use honey, apply it to the affected area and leave it for 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse it off and pat your skin dry.

Make sure to use this remedy twice after 3 to 4 hours.

You can also use petroleum jelly as it can help keep the affected area moisturized.

petroleum jelly

Moreover, it helps to speed up the healing process.

Take a little petroleum jelly and apply it to the corner of your mouth.

Reapply it as and when required.

Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera

Coconut oil has 2 significant properties. One is its antifungal natures that can fight the fungal growth around your mouth

Second, it has moisturizing properties to prevent further damage to your lips.

For this remedy, you need cold-pressed coconut oil and apply it directly to your face.

Leave it for 30 to 40 minutes before rinsing it off. Use this remedy as required.

coconut oil

Aloe vera is a popular plant for its healing properties.

It helps to soothe irritated skin and prevents further infections with its natural antifungal properties.

For this remedy, refrigerate 2 tsp of aloe vera gel and apply it to the affected area.

Leave it on for 20 to 0 minutes before washing it off and repeat every 3 to 4 hours.


Angular cheilitis is not dangerous and is highly treatable and the symptoms often improve within a few days of treatment.

In some cases, you may develop this condition again, and further infections are likely when the risk for angular cheilitis remains. which means that if you have diabetes, unusual lip anatomy, other risks, you should immediately take action.

Moreover, with the help of simple and effective home remedies, you can also treat it at home.