Author: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2010.
Angular cheilitis is a common inflammatory condition affecting the corners of the mouth or oral commissures. Depending on underlying causes, it may last a few days or persist indefinitely. It is also called angular stomatitis, cheilosis and perleche (perlèche).
Angular cheilitis is due to one or more of the following factors:
Angular cheilitis is common and affects children and adults, especially when they are in poor health. Predisposing factors include:
It is made worse by licking the lips.
Angular cheilitis may result in the following symptoms and signs at the corners of the mouth:
It may progress to more widespread impetigo or candidal skin infection on the adjacent skin and elsewhere.
The culture of swabs taken from the corners of the mouth may reveal:
Skin biopsy is not usually necessary.
In many cases, no treatment is needed and angular cheilitis resolves by itself. Depending on the specific cause, the following treatments may be useful:
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