If you have been wondering what causes split lip corners, then you are certainly not alone. Although this is a very common phenomenon during winter, it can occur at any time, but is particularly noticeable during extremes of temperature.
One of the common misconceptions is that this condition, known as Angular Cheilitis is caused by a deficiency of vitamin B and/or iron, this is not always the case by any means. Indeed, generally these days our improved knowledge of the foods we should eat to keep healthy often means that doctors need to search further afield to discover what causes split lip corners.
If just one side of the lips are cracked, then it is possible that a virus has taken hold. The Herpes Simplex virus can be responsible and can take the form of a cold sore. Once the virus has made entry at a vulnerable part of the body, it is common that the cold sore will recur at that same spot when you are run down or the immune system is weakened.
If the soreness is occurring at both sides of the lips, it is likely to be due to the continued presence of saliva on the skin on the edges of the lips. This can be due to sagging muscles around the mouth, badly fitting dentures, pen sucking or fingernail biting. All these can cause the skin to be constantly wet which weakens it, causing splits and tears.
When the skin is weak, it is probable that a thrush-like infection will take hold. The warm, soggy areas around the mouth are perfect breeding grounds and the infection itself causes sore, split lip corners. A thrush infection might need an antifungal prescription cream. If the lips are crusted and scabbed, then this is indicative of a bacterial infection which might need treating with an antibiotic cream.
There are a few natural remedies which can also be tried. The pain from these splits can be excruciating, despite their tiny size! One way to ease the pain is to protect the painful area from the elements as both air and moisture can cause an increase in sensitivity. Something as simple as petroleum jelly or an unperfumed lip salve can be very good at protecting the sore area. Also, wearing a scarf when in windy weather can help to protect the mouth.
Of course, the mouth is an are which we cannot cover completely and nor can we keep the lips still! The very acts of speaking, drinking, eating and breathing all cause movement which can further worsen the condition so although these inevitable actions are not necessarily what causes split lip corners, they do make healing problematic and one of the reasons why recovery can be slow.
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