The corners of my mouth stay dry, cracked and sore. What can I do?

Unlike other parts of your body, the lips do not produce natural oil that can protect your body from the harsh changes in the environment. Cold biting wind and changes in the humidity levels are the most common culprits. The lips and corners of the mouth may appear red and sore and it may bleed while feeling rough and dry. The skin may peel, leaving the area tender. While chapped lips due to the weather are one reason for this condition, the other cause could be a vitamin deficiency. You may use a soothing ointment on the cracked areas and in case you feel that your diet does not contain the requisite vitamins, a multivitamin supplement or riboflavin will prove useful. But consult your local health care provider over this first. The sores at the corner of your mouth can also be caused by what is known as angular cheiitis or perleche. The sores erupt due to a bacterial or fungal infection and can be extremely embarrassing because of the stigma associated with it. These lesions are not infectious, however, they make it hard for you to open your mouth, eat, talk and laugh. The lesions can occur anytime of the year, although cold weather aggravates them substantially. Your physician is likely to prescribe a hydrocortisone ointment and while it will in all probability cure it, one must be extremely careful while using it as overuse can cause other health hazards.

On the home front, wash your hands first with warm water and antibacterial soap. Now clean your lips with a fresh warm water and use a bit of the antibacterial soap on the lips and surrounding areas and work up a lather. Wash with warm water and dab with a tissue paper to dry the area. Now apply petroleum jelly onto the sores to seal up the region from bacterial attacks. Finely slice a cucumber and lightly rub it onto the sores to alleviate the pain. You can alternatively mash it into a pulp and apply onto the region. Aloe vera gel can be applied to the lips and surrounding areas in case of a burning sensation although it further dries up the area for some people. Consume a high protein diet that includes pulses, green leafy vegetables, lean meat, fish as well as a wide variety of fruits. Drink at least 5 litres of water a day to keep your body hydrated.

answered by G M

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