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Crusty, Cracked Lip Corners

By DuPage Medical Group Dermatology

Have you ever experienced redness, scaling, crusting, or fissure like wounds at the corners of your mouth? If you have, it is possible that you may have had a condition known as Perleche, or Angular Cheilitis.

Perleche can affect anyone, young and old. It can be episodic or chronic. Young patients may be more at risk if they have a history of atopic dermatitis (eczema). Elderly patients may have an increased risk caused by aging and the weakening of the muscles of facial expression that surround the mouth. This can create more retention of saliva in the corners of the mouth during the day and while sleeping. A pooling of saliva such as this creates a medium for yeast and bacteria to grow which may result in redness and infection.

Some of the other risk factors include poor-fitting dentures, malocclusion (misalignment) of the teeth, absence of teeth, mouth breathing, lip licking in children, and orthodontic devices.

Perleche can be treated with a variety of medications. It is commonly treated with a combination of mild topical steroids and anti-yeast/anti-fungal medications. Barrier ointments may be recommended to protect and moisturize the area. Occasionally, other topical medications are recommended to treat chronic infection. If needed, a dental referral can be suggested to correct potential causative factors. In addition, sometimes the cosmetic use of injectable fillers (Restylane, etc.) into the skin folds has been beneficial in some patients.

If you believe that Perleche may be a condition you experience frequently, please do not hesitate to contact our office and see one of our experienced providers to evaluate your condition for treatment.


Topics and Subtopics: Skin Health

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