Angular cheilitis is often mistaken for some other disease, especialy herpetic cold sores. It is best to visit a dermatologist to have confirmation of what condition you are suffering from. If herpes is ruled out, then you may angular cheilitis. Again, angular cheilitis can be caused either by fungal or by bacterial infection.
In any case we advise you to consult your doctor before trying out any of the over the counter(OTC) treatment for angular cheilitis. OTC options are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Over the counter treatments for AC
Listed below are some of the most common over the counter treatments for angular cheilitis. We have also included how much effective each option is and what is the drawback as well.
Rubbing alchohol on lips
You can try rubbing alchohol on the lips. It may help combat the underlying infection responsible for angular cheilitis. It is true that alcohol is a powerful disinfectant, however, applying alcohol to any open area on the skin is painful and more so when rubbing in the mouth area. Just be careful while using the treatment.
Anti-bacterial ointment and rubbing alcohol
If you have angular cheilitis because of bacterial infection then you can consider buying over-the-counter anti-bacterial ointment. First, clean your lips with rubbing alcohol and then cover them with the anti-bacterial ointment.
Apply petroleum jelly
Make a note - Petroleum jelly such as Vaseline is not a cure for angular cheilitis.
Cons: However, even today many use Vaseline as their first OTC treatment for angular cheilitis. Petroleum jelly will not stop the underlying bacterial or fungal infection that is responsible for the disease. But what it does it alleviates some of the discomfort and importantly it covers the lip from contacting moisture from outside. Thus provihits further growth of underlying organisms.
Eat supplements - anti yeast
Candida is present throughout the digestive system and can cause a number of problems including angular cheilitis. You are best advised to stop sugar rich diet to avoid growth of candida. Instead, you can control candida levels by taking a anti-yeast supplement such as candigone.
Dietary supplement - Candex
As mentioned on top of the bottle, it uses “natural enzymes to digest fungal cell walls.” There are mixed reviews of the product. It may help prevent angular cheilitis, but is generally used for more severe forms of yeast infection. So, this may not be your first choice OTC treatment for AC.
Using baking soda
Baking soda, like petroleum jelly, may just alleviate some of the symptoms, but it will not treat the cause of angular cheilitis. Also, you should use baking soda with caution because of its high alkalinity (pH of 9). Instead you can try using lower pH products such as apple cider vinegar which has a pH value of about 4.25. Your lip corners are delicate, so don't risk further damaging skin which will end up aggrevating current problem.
Using anti-fungal topical cream
Try with over-the-counter anti-fungal topical cream with generic clotrimazole as the active ingredient. Apply the medicine by putting a dab of the OTC medicine on the corners of the mouth many times in a day(atleast 6 to 8 times). Additionally you can cover with petroleum jelly to seal the area from any moisture.
This treatment is applicable when you have angular cheilitis because of fungal infection.
Apply tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of the tea tree. It is a traditional medicine of Australia’s aboriginal folks. This oil is applied on skin for various conditions and should be used with a caution as it may burn your lips.
Apply hydrocortisone cream
Generally, hydrocortisone cream is used to treat skin irritations, allergic reactions, and other types of skin problems. There are many hydrocortisone products available. Many can be purchased without a prescription. Some products require a prescription. Higher-strength hydrocortisone creams are prescription only, but lower-strength creams can be obtained over-the-counter. Hydrocortisone cream works by repressing the immune response that causes itching and swelling. Obviously, underlying cause is not treated and therefore you may get back angular cheilitis in few days.
Is it enough to use just over the counter drug?
While over the counter treatment may be of great help to cure angular cheilitis, it is best if you can complement it by taking care of your health and lifestyle to prevent any re-occurance. Some of the key notes summarized below:
- Sufferers must refrain from licking the corners of their mouths.
- Sufferers should also not add lip moisturizer
- You may be prone to affective bacterial infection due to a vitamin deficiency or an inability to absorb nutrients from food because of weight-loss surgery or celiac disease. Supplement your diet with iron, zinc and riboflavin by eating more leafy, green vegetables.