There are so many ways people develop Angular Cheilitis, so I’ll start with my story. If your situation is different, this might not work for you.
I knew I didn’t have cold sores, so I knew right away that my foolish over-medication of a stuffy nose led to severely chapped lips. I slept on my side. My nose was still stuffy, so I ended up breathing through my mouth and I apparently drooled a little in my sleep. The side of my mouth that was on my pillow was inflamed the next day. When I slept on my other side the next night—you guessed it! The other side of my mouth was inflamed. I had to go around in public with the corners of my mouth looking crusty and nasty. I felt like I had the plague.
After looking around online with my symptoms as search keywords, I quickly found that I had Angular Cheilitis. Since most other posts state this infection develops from a fungal infection, I bought a 1% Clotrimazole Cream. Yes—that’s Jock Itch Cream. It’s anti-fungal so I figured it wouldn’t make it any worse—but it didn’t help at all. I also used 1% Hydrocortizone Cream which is known to the general non-cheapskate public as Cortaid. It also didn’t help. I then used Bacitracin which is the cheap cousin of Neosporin. Still no improvement.
I thought the free information isn’t helping, so the home remedy e-book links started to look pretty good. Just about every link brought up a site where I’d have to pay $47-$67 for an e-book. I was relieved to find: http://www.myhomeremedies.com/remedy.cgi?remedyid=8735 The blog poster named Gabe claimed to have purchased the e-book and paraphrased the instructions on a blog posting. I followed the steps in the blog posting, but with a few simple improvements and it worked. I performed this “ritual” for 2 nights in a row right before going to bed. To duplicate my results, you will need:
- OPTIONAL: B-12, Vitamin C and Zinc
- A Sink with Warm (Running) Water
- Concentrated Antibacterial Dish Soap (Not dishwasher detergent)
- Clean Paper Towels
- Clean Cotton Balls or Cosmetic Cotton Pads
- Hydrogen Peroxide 3% solution. (Hydrogen Peroxide works best if it is relatively new. When it has been exposed to the air too many times, it turns into water.)
- Antibiotic Ointment such as Neosporin or Bacitracin with a Mineral Oil/White Petrolatum (Petroleum Jelly/Vaseline) base.
- OPTIONAL: I used Cotton Swabs (Q-tips) to apply this.
- OPTIONAL: I mixed this Antibiotic Ointment with Tea Tree, Clove, and Lavender oils. The added oils make it burn like crazy but it works. If you do use oils, they must be high quality, or don’t even bother with them.
- Plastic Adhesive Bandages (Band-aids)
I don’t know how much of a cheapskate you are, but don’t try to use the same paper towels or cotton balls more than once. This stuff has to be as clean as possible and any disposable item that touches your sores once has to be discarded. Remember, you’re saving money but you don’t have to be a total cheapskate—it’s not as if cotton balls are made out of gold!
Step 1: This step is entirely optional. From a lot of the information I read, your skin will heal faster if you take B-12, Vitamin C and Zinc. Some sites state that this infection can be caused by a B-12 deficiency. I took the vitamins since I wanted to be done with this embarrassing skin problem sooner than later. If you would like to do the same thing, you have to take this before brushing your teeth.
Step 2: Brush your teeth and use mouthwash. The idea behind this is that you shouldn’t disturb your mouth after the procedure. Don’t even drink water afterwards. The area must remain sterile overnight.
Step 3: In the original blog, Gabe goes on a long list of steps about soaking your lips in a bowl of water. The point is to loosen up the scabs to get them softer. I wonder, why go through all the steps with the bowl? I think soaking your lips in a bow would be rather clumsy, and at the very least, it would be difficult to keep the water out of your nose. I ran warm water in my sink and washed my hands well with antibacterial dish soap.
I then cupped my hands over my mouth instead of using the bowl. I kept cupping my hands and covering my mouth for about a minute. This softens the scabs so that they open enough to clean well. You don’t scrape off the scabs; you just soften them up so that you can get them ready for the additional steps.
I then turned off the water and used a few drops of antibacterial dish soap on my mouth, concentrating on the corners. I worked this in for about a minute. I then rinsed it off and repeated the cupping of my hands and warm water for about 30 seconds.
DON’T use a towel or washcloth. Blot your face with paper towels. Don’t use any spot of the paper towels more than once. The idea is to keep your lips free of bacteria.
Step 4: The original article never mentioned the use of Hydrogen Peroxide, but I can’t imagine not doing this. It burns, but it does so well at cleaning the area under the scab. This speeds the healing process. And after all, isn’t that why you’re doing this? I used the cotton balls with the Hydrogen Peroxide.
Step 5: I used Cotton Swabs (Q-tips) to apply the Antibiotic Ointment. Really glob it on because as soon as you apply the ointment, you will need to apply the Plastic Adhesive Bandages to the sides of your mouth. Yes, you will look kind of funny going to bed that way. This doesn’t quite compare to the embarrassment of walking around all day with Angular Cheilitis, so it’s a small price to pay.
In the original instructions, you would have to let this ointment set for 2 hours, then repeat the process all over again. I think this is utter nonsense because if you did it right the first time, you wouldn’t need to do it again. That’s why I added the step with Hydrogen Peroxide and ended the process with bandages and a good night’s sleep. Hopefully, this will work for you, too! If you use this home remedy, please share your experience by leaving a comment.