12 Excellent Ways to Get Rid of Angular Cheilitis

Angular cheilitis is a condition that causes inflammation, cracking, and bleeding of one or both corners of the mouth [1].

This is why, it is also sometimes referred to as mouth corner cracks.

According to Wikipedia, it is the “second most common type of lip infection”.

This condition is typically caused by infectious pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans, but it can also be triggered by nutritional deficiency, poorly fitted dentures, dry skin, and lip-licking habit [1].

Although it’s not a medical emergency that you should panic about, it can make daily activities involving the mouth difficult.

As it can affect eating and talking, it’s important to resolve this issue right away with the help of these simple but effective home remedies to get rid of angular cheilitis.

1. Aloe Vera

A “cactus-like” herbal plant that can be found in hot and dry regions, aloe vera is frequently used in cosmetic products and medications [2].

For centuries, its therapeutic effects have been used in Greece, India, Japan, China, and Mexico [2].

This is not surprising as aloe vera is loaded with active compounds such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, saponins, salicylic acids, and more [2].

When it comes to angular cheilitis, aloe vera can help with its anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties [3, 4].

These properties don’t only work to alleviate the symptoms but also to speed up the healing of the inflamed lesions on the mouth corners [3, 4].

In addition, it also helps control the growth and spread of Candida albicans to prevent fungal infection [5].

At 10 percent concentration, aloe vera gel can wipe out 90 to 100 percent of Candida albicans [5].

The main way it works is by preventing the tube formation of the fungal strain [5].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 aloe vera leaf

Recommended Directions:

  1. Put aloe vera leaf in the refrigerator.
  2. Slice it into two.
  3. Squeeze the end to release the gel.
  4. Rub the gel gently on the corners of the mouth.
  5. Let it dry for 15 minutes before washing it off with cool water.
  6. Use this remedy everyday for three to four weeks.

2. Tea Tree Oil

Due to its potent pharmacological effects, tea tree oil has become one of the most famed medicinal oils in the world.

In Australia, it has been used as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent for at least a hundred years [6].

Its strong antifungal and antibacterial activities against microorganisms that cause angular cheilitis have been demonstrated a number of times in scientific research [6, 7, 8, 9, 10].

What it does is it damages the cellular membranes of the pathogenic microorganisms [8].

It’s fungicidal effects are so strong that it can kill 90 percent of Candida albicans isolates at a minimum concentration of 0.25 percent [10].

Susceptible to its antifungal powers are 57 strains of Candida fungi [10].

Apart from preventing microbial infection, it also works by reducing inflammation with its terpinen-4-ol and other active components [11].

These water-soluble components have been found to suppress the production of pro-inflammatory mediators in the body [11].

It’s no wonder researchers recommend the use of tea tree oil as “adjunctive wound therapy” for microbial infections like angular cheilitis [12].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1 teaspoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Combine the two oils.
  2. Spread a small amount on mouth corners.
  3. Use this technique twice a day for up to three weeks.

3. Cucumber

A cucumber is more than just a refreshing addition to your salad.

It also has medicinal value that traditional healers rely upon for many types of skin issues and inflammation conditions.

With its cleansing action, cucumber helps get rid of impurities that may worsen the infection in cases of angular cheilitis [13].

It also has soothing and cooling effects on the skin that can lessen skin irritation and inflammation [13].

Moreover, it nourishes the skin, keeps it moisturized, and promotes regeneration, all of which help in boosting recovery from mouth corner cracks [14].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 slices of cucumber

Recommended Directions:

  1. Get one slice of cucumber.
  2. Press it gently on the cracked corners of your lips.
  3. Do this for 15 minutes three times each day for three to four weeks.

4. Honey

More than just a healthy sweetener, honey can do so much in easing the pain and agony caused by angular cheilitis.

Several studies point out that honey can destroy infection-causing pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans [15, 16, 17, 18].

Also susceptible to its antimicrobial activities are those that have grown resistant to drugs [15, 16, 17, 18].

In 2005, researchers from the United Arab Emirates probed the efficacy of a mixture consisting of honey, olive oil and beeswax in inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans [15].

The mixture effectively prevented the growth of these microbes by 50 to 66 percent [15].

When used alone, olive oil and beeswax did not demonstrate the same results, indicating that it is honey that’s mainly responsible for the mixture’s antimicrobial activities [15].

On top of these, honey is also a strong anti-inflammatory agent that can improve the condition of angular cheilitis [19].

Contributing to its ability to tone down inflammation are its phenolic compounds such as ellagic, gallic, ferulic acids, myricetin, and caffeic acid [19].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of beeswax

Recommended Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  3. Apply a small amount of the honey mixture on the mouth corners.
  4. Wait for 15 minutes before rinsing with cool water.
  5. Repeat remedy once a day for one to two weeks.
  6. Keep the mixture in a place far from heat sources.

5. Petroleum Jelly

Many mothers turn to petroleum jelly for treating their babies’ diaper rashes.

However, this isn’t the only skin issue that petroleum jelly can take care of.

In fact, it is one of the oldest treatments for the skin that’s still widely used today [20].

It is also a reliable remedy for the unsightly and painful cracks in the corners of the mouth.

Researchers recommend the use of this product in keeping the mouth corners from getting dry to prevent recurrence of angular cheilitis [21].

This should be applied on the skin folds to keep them moist [21].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of petroleum jelly
  • 5 drops of tea tree oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Dilute tea tree oil in petroleum jelly
  2. Apply on inflamed skin.
  3. Wait for one hour before wiping it off.
  4. Do this several times a day for up to two weeks.

6. Olive Oil

A staple in the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is chockfull of antioxidants that can help keep the body strong and less susceptible to infections like angular cheilitis [22].

Apart from supplying you with your much-needed antioxidants, it can also be used topically to protect the skin and keep it from drying out [23].

As you know, dry skin worsens the mouth corner cracks, and makes you more prone to infection.

On top of all these, a 2009 study reports that olive oil has high antimicrobial activities against Staphylococcus aureus [24].

Australian researchers evaluated the antimicrobial effects of an extract obtained from olive leaves using broth microdilution and agar dilution methods [24].

It was found that its bactericidal properties are strongest against Staphylococcus aureus [24].

It also works against strains that have become resistant to antibiotics [24].

This means that if your angular cheilitis keeps on coming back even if you’ve used the antibiotics that were prescribed to you, you should try using this remedy instead.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Warm olive oil in a pan.
  2. Let it cool before applying on mouth lesions.
  3. Do the procedure twice a day for three to four weeks.

7. Glycerin

To prevent angular cheilitis from getting worse, it’s important to keep the skin around the mouth moisturized.

One way to do that is with glycerin.

A clinical trial conducted in Sweden reveals that a 20 percent glycerin cream formulation is an effective emollient [25].

Simply put, glycerine can help prevent dry skin, and in the process, relieve itchiness and stinging sensation [25].

These are two of the most common symptoms that patients with angular cheilitis complain about.

Proper management of this condition requires alleviation of unpleasant symptoms.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of glycerin

Recommended Directions:

  1. Rub glycerin on the inflamed skin around the mouth.
  2. Follow this remedy three times a day for one to two weeks.

8. Coconut Oil

Emollients like coconut oil are very useful in reducing the symptoms of skin infections, particularly pain and itching [26].

It does so by keeping the skin moisturized.

When you’re feeling uncomfortable, apply coconut oil on your mouth corner cracks, and you’ll immediately be relieved.

That’s not all that it could do for angular cheilitis sufferers.

It can also prevent bacterial and fungal infections with its antimicrobial properties that have been proven in various studies [27, 28, 29].

As with other antimicrobials, coconut oil has the ability to prevent the growth and spread of pathogens, and reduce the risk of infection [27, 28, 29].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Apply coconut oil on the affected areas.
  2. Repeat three to four times a day.
  3. Use this remedy up to three weeks.

9. Neem

Another easy way to control fungal or bacterial infections around the mouth is with neem.

A 2002 study reports that neem has significant antimicrobial mechanisms against Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans [30].

By preventing the bacteria and fungi from replicating, neem can efficiently halt the process of infection.

This action can be attributed to the presence of tannins, polyphenols and saponins in neem [30].

Like most of the remedies that are mentioned here, neem is also safe to use.

There have been few reports of adverse reactions from using this herbal remedy.

Just see to it that you follow carefully the instructions on preparation and use.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 cup of neem leaves
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Boil neem leaves in a pot of water.
  2. Remove from heat, and then strain.
  3. Wash the area around your mouth with this solution.
  4. Do this twice a day for one to two weeks.

10. Cocoa Butter

Polyphenols in cocoa butter have been proven to have a positive effect on the skin, promoting skin elasticity and regeneration [31].

It’s no surprise that cocoa butter is often included in skincare products like facial washes, body lotions, rejuvenating creams and so on.

It’s also great as a moisturizer, keeping the skin around the mouth from getting dry [32].

The more moisturized the mouth corners are, the less tendency for them to be infected.

This also prevents worsening of the cracking and inflammation.

All these are helpful in treating the inflamed lesions caused by angular cheilitis.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 teaspoon of cocoa butter
  • 3 drops of tea tree oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Put the two ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Apply a small amount of cocoa butter mixture on the cracked corners of the mouth.
  4. Rinse after 30 minutes.
  5. Do this three times a day for three to four weeks.

11. Lemon Juice

Overhead view of yellow raw juice with grated lemon and carrot on wood grain pattern background

There are various ways the vitamin C in lemon juice can help in cases of angular cheilitis.

For one, vitamin C deficiency has been linked to oral infections such as this one [33].

By drinking enough lemon juice, you can help resolve this issue, and supply your body with its much needed vitamin C.

Also, vitamin C is a potent wound healer, as proven in various studies [34, 35].

This is because it promotes formation of collagen, and boosts skin repair.

Moreover, vitamin C strengthens the body’s immunity to make it more defensive against microbial infections.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 slices of lemon
  • 1 glass of water
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 slice of lemon

Recommended Directions:

  1. Squeeze three slices of lemon to extract the juice.
  2. Pour juice into the water.
  3. Stir in honey.
  4. Drink lemon juice two to three times a day until mouth corner cracks heal.
  5. Squeeze juice from one lemon slice.
  6. Apply on mouth corner cracks.
  7. This will sting a little at first.
  8. Let it sit for one to two minutes before rinsing with cool water.
  9. Repeat remedy once a day for three weeks.

12. Castor Oil

Castor oil is one of the recommended remedies by Earth Clinic for curing mouth corner infection.

The primary way it helps tone down angular cheilitis is by minimizing inflammation.

Its potency as an anti-inflammatory agent has been confirmed by several studies [36, 37].

It’s also a strong antibacterial that can control the activities of bacteria that causes this problem, namely Staphylococcus aureus [38].

It does the same thing for fungal strains that infect the mouth corners [39].

Its toxic effects against microbes are due to the presence of cardiac glycosides, saponins, flavonoids, terpenoids and tannins [38].

As if all these aren’t enough, castor oil can also keep the skin around the mouth from getting dry.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 teaspoon of castor oil
  • 2 drops of tea tree oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add tea tree oil to castor oil.
  2. Dab a cotton ball on the oil mixture.
  3. Apply this on your mouth corner cracks.
  4. Wait for 30 minutes before rinsing with cool water.
  5. Repeat remedy twice a day for three to four weeks.

End the pain and suffering caused by angular cheilitis by using these home remedies that are safe and easy to put together.

Most of these do not cause any harmful side effects as long as you follow the proper directions.