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Cheilitis: All We Need to Know


heilitis is inflammation of the lips. Inflammation may be caused around the perioral skin (skin around the mouth), the vermilion border, and the labial mucosa.

Cheilitis can be either acute or chronic. It is caused by factors such as dryness and sun exposure.

In India, there are more than 10 million cases per year. Cheilitis can affect any age group. (4)

Most vulnerable: People who generally fail to separate the upper and lower jaws, people with habits like licking and rubbing the corners of the mouth, people suffering from anemia, diabetes, and immune deficiencies, etc.

- Usually self-treatable
- Usually self-diagnosable
- Lab tests or imaging not required
- Short-term: resolves within days to weeks

Types of Cheilitis
There are many recognized types and different causes. Some of them are as follows:
1. Common cheilitis
2. Actinic cheilitis
3. Angular cheilitis
4. Eczematous cheilitis
5. Infectious cheilitis
6. Granulomatous cheilitis
7. Drug-related cheilitis
8. Exfoliative cheilitis
9. Cheilitis glandularis
10. Plasma cell cheilitis


- Lip dryness: mostly dryness around the angles of lips
- Redness, cracking, and itching
- Painful inflammation: lips get inflamed
- Sometimes weeping at the corners of the mouth
People may experience:
Skin: fissures or redness
Also common: dry mouth

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment generally depends upon the type and cause of cheilitis.
Self-care: Petroleum jelly, sunscreen, lip balm, moisturizer, and aloe vera gel. Consultation with a doctor or physician may be required.

Tests: Blood tests may be done to test for anemias or immune deficiencies, and culture of the affected area may be tested to detect bacterial or yeast infections.
Medicines: Infections may be treated with steroids or antifungal or antibacterial medications. Severe infections in people may require antifungal drugs to be taken orally.

Specialists: For other concerns, consult a primary care provider. At mfine, you will receive a holistic treatment plan for optimum health.

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