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Understanding Angular Cheilitis

Perleche by Skincare Expert - Aysa Zhambeeva - Rathmines Life Pharmacy



Painful cracks at the sides of your mouth and not sure what it is?

More and more people come into the pharmacy enquiring about this condition and asking for treatment.  Especially since COVID started.

Angular cheilitis, also known as Perleche causes painful inflammation, cracks, and redness at the corners of the mouth. It occurs on one or both sides of the mouth and can affect people of all ages.

Luckily, Perleche is harmless most of the time and it’s not contagious.

It just can be a very uncomfortable condition to have.


There are different causes of Perleche.

  • The most common is Fungal infection caused by a type of yeast called Candida.
  • Bacterial (Staphylococcal) infection can cause it too but it's more rear.
  • Nutritional deficiencies of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), IRON
  • Dental appliances such as retainers or braces.
  • Skin conditions such as eczema or atopic dermatitis.
  • Use of Retinoid medication that causes dry mouth.
  • Perleche can also be a side effect of an allergy to certain medicines.
  • Diabetes and weak immune system.
  • Poor oral hygiene.
  • Some people say the wearing of masks causes it and makes the condition worse for them.


Try these treatments for a mild form of perleche and if your symptoms haven’t resolved in 2 weeks’ time make an appointment with your doctor.


  • Avoid licking or rubbing the corners of your mouth. Saliva can make the condition worse.
  • Take B complex supplement.
  • Topical antiseptics to keep the cracks clean.
  • Barrier cream containing CU-ZN formulation to treat the irritation (pharmacies stock them.) One of them is URIAGE Bariederm CU-ZN cream. it creates a bandage effect, insulates, repairs, and soothes the irritation.
  • Rich lip balms or emollients applied frequently. LRP cicaplast lip balm is excellent for very dry, chapped, and sore lips.
  • Honey has anti-bacterial properties and very soothing on cracked skin. Simply rub a little into the corner of the mouth a few times a day.
  • Topical antifungal cream (ask the pharmacist first as you may not need it)
  • Drink plenty of water.