Cheilitis: what it is, symptoms, causes and treatment


Cheilitis corresponds to an inflammation that happens on the lips, which can be caused by fungal or bacterial infection, prolonged exposure to the sun, contact with irritating substances, and can be classified into some main types according to the cause, such as angular, actinic cheilitis. , contact or exfoliative.

The symptoms of cheilitis can vary according to the cause, but in general, it is common to see a sore on the lips, dryness, redness and swelling.

In the presence of signs and symptoms suggestive of cheilitis, it is important that the dermatologist is consulted, so that it is possible to carry out an analysis of the symptoms, identify the cause and start the most appropriate treatment.

symptoms of cheilitis

The symptoms of cheilitis can vary depending on the cause, however the main signs and symptoms indicative of this situation are:

  • Appearance of sores on the lips, especially in the corner of the mouth;
  • Dryness of the lips;
  • peeling;
  • Swelling;
  • Local redness;
  • Cracked lips;
  • Pain and discomfort in the mouth, especially when opening the mouth to eat, speak or yawn, for example.

In the presence of these signs and symptoms, it is important that the dermatologist is consulted, as an evaluation of the symptoms presented is carried out, taking into account the person’s health history and habits. In addition, in some cases, depending on the characteristics of the cheilitis, the doctor may recommend performing a biopsy of the lesion in order to verify whether it has malignant characteristics, and then initiate the most appropriate treatment.

types of cheilitis

Cheilitis can be classified into a few types according to the cause, the main ones being:

angular cheilitis

Angular cheilitis, also known as mouthpiece, is the main type of cheilitis and happens due to infection by fungi or bacteria, which can be a consequence of the accumulation of saliva at the site due to the use of dental prostheses or braces, for example.

The main characteristic of angular cheilitis is the appearance of a sore in the corner of the mouth, with pain when opening the mouth, dryness and local peeling. Know how to recognize the symptoms of angular cheilitis.

actinic cheilitis

Actinic cheilitis is mainly with prolonged exposure to the sun, the symptoms being mainly noticed on the lower lip, which becomes redder, rougher and dry. It is important that actinic cheilitis is identified quickly and that treatment is started soon afterwards, as it can progress to mouth cancer.

contact cheilitis

Contact cheilitis happens after the lips come into contact with irritating substances such as makeup, lipstick, some foods and medications, toothpaste, mouthwash, resulting in lip redness, peeling and the appearance of small sores or blisters.

exfoliative cheilitis

Exfoliative cheilitis is common and is characterized by continuous peeling of the lips, being noticed mainly in females.

how is the treatment

The treatment of cheilitis should be indicated by the dermatologist according to the type of cheilitis and, consequently, its cause and symptoms. Thus, the use of creams with antibiotic or antifungal properties and/or the use of moisturizers with less irritating substances may be indicated by the doctor. In addition, in some cases, aesthetic treatments may be indicated to remove the surface layer of the lips and favor local cell regeneration.

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