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Skin Care and Diseases

Fissure in corner of mouth

03/29/2006

Question:

I get fissures in the corner of my mouth, but Im allergic to anything with petroleum in it. Whay could I put on it?

Answer:

You did not give me your age.  Young people develop angular cheilitis, which is fissuring at the angles of the mouth, frequently if they are atopic or if they are chronic lip lickers.  Older individuals have problems with their teeth wearing and/or with replacement dentures, resulting in shortening of the distance between the center of the chin and the tip of the nose giving new folds at the angles of the mouth.  Saliva pools there resulting in laceration and fissuring of the skin, and bacteria and/or yeast overgrowth occurs. 

The treatment is to apply antibacterial and anti-yeast materials to the angles of the mouth.  Unfortunately most of these have some sort of oil base and that could be a problem for you.  I frequently use Mycolog II cream to the angles of the mouth and then cover the lips with Kerodex 71 barrier cream.  The Mycolog II is a prescription item and the Kerodex 71 is a barrier cream that can be ordered by most pharmacies for you without a prescription.

In order for you to move forward in a meaningful way, you need to know what component in petroleum products you are sensitive to so that maybe a special compounding could avoid that particular material.  Your board certified dermatologist would be able to assess all of those elements for you and put you on the road to recovery.  If your teeth need repair or you need to realign your upper and lower jaws, then a very fine orthodontist and/or a knowledgeable family dentist could help you. 

Good luck!

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati