Angular Cheilitis, also known as angular stomatitis or cheilosis is a skin condition which involves the apparition of some cracks in the skin, especially in the corners of the mouth and in the skin surrounding the mouth. These cracks grow deeper and deeper and in time may even start to bleed and transform into sores.
There are two main external causes from which this condition may appear. The first one is because of the existence of some skin folds around the mouth which favor the accumulation of saliva and sweat. Both these liquids contain bacteria and while the saliva and the sweat go deep in the skin, the bacteria and fungi starts affecting the layers of skin too, and gradually start developing and growing in number until Angular Cheilitis reaches its full form.
Another cause which triggers Angular Cheilitis is chapped lips. These usually appear when they are exposed to cold temperatures without any protection or without being hydrated enough. When chapped lips appear, most people start licking them in hope of providing some relief from the pain and at the same time moisturize the area, thus reducing the effects of chapped lips. Yet, licking your lips when they are chapped is the worst thing you can do. First of all because the saliva is not a great moisturizer and what it will do will only increase the damage caused by cold. In addition to that, in our mouths there are billions of bacteria which you can transfer, along with the saliva in the cracks of your chapped lips, thus giving a hand to the development and faster evolution of Angular Cheilitis.
Thus, if your lips are chapped or you see the first signs of cheilosis on the area around your lips and feel tempted to lick them, refrain from doing that! You will only make the condition worse. Instead, try to always keep a lip balm with you during cold times and use them when you feel your lips need to be moisturized. It will help you prevent the apparition of Angular Cheilitis or diminish its effects (if it already appeared on the skin). Also, it will provide relief and will keep the skin from the lips and from around them healthy and moisturized, helping it cope more efficiently with any skin condition which may appear, including Angular Cheilitis.