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Got an ache or pain? Have a question about a prescription or over-the-counter drug? Looking for some FREE medical advice?
For the past month or so, I have had an irritating problem in the corner of my lips. The skin there gets very dry, and sometimes cracks open a bit. There is no pus or any other leakage, just dry skin. I have never had a cold sore before, so I don't know if these are similar symptoms. I also do not have herpes. I have been using lip balm several times a day where the skin gets dry(it is supposedly medicated - main ingredient octyl methoxycinnamate). After several days, it goes away. Then a few days later it reappears. I want to know what kind of over-the-counter cold sore medicines are available and if you can reccommend any other medications that might make this stop. Thank you.
Thanks for your question. The problem you describe sounds like; angular cheilosis (cheilosis refers to the lips) or angular stomatitis (stomatitis refers to an opening in the body, in this case the mouth). This is a common condition and occurs in people who have increased moisture in the corners or their mouths, either from frequent licking, or occasionally from ill-fitting dentures. Rarely cases are associated with deficiency of the vitamin riboflavin or a systemic disease such as bowel inflammation. When the skin becomes irritated it can get infected with a fungus of the candida family, (the same fungus that causes thrush in infants, and monilia or vaginal yeast infection in women) or there may be some bacterial infection. If there is no reason to suspect a dietary deficiency or serious systemic disease you could try treatment with an over-the-counter antifungal cream such as clotrimazole (Canesten). If there seems to be more redness and inflammation in the corners of the mouth, it suggests secondary bacterial infection. In this case a topical antibiotic such as bactroban would be more effective. If the problem is persistent or you have any concerns, see your doctor.
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