As the weather turns cold, chapped and dry lips appear exposure to the dry air, cold and wind. After a few days of especially chapped lips, you may noticedredness in the corners of your mouth. Like chapped lips, this redness may burn, crack or bleed. In most cases, home treatment can bring your lips and the corners of your mouth back to normal. More severe cases may require a doctor's help.
Environmental conditions, such as wind, dry air and too much sun exposure, can cause chapped lips, which leave redness in the corners of your mouth. Licking your lips can also worsen then problem. A deficiency in iron or riboflavin can also cause your lips to chap and the edges of your mouth to redden. Redness in around the mouth may also be a side effect of a new medication, especially an oral retinoid medication you may be taking for acne or another skin condition.
Angular cheilitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the corners of your mouth, leaving them red, cracked, blistered, bleeding or painful. Dry, chapped lips are one cause of angular cheilitis. Additionally, an overhang of the upper lip and dribbling saliva cause angular cheilitis. Bacteria, such as a cold sore, can also lead to the condition. If you are diabetic, wear dentures, are in old age, or if you have poor nutrition, inflammatory bowel disease or sensitive skin, you may be more prone to angular cheilitis.
You can prevent chapped lips by staying hydrated. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends drinking plenty of water and using a humidifier in your home. Protect your lips with an oil-based lip balm containing sunscreen. In cold, dry weather, cover your lips with a scarf. Eat a balanced diet, and beef up on iron and riboflavin. Foods containing riboflavin, which is vitamin B2, include milk, eggs and meats. You can find iron in poultry, fish, lean red meats, dried beans and leafy, green vegetables.
Keep your lips and the corners of your mouth covered in a lip balm containing petrolatum or beeswax. For angular cheilitis, your doctor may prescribe an oral cream, such as an antiseptic, antibiotic, antifungal or steroid. For severe cases, you may need filler injections or implants to build up the space at the corners of your mouth. Your doctor may prescribe either an over-the-counter or prescription vitamin supplement.
The redness at the corners of your mouth should go away with home treatment, but an acute case may develop into a contagious skin infection that could spread to other areas of your skin. See your doctor if the redness persists for weeks or worsens. If the edges of your mouth become very cracked and scabbed, you may find opening your mouth difficult. If you open your mouth too widely, the scabs may open and bleed. Eat soft food until the cracks around your mouth heal.