Mirror, mirror on the wall, do I have angular cheilitis or chapped lips, mouth sores, or cold sores? This is not as easy as you may think to answer. Indeed, how can a person tell if they suffer from angular cheilitis or some other mouth problem? This page provides a guideline for recognizing the signs of angular cheilitis and differentiating angular cheilitis from chapped lips or mouth sores.

angular cheilitis or chapped lips or mouth sores

Angular Cheilitis or Chapped Lips?

Angular cheilitis is often confused for chapped lips, but it is not chapped lips, and a misdiagnosis and mistreatment can make the symptoms of angular cheilitis worse. Below is an easy guide for understanding the differences between angular cheilitis and chapped lips.

• Location – location of the affected area is the easiest way to differentiate between angular cheilitis or chapped lips. Chapped lips affect the entire outer skin area of the lip and are characterized by cracked and dry skin on the surface of the lips. A person experiencing discomfort or cracks that are limited to the corners of the mouth is most likely experiencing angular cheilitis not chapped lips.

• Climate – almost everyone has suffered from chapped lips at some point. Chapped lips are common in areas with cold dry weather, and occur more prevalently in winter months. Chapped lips are caused by a lack of moisture and use of moisturizers such as lip balm will generally improve chapped lips. These treatments will not work for angular cheilitis, and because angular cheilitis is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection at the corners of the mouth it can occur in any climate.

Angular Cheilitis or Mouth Sores?

Angular cheilitis can sometimes be mistaken for mouth sores, but they are not the same thing. A misdiagnosis and mistreatment can result in a worsening of angular cheilitis symptoms. Below is a quick guide to understanding the differences between angular cheilitis and mouth sores.

• Location – the location of pain and discomfort is an easy way to tell if a person has angular cheilitis or mouth sores. Mouth sores occur inside the mouth on the soft tissue of the inner lip. Angular cheilitis occurs on the exterior skin at the corners of the mouth.

• Age – the age of the affected person might also indicate whether a person is suffering from angular cheilitis or mouth sores. Mouth sores are more prevalent in younger people (aged 16-25). Mouth sores are rarely experienced by the elderly or the very young. Conversely, angular cheilitis is most common in the very young (toddlers and infants) and the elderly.

Although self-diagnosis may be challenging, you now should be able to discern whether you have angular cheilitis or chapped lips or mouth sores.