We’ve already discussed the merits of tea tree oil but many health enthusiasts also tout several other essential oils as a viable option to combat angular cheilitis. Attained by distillation of plants, essential oils are liquids that contain any given plant’s strong aroma compounds. They are used in conjunction with carrier oils as they, in turn, dilute the potency of essential oils (100% essential oils may be too harsh for the skin) and carry the fragrant essential oils onto the dermis, aiding absorption. But the question arises: Should you use these oils (well, essential oils are not really oils as they are comprised of the fatty acids that we consider oils) as part of your angular cheilitis program? Will they provide immediate relief from the symptoms of perleche or will they just induce more irritation and inflammation?
Our consensus: There is not too much risk in applying these oils as long as you embrace the caveat that less is more. In other words, don’t overuse these products. A couple of drops of an essential oil in a suitable carrier oil may be enough to galvanize positive results. By the way, if you do not dilute an essential oil, you and your skin may not be too happy. If you notice any unfortunate reaction, stop this treatment immediately. You may just have a sensitivity to the essential oil or perhaps the perleche is too raw and responds negatively.
Our Favorite Anti-Cheilitis Essential Oils
Now that we’ve given you the ‘green light’ to try this modality, another question arises: What are the best essential oils to use for perleche? As we’ve highlighted the main underlying causes of this condition, it is preferable to look for ones that are high in antibacterial and antifungal properties and/or are known to be a powerful antiseptic. Here are some to consider:
1) Thyme – This essential oil is purported to have the antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic qualities that would be perfect to squash cheilitis. As a reminder, it should always be diluted. It is recommended that you use one drop of thyme with say 4 drops of a skin-friendly carrier oil, such as virgin coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or jojoba oil.
2) Clary sage – This is thought to kill bacteria and fungi, and possibly serve as a barrier to the growth and spread of bacterial infections. Its soothing antiseptic qualities may also help to arrest the physical discomfort of the cheilitis. Clary sage is used for skin cleansing, can increase blood circulation in the skin, reduce skin inflammation, and heal rashes. It’s best to dilute it with carrier oil.
3) Lavender – Known for its antifungal properties, lavender should also be able to calm inflamed skin with its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities. As a bonus, it also has some slight antibacterial fighting power, necessary if your perleche is caused by wayward bacteria. While you can use lavender by itself, we recommend dilution with a carrier oil.
4) Australian sandalwood oil – This product is lauded for its antibacterial properties, and can even combat the troublesome Staphylococcus aureus bacteria — the same bacteria thought to be responsible for angular cheilitis in some. It may even be more effective against Staphylococcus aureus than even tea tree oil so it’s definitely worth trying. Again, we favor dilution instead of applying it solo.
5. Oregano oil – A very powerful and potent oil, this should always be diluted. It’s a strong antibacterial and antifungal agent with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties allowing it to be a potential ally against perleche. However, this is a ‘hot oil’ and can easily cause skin irritation. Proceed with caution and don’t forget to dilute it. The same point can be made if you decide to take several drops of this oil internally.
6. Eucalyptus – This oil is purported to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties. Traditional Aboriginal medicines incorporated eucalyptus as a means to heal wounds and treat fungal infections. This pungent oil, even in diluted form, may very well address your cheilitis, hastening healing of the blisters around the mouth.
7. Chamomile – This oil is best known for its ability to fight inflammation, necessary in handling perleche. It also provides a broad spectrum of antibacterial and antifungal properties which can also address the underlying causes of perleche. It’s soothing, analgesic action may very well provide physical and emotional relief from angular cheilitis, even when diluted. (You may even wish to drink chamomile tea, not the oil, to relax and introduce even more antioxidants into your body. You can even apply chamomile tea topically as it can disinfect wounds, lighten the color of the area, and ward off the infection.
The list above is not exhaustive and other essential oils may be employed for perleche, including lemon, cinnamon, patchouli, and a host of others – all which can hasten wound healing, stimulate the regeneration of skin cells, and prevent scarring.
Essential Oil Treatment for Angular Cheilitis – Is it FoolProof?
There are absolutely no guarantees that essential oils will work for cheilitis, as there are too many variables: Individual response, essential and carrier oils selected, degree of inflammation, etc. But by employing the aforementioned essential oils with skin-friendly carrier oils, there is a greater chance for success. It is advisable to speak with your nutritionist or health care provider about the use of essential oils before your first application.
If you are going to experiment with an essential oils treatment, make sure you purchase pure ones from reputable vendors. You can test for purity by placing one drop of essential oil on a piece of construction paper. It should soon evaporate, leaving no noticeable ring.
While there are other treatments that we would try before this option, the use of essential oils may help you become angular cheilitis-free.