Throughout the website, we have been underscoring the notion that angular cheilitis is not chapped lips but can Carmex, a popular lip balm, still eradicate perleche? After all, this product is designed to be used on the sensitive lip area, and with ingredients camphor, menthol, and salicylic acid, perhaps this alternative to ChapStick and Blistex, can tackle that pesky inflammation at the corners of the mouth.
Sorry to be bearer of bad tidings but Carmex is not designed to thwart cheilitis, and there is nothing in the ingredient list to suggest it can. The base ointment, including beeswax, petrolatum, lanolin and cocoa butter may have some therapeutic value but the amounts of these agents are rather limited and will, at best, offer a modicum of soothing comfort and anti-inflammatory response.
While Carma Labs, the manufacturer and producer of Carmex, highlights the notion that the founder of the formulation Alfred Woelbing, was first inspired to create it to get rid of his own cold sores, even the current principals of the company acknowledge that Carmex cannot truly ‘treat’ the virus. It is perhaps designed to simply alleviate the symptoms.
(Some folks assert that Carmex may actually be responsible for cold sores but this does not seem plausible. Cold sores are an outside manifestation of a viral infection within the body so the lip balm should not be implicated in its development. It’s very possible that the virus was lurking within when a given individual happened to be using Carmex.)
Similarly, Carmex treatment cannot be used to get rid of cheilitis which is typically caused by bacteria or fungi. Even Carmex’s salicylic acid can only neutralize bacteria by making cells of the epidermis shed more readily, opening up pores. It cannot kill bacteria, and even if it could, it would have to annihilate the bacteria strains causing the cheilitis.
There have been some anecdotal reports of Carmex curing angular cheilitis, but again, this may be coincidental in nature. One’s own body defenses may have kicked in to heal the perleche, and simultaneously, this individual may have been using Carmex treatment, giving credit to the product for the favorable turn of events. Again, the lip preparation may have helped assuage symptoms but received undeserved praise for the complete recovery.
Now all this does not mean that we’re putting our stamp of disapproval on its use. After all, Carmex has received many compliments for its pain-reducing and moisturizing properties. It’s readily available over the counter in a stick, tube, or small bottle, plain or flavored, although some mention that even the strawberry and cherry Carmex formulations smell too chemical/medicinal. However, that is a small amount to pay if the pain and discomfort you’re felling from angular cheilitis subsides from its use.
Carmex is cheap, and you can even find a package of 3 tubes for a little over $3. But don’t bet any money that this product will directly get rid of perleche. Carmex may relieve pain, decrease inflammation, and may make symptoms look better, but the underlying angular cheilitis will not disappear.