A smile on my dial without wincing awhile?
February 16, 2009 11:36 PM   Subscribe

Poorly-positioned wound in corner crease of mouth means it won't/can't heal. Super duper fast wound healing solutions, apply within!

I got a pimple on the corner of my mouth. I picked it. I KNOW! I'M AN IDIOT! It became a wound, whose attempts to heal, being right on the corner crease of my mouth/lip, have been continually thwarted. Every time I smile, laugh, or attempt to eat even a spoonful of the most liquid food items, it splits open again. My best effort to not open my mouth has thus far lasted about ten hours. A woman behind a counter selling me a drink made me laugh; that was ten hours wasted.

The problem is basically a little bit of split flesh. It starts to heal, I move my mouth, it tears. Rinse, repeat.

Help me not look like a kid with a cold sore any more. People are going to start to wonder why I'm pulling out of coffees and dinners every which way, and if I keep walking around with my face to the ground like this I'm eventually going to walk into something and do myself some *real* damage. Or someone else will when I look funny at them with the squinchy, pursey look I'm affecting in an attempt to hide it.

Is there anything I can do to make this thing heal quick? And/or anything I can cover it up with while it does? (I know bugger-all about makeup and have a concealer stick but that just dries it out and makes it look worse.) I'm going to be embarrassed just going to a chemist; I want to whisk something away off the shelf without having to ask for their help or even raise my head to a point where they're guessing what I'm buying it for.

I'm in Australia, if that helps with product suggestions.
posted by springbound to Health & Fitness (30 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
happens to me in the winter sometimes. best thing is to keep it from drying out, which will make it more likely to split, by rubbing in some vaseline/lip balm/chapstick. and patience.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 11:39 PM on February 16, 2009

First of all, relax -- I'm sure that this feels gross and uncomfortable (I get them every few months), but it probably feels much worse than it looks. I don't know if you can get it in Australia, but I've used Neosporin Lip Treatment to great effect.
posted by rossination at 11:46 PM on February 16, 2009

!!! It's all reddish-purple and inflamed (ok, my fault - when it scabs over it looks like dried food in the corner of my mouth, so I tear it off). It looks like I'm growing a third lip! *pouts* *shrieks*

Thanks -- I don't think Neosporin's available in Oz, from what I read. Damnitalltohell. I wonder if a chemist might know what I mean if I ask for an equivalent...
posted by springbound at 12:07 AM on February 17, 2009

PS: thanks sergeant sandwich, too: I'm decking it out in chapstick (mmm, cherry) 'til I can figure out something hopefully more medicated. :)
posted by springbound at 12:10 AM on February 17, 2009

Anyone who gets cracked corners a lot should look into whether they have angular cheilitis. It's a bacterial/fungal condition brought on by iron and B-vitamin deficiencies, and can show up under stress. Neosporin lip treatment seems like an excellent suggestion, since dermatologists often prescribe hydrocortisone cream for this kind of thing.

When I was anemic, I always had great results using a dab of clove oil on a Q-tip. Clove oil also works wonders when you accidentally bite your tongue or cheek, and speeds up healing time quite a bit! Makes sense, since you're killing germs. Taking your vitamins and using mouthwash twice a day never hurt, either. Good luck!
posted by aquafortis at 12:11 AM on February 17, 2009

Poke a hole in a vitamin E capsule and squeeze a bit on the cut.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:12 AM on February 17, 2009

Can't you order some from Amazon? Make sure you're disinfecting it with peroxide or mouthwash before you load it up with Chapstick, otherwise you're keeping the germs/yeast in a nice and toasty environment.
posted by aquafortis at 12:15 AM on February 17, 2009

Amazon orders take a while to get here, or did last time I ordered (a couple of weeks). I'm projecting if I still have this disaster hanging off my face by the arrival time of an Amazon package, I'll be posting here asking about the cleanest method of chopping off my own head. :(

Thanks for the disinfection hint... I swear, I don't know how I got entrusted with a body; I've got no idea how to look after it. ;)

Noting all of these -- thanks guys!
posted by springbound at 12:21 AM on February 17, 2009

neosporin for a couple of days.
posted by rhizome at 12:22 AM on February 17, 2009

The problem is that it cracks or splits, which can't happen if you keep it moist. You need some sort of dressing. Try petroleum jelly, or even better, an antibiotic ointment. If you can find a way to cover that with a band-aid, or even some cotton taped on, that will help.

Another thing to try is a liquid bandage. I have never tried one but it supposedly super-glues a flexible seal over the wound. Actually, the Band-Aid kind literally does use super glue as the carrier.

Obviously if it get's infected, you'll be much worse off so keep it clean and use common first aid sense to prevent infection.

Wikipedia tells me that silver threads in band-aids can speed healing...You might also want to look into the use of Collagen .

I was trying to look up that stuff you put in a wound that gets absorbed and helps your skin grow... it's like an artificial skin graft. I thought I saw that in a supermarket once. Anyway, you might ask a drug store clerk if they've ever heard of anything like that.
posted by brenton at 12:41 AM on February 17, 2009

You may not have Neosporin, but you definitely have antibiotic ointments--they're required for all first aid kits. Just go to a drug store (or whatever you call them down under--the place you get adhesive bandages) and ask the clerk where they are.
posted by brenton at 12:47 AM on February 17, 2009

You can't get Neosporin in Australia, but you can probably get Polysporin or a generic triple-action antibiotic gel or cream. If not, you may be able to get manuka honey which is a powerful antibiotic. In any case, just put a dollop on the wound under a big Band-Aid while you sleep.
posted by nicwolff at 12:48 AM on February 17, 2009

If you can find it, Glyoxide is what you need (sorry no link; I'm typing this on my phone, but the URL is glyoxide.com). It did wonders for me when I pierced my lip. Good stuff, and minty too.
posted by mezzanayne at 1:14 AM on February 17, 2009

Ahhhh, you guys friggin' RULE: I just ate something without a single twinge of pain, all thanks to lots of chapstick. Why on earth was I thinking it had to dry out to heal?!

It's evening here and I can't seem to find an open chemist - where you buy bandages ;) - along my usual route home, so more active remedies will have to wait til tomorrow; but I'm feeling much more hopeful already that I'll someday heal and be presentable in public again -- so thank you all for your help!

brenton, that's some incredible bandaid knowledge you've got there - liquid bandages sound ingenius! - thanks especially for looking all of that up!
posted by springbound at 1:27 AM on February 17, 2009

Seconding the vaseline. It works well for me when I have that kind of sore (sadly more often that I'd like).
posted by indienial at 2:54 AM on February 17, 2009

Shoulda previewed, sorry! Glad you can eat without pain :)
posted by indienial at 2:55 AM on February 17, 2009

I NZ you can buy Savlon cream at the supermarket so you may be able to get something there. It's not as good as the stuff from the chemist, but does the job.

Last time I had a sore exactly like you've described it actually was a very small cold sore (well, the last three times). That's why it wouldn't heal properly. As soon as I put some Zovirax (aciclovir) on it starts to heal, and is always gone in 12 hours.
posted by shelleycat at 2:59 AM on February 17, 2009

Couple things:
Neosporin, mentioned above, is generically "Triple Antibiotic Cream" or gel. On cuts and scrapes on my hands, I prefer the white cream version-less greasy. But for lips and nostrils (swimming in the dead of winter makes for all kinds of dried out things that shouldn't be dried out), go for the gel. It's greasy, and that's part of its charm - you don't forget it's there. Rather than a chap-stick type product, where you can get bits of nastiness left behind on the stick, I go through this procedure:
1)Every time I feel like the neosporin is getting too thinned out, I wash my hands thoroughly.
2) squeeze out a dab about the size of a mini stereo plug onto a finger
3) dab it on. Lightly. DOn't rub it in (I was told this by the ER docs who treated my lips when I fell off my bike in Vail...on to my face).

Basically, keep that sucker globbed up with gel as much as you can
posted by notsnot at 4:11 AM on February 17, 2009

I cured this on myself - it was a B vitamin deficiency. I used to have this problem and would treat it with Neosporin, but it would always come back. I started supplementing with a B multi and I haven't had it in over 10 years. You'll find that it heals very quickly - about 2 or 3 days until the redness is gone. I don't recall exactly which B-vitamin it was... I learned this in a biology course.

I can spot it on other people, and it's a tricky thing if I want to point it out to offer the solution to people I don't know. I've had 2 friends who also cured this with B-vitamin supplements. They were both vegetarians and anemic. I wonder if it's the " angular cheilitis" mentioned aboved.
posted by degrees_of_freedom at 6:01 AM on February 17, 2009

I get this. Mupirocin starts clearing it up within a day.
posted by footnote at 6:02 AM on February 17, 2009

After unsuccessfully trying lip balm for a week I used a triple-antibiotic cream (Neosporin, polysporin, etc.) and the wound was completely healed in 3 days.

I regularly take a multivitamin so a vitamin B-deficiency and/or iron was unlikely.
posted by KevCed at 6:41 AM on February 17, 2009

Also, A&D ointment (usually used for diaper rash) is pretty good at healing little abrasions/cuts---so after you've used the neosporin for a bit, you might try that, too.
posted by leahwrenn at 7:38 AM on February 17, 2009

Be careful if you start putting bandaids on your face. If you've got sensitive skin, it can leave a bandaid-shaped red patch when you tear it off, which will just make your problem even more embarrassingly noticeable. But yeah, antibiotic ointment should do the trick. Try not to lick it off, as I'm sure it's not good for you to ingest. Another name for neosporin type products (here in the states, anyway) is "bacitracin" - that's a single antibiotic in ointment.
posted by vytae at 7:44 AM on February 17, 2009

If it's really nasty, then try to find a very small one of the "5 day bandages". These will hold the skin together and protect the cut from all the nasty germy stuff. Cut it to size if you need to do so. You don't want it covering more of your skin than is necessary.
posted by 26.2 at 10:38 AM on February 17, 2009

Honey! It's got anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and is great for wounds and burns.
posted by waterandrock at 10:54 AM on February 17, 2009

You might want to try Lucas' Papaw (pawpaw) Ointment.

An ex-housemate once said "Seriously, if someone had their arm chopped off I'd recommend they rub this on the stump in order to make it grow back."

IANAA (I am not an amputee) but I occasionally get similar cracks on the corners of my mouth and this works far better as a sealant / moisturiser than normal lip balm or vaseline.

You should find it in most Australian chemists, and maybe somewhere like Priceline too.
posted by pipstar at 12:49 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Wow, guys. No dietary deficiencies here, I just had a boring zit! But, sweet, if a single thread can solve everyone's split-lippy problems whatever the cause, I'm happy to host it!

pipstar you nearly made me spit out my drink. ;) I'll keep an eye out for this miracle pawpaw ointment.

26.2, thankfully it's not so bad I need to wear bandages in the daylight hours (even at night time I'm aware of what vytae says: I don't want to put marks on my face and make myself even more freaky-lookin'), but thanks - there goes another addition to my rapidly expanding knowledge of bandage options available on the market today. :]

Slathering it with mooshy stuff alone seems to make it so much less painful and so much less conspicuous that it's clear one of my big errors has been trying to keep it dry. Tonight there'll be sleeping with antibiotic cream, and overall I'm feeling the prospects are good! Thanks again for all the help!
posted by springbound at 6:32 PM on February 17, 2009

If you can get Carmex in Australia, that is the best thing to heal lips. My lips are devastated in the winter and Carmex cures even things like a pimple at the corner of the lip.
posted by SuzySmith at 11:01 PM on February 17, 2009

PS: k, that Lucas' Papaw Ointment is brilliant. What I suffered with for two weeks was all but healed in two days. Get some!
posted by springbound at 4:11 AM on February 22, 2009

Just chiming in to agree that Lucas Pawpaw Ointment fixes absolutely everything under the sun -- I had a recurring eczma type rash that NOTHING would heal, for years, and then two days on the Lucas stuff and it was gone.
posted by indienial at 7:49 PM on May 30, 2009

« Older Best with a microwave   |   Is this part of having strep, or something else? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.