Scarring on lips?
June 25, 2013 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Sometime last winter, I developed cracks at the corners of my lips (angular chelitis), which tends to happen to me during the colder months. It persisted for 3 months or so, healing and then re-cracking, until I went to the doctor and got a bit of steroid cream which helped clear it up for good. Now, however, I have a small amount of raised tissue at one of the corners of my lips, possibly scarring, which periodically gets inflamed if I open my mouth wide again. It's not terribly bothersome, but it's noticeable (at least to me) and I'd like it to go away or be minimized, if possible. Anyone have any suggestions for what to try? FWIW, it's been 3-4 weeks since my lips have fully healed.
posted by decoherence to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I had the same thing and narrowed it down to a likely Vitamin B deficiency. (This was not out of the question, as I was working on a boat all summer and was eating nothing but bagels and PB&J sandwiches). After I figured this out I went out for a dinner of leafy vegetables and nice liver-ful pate, started taking a multivitamin, and found myself cleared up within days.

Have to admit, working on the boat, I was a little disappointed that it wasn't scurvy.
posted by olinerd at 10:28 AM on June 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

This happened to me recently (though I think it was related to the peri-oral dermatitis I was just diagnosed with--it's more common with women, but maybe keep an eye on any other weird skin flare-ups in that area, particularly because you used a topical steroid). I got the cracking to heal up by carrying around a tube of Vaseline and applying it religiously throughout the day (even after I thought it had healed, I still did this for a few more days to err on the side of caution).

I also was careful about what I ate/how I ate it, taking care to avoid things that would require me to open my mouth too wide and aggravate the issue. So you may want to give up on things like sandwiches, burgers, burritos, etc. (unless you want to cut them up into small pieces) till you get this totally taken care of...
posted by lovableiago at 10:39 AM on June 25, 2013

It might just be inflammation that will go down eventually. I used to get those cracks every winter, too, and I remember having white raised "scars" in the corners of my mouth for a while after, too, but I don't have them now at all. (It's been many years since I've had cracked lips, though.)

I would keep the area moist and supple with some kind of gentle, medicine-free lip balm, and like loveableiago, stay away from the stacked club sandwiches for a while. The skin is likely still healing and of course one of the ironic side effects of topical steroids is that they make your skin thinner and more fragile, so I think you really want to prevent re-tearing as much as possible to prevent a vicious cycle.
posted by looli at 10:57 AM on June 25, 2013

I second the B Vitamin possibility. My ex-wife was a dietitian at a hospital and recommended that to one of the kitchen employees with which she worked. That employee was eternally grateful for that 'miracle cure'.
posted by DandyRandy at 11:35 AM on June 25, 2013

I've had it repeatedly over the past few years. In my case it's initially caused by severe anemia and if I don't improve my iron levels ASAP then I often end up with a fungal infection that makes the cracking and inflammation worse. I made a salve that has shea butter and tea tree oil in it that seems to help a lot, but anything with a fungicide will do (like clotrimazole). So give that a shot if just moisturizing doesn't seem to fix it completely.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:35 PM on June 25, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips. Please note, my lips are not still cracked - the problem is gone for now. Instead, what I have now is what looks like a bit or residual scarring in the areas that had been cracking over the past several months in the form of a few small raised, white bumps, and I'm mostly concerned at the moment with how to reduce it (though the tips on getting rid of the cracking are helpful the next time this comes around!).
posted by decoherence at 12:42 PM on June 25, 2013

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