DermTV – Perleche: Cracked Corners of Your Mouth [ Epi #156]

Hello, I’m Dr. Neal Schultz [pause] and welcome to DermTV. Itching and burning cracks right at the corners
of the mouth is kind of common, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s called
perléche. Because of the cracks, most people think it’s dry skin,
but it’s not dry skin. It’s actually caused by a yeast infection, and
it’s the same yeast that most women carry in their body and the same yeast
that causes them uncomfortable itching yeast infections. Because this is
caused by a yeast, it is aggravated by moisture, because yeast thrive
in moist areas and closed areas, and this is a perfect set-up because
at the corners of the mouth, the way the lips come together, they cause
a closed area and, if there’s any saliva there, that accounts for additional
moisture. When people get this, invariably they do two things that make
it worse. The first is, because they consider it to be dry because
they see a crack, they put a moisturizer on and, again, moisture makes
the yeast grow even more. Secondly, because it’s uncomfortable, and
it burns, and it really feels peculiar, a lot of people take the tip of
their tongue and they go like this. And they do it to test it, to feel it,
to see, is the problem still there and, interestingly, people do it very
often, a couple of times a minute, it’s just a natural reflex. So how do we cure this problem? The first
thing is obviously stop licking the corners of your mouth. The second is,
get an over-the-counter anti- yeast medicine, such as Lotrimin which has
clotrimazole as the active ingredient which is good to fight yeast. Put
a little bit on the corners of your mouth four to six times a day, just a
very small amount, and then put a little Vaseline or Aquaphor on top so, if
you do accidentally touch it with the tip of your tongue, the Aquaphor
or Vaseline will keep the moisture away from the problem. Give it four
to seven days to cure the problem. If it hasn’t done that by that
period of time, then you should see a dermatologist who will give you a prescription
for an anti-yeast in an ointment vehicle which again will help protect
against additional moisture which aggravates the problem.

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