Types of Cheilitis: How to Triggers, Treat and More

Lips are the most important visible body organ of the human. But, there are several lips conditions (types of cheilitis) we face all over the years. These lip conditions can cause Flaky dead cells, itchy rashes, cracked lip skins, Blister, and inflammation upper & lower vermilion border, inside & outside vermilion, procheilon, or corners of the lips. The most common cause of this inflammation could be cheilitis. So, if you suffer from all these problems then it could be a medical problem.

What is Cheilitis?

Cheilitis – also called cheilosis – is a painful inflammation of the lips. However, this inflammation usually occurs on both sides of the lips. But sometimes it affects only one side of the lips, the labial mucosa, and/or the vermillion border. It is one of the primary lip fungal infections or can say bacterial infections on the lips. Cheilitis is different from glossitis, which is an inflammation of the tongue. Generally, most cheilosis causes are exogenous.

Chapped or cracked lips usually characterize as cheilitis. Initially, what starts as a patch of dry, flaky, cracked skin eventually inflames one or both corners of the mouth with multiple fissures. Thus this inflammation leads to bleeding and treatment.

What Causes Cheilitis on Lips?

types of cheilitis

Case Scenario one:

Jerry Smith, a 45-year-old man, goes to a dental clinic. He has reported a 7-month history of chronic lip swelling. It has painful symptoms in his lower lip, which he described as a dry, burning sensation. As well as he has been experiencing intermittent development of ulcers over the lips. A painful instance of erosion, crusting, and cracking is notable in Smith’s case. Additionally, Jerry has a tendency to lick the lip to retain hydration.


Several screening procedures reveal that Jerry Smith (45) has been suffering from Common Cheilitis.  

So, now we know on, dryness and severe sun exposure are the most common types of cheilitis. Also, people who are always licking and rubbing the corners of their mouth habits, ill-fitting dentures are likely to develop cheilitis due to this fact.

How Long Does Cheilitis Take to Healing?

Actually, the healing period depends on the determination of underlying causes. After that, healing doesn’t take longer than a few days.


Types of Cheilitis

The type of cheilitis varies as per the causes of cheilitis. The most common causes why your lips are flaky, inflamed, cracked, and blister are given below

01. Angular Cheilitis

Angular cheilitis affects one or both corners of the mouth. Most commonly, it affects elders who suffer the loss of teeth and wear teeth. This condition may last from a few days to several weeks, depending on the underlying causes.

angular cheilitis
  • Flaky and cracked lips,
  • Itchy in the angles of the lips,
  • Fever Blister,
  • Inflammations and irritation.

How to Cure Angular Cheilitis

  1. Scrub your lips at least twice a week. Do this before going to bed.
  2. Apply mix oil remedy. (get information from another article about Angular Cheilitis Causes.)
  3. Most importantly, hydrate your lips by drinking plenty of water
  4. Use a homemade chemical-free quality lip balm with vitamin E (get instruction from our article on How to make lip balm at home.)


02. Granulomatous Cheilitis

This type of cheilitis is also known as cheilitis-granulomatous. It causes continuous enlargement of lips. This belongs to the variety of orofacial granulomatosis. The obstruction of the lymphatic drainage is responsible for this condition.

  • Sudden swelling of the upper lip
  • Swelling spreading across the lower lip, the forehead, or the cheeks
  • Headache, fever, and visual obstruction
  • Fissured tongue
  • Relating to Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome

Granulomatous Cheilitis Curing

  • Corticosteroids to reduce the facial swelling
  • Anti-inflammatory antibiotics
  • Clofazimine


03. Crohn’s Skin Disease

Crohn’s disease causes inflammation of the small intestine. Generally, it’s an inflammatory bowel disease. Constipation, diarrhea, pain, fever, and weight loss are most common with Crohn’s disease patients. Besides this disease could affect skins and also cause inflammation in the mouth, lips, and eyes too.

Skin Complications of Crohn’s Disease
mouth ulcer

Skin complications are an extra-intestinal manifestation of Crohn’s disease. Common skin conditions related to Crohn’s disease are:

  • Erythema nodosum
  • Pyoderma gangrenosum
  • Aphthous stomatitis

Crohn’s Skin Disease Cure

  1. Oral corticosteroids
  2. Intralesional steroids
  3. Antibiotics


04. Actinic Cheilitis

Long-term exposure to sunlight causes this type of cheilitis. Actinic cheilitis usually affects the lower lip. The affected lip becomes dry, wrinkled, and scaling. The lip looks grey-white in appearance. Basically, field workers and farmers are facing this problem more than others. It’s also known as Solar Cheilitis.

actinic cheilitis
  • Red or white lesions on the lower lip
  • Grey-white color with chronic lesions
  • Whitish discoloration at the border of the lip

Actinic Cheilitis Cure

  1. Imiquimod
  2. 5-fluorouracil
  3. Laser ablation
  4. Cryotherapy


05. Exfoliative Cheilitis

This type of cheilitis rather affects the vermilion zone of the lips. The affected zone becomes painful and crusted. Exfoliative cheilitis is linked to AIDS symptoms.

exfoliative cheilitis
  • Inflamed vermilion zone
  • Continuous peeling of the vermilion

Exfoliative Cheilitis Cure

  1. Applying Keratolytic lip balms
  2. Using Anti-fungal.
  3. Taking topical steroids


06. Glandular Cheilitis

Glandular cheilitis – also known as the cheilitis glandular is – usually affects the lower lip. this condition associated with the minor salivary glands. Poor oral hygiene, tobacco, syphilis, etc. are responsible for this condition.

glandular cheilitis
  • The affected lip appears swollen and everted.
  • Crusting, ulceration, sinus tracts

Glandular Cheilitis Cure

  1. Vermilionectomy (“lip shave”)


07. Lichenoid Cheilitis

This condition always affects patients with lichen planus. However, this is less common than any other type of cheilitis. Lichenoid cheilitis is usually associated with oral lesions.

lichenoid cheilitis
  • The skin around the affected lip appears whitish
  • Plaque-like appearance on the oral cavity and inner lining of the lips

Lichenoid Cheilitis Cure

  1. Sun protection
  2. Topical hydrocortisone
  3. Vaseline lip therapy

If you don’t think you have cheilitis but are struggling with cracking on the corners and lips. Then you may want to check out for other disorders.

What are the first signs of lip cancer?

If you have developed the signs of lip cancer, don’t freak out. Because proper treatment cures lip cancer. The early signs are – you have been struggling with persistent sore, lesions, and ulcers on the lips. And, you developed a white or red patch on the lip.


Now you know not only the reasons & causes but also know how to cure some types of cheilitis. If you regularly struggle with cracked corners of the mouth, then it may be time to receive treatment surely for cheilitis. So, it can be said undoubtedly that proper treatment heals cheilitis fast and easily. Finally, you deserve to smile again comfortably.

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