With so much stress in our lives, cold sores on the lips (and in the mouth) are commonplace. But sometimes a cold sore may be something else. If you've ever had cold sores that didn't respond to medication designed to treat them, it might be angular cheilitis, a completely different medical condition that looks surprisingly similar. The good news is that angular cheilitis is usually easy to treat, perhaps even easier that cold sores.
Angular cheilitis may mimic cold sores, but there are specific signs you can look for to tell them apart.
1. Angular cheilitis usually begins as a patch of dry, irritated or cracked skin at one or both corners of the lips. It can persist for years, if left untreated.
2. Cold sores typically begin as an itchy or painful area that turns into one or a group of small, painful blisters. Over a 7-10 day time period, they may weep, scab over, and then finally heal. They can be found anywhere on the soft tissues of the mouth, intraorally and extraorally.
3. Angular cheilitis originates from a yeast or staph infection, vitamin deficiencies or poor fitting dentures.
4. Cold sores are a contagious viral outbreak, usually manifesting when you are under stress or have a weakened immune system.
A cure for either one of these conditions is simple and quick once we know the cause. Nutritional support with a painless laser treatment is usually the easiest way to treat these and to prevent recurrence. Knowing which one you have can make all the difference in the outcome. Always best to see your health provider for a proper diagnosis and plan of action.