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Can Mold Cause Chapped Lips?

by Amanda Demsky
chapped lips

One of the most overlooked signs of a fungal infection—mold or Candida yeast—is chapped lips.


Why Are Chapped Lips Not Recognized as Symptoms of Mold Infection?

The biggest reason chapped lips aren’t recognized as a symptom of fungal infection is because mold and yeast infections will often plague a person within the same seasons that chapped lips are common. A person is more likely to develop a mold or Candida infection during the seasons that the weather compels them to stay indoors more often. This is because household mold infestations are least likely to be addressed in the colder and wetter seasons due to the high humidity, little exposure to light and fresh, circulating air, and the tendency for the inhabitant to raise the interior temperature of the home to a level that only encourages and proliferates mold growth.

Another connection that many don’t seem to make is that the colder, wetter seasons that chapped lips are often associated with are also the very seasons that people ingest more comfort foods and sweets, which has the potential to throw off the fragile balance of the bacteria of the skin and within the mouth and gut, which is an essential component of the immune system.

How to Tell if Chapped Lips Are Caused by Fungus

The obvious answer is if you know you have a fungal infection already, or you have a very serious mold infestation in your home or work environment. Your lips won’t just chap for a day or a few hours. It will be a chronic issue or a recurring issue that doesn’t seem to heal completely, even if there is some improvement.

A little-known catalyst to fungal infection of the lips and mouth is improper denture hygiene and poorly-fitted dentures.

The look and experience of a fungal infection of the lips won’t resemble anything commonly associated with weather wear. Instead, you’ll develop deep red cracks, especially in the corners of the mouth, that resemble paper cuts—and feel like them! These cracks are known as angular cheilitis.

Other symptoms that accompany fungal angular cheilitis:

• Dryness
• Edema (swelling)
• Redness
• Scaling or fissuring
• Tenderness
• Peeling
• Itching and burning sensation

The fungal infection won’t just affect the lips themselves and the corners of the mouth, but the skin surrounding the lips will also develop a rash if the condition persists long enough. In addition, as the lips heal, they will appear to scar or exhibit a tissue-papery texture, oftentimes with a sheen or shiny appearance. This is not a sign that the infection has cleared up. It is merely a superficial and temporary healing. The chances of the infection flaring up again during this time are still very high.

Fungal infections of the lips are worsened by the infected saliva within the mouth. This is why the chapped lips will only be exacerbated if you moisten them with your tongue.

How to Heal Fungal Infections of the Mouth and Lips

If you experience anything beyond the average dry, peeling symptoms of chapped lips, you may want to make a quick adjustment to your diet until symptoms subside. The solution could be as simple as avoiding sugar for a few days or using a plant-based topical ointment.

Anti-Fungal Diet

In many cases, a sufferer is already experiencing nutritional deficiencies that affect the delicate balance of dermal and gut flora (beneficial bacteria along the skin, in the mouth, and throughout the digestive tract). This is most likely the reason there arose a fungal overgrowth to begin with. Because of this, great care should be taken in the selection of nourishment, as the body needs low-sugar, nutrient-dense meals to help protect and rebuild the flora, as well as avoid further aggravating the issue.

MoldBlogger has several articles that can help you start an anti-fungal diet. Here is a list of just a few:

Anti-Fungal Diet to Help Cure a Yeast Infection
How to Treat Candida Overgrowth Naturally in Six Steps
Foods to Eat When You Have Mold or Yeast in Your Body

Anti-Fungal Topical Solutions

While you address your diet, you’ll want some immediate relief from the symptoms themselves. This is best done with anti-fungal topical creams or ointments, as opposed to regular chap stick or Vaseline.

While most may direct you to purchase an over-the-counter ointment, such as Lotrimin, two of the very best topical solutions might already be in your kitchen pantry.

Apple Cider Vinegar (with the “mother”) and Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil are a power couple in the topical healing of fungal infections of the mouth and lips. The apple cider vinegar is used as a rinse on the lips to help kill off harmful bacteria and introduce healthy bacteria while the coconut oil not only doubles as a disinfectant, but also introduces moisturizing and analgesic (pain relieving) effects.

When applying the apple cider vinegar, keep in mind it will sting intensely, and that sting may linger for several seconds or longer. Do not rinse with water, but pat dry your lips with a clean fabric or paper towel. Next, apply the coconut oil liberally and massage the lips, especially any cracks in the corners of the mouth. The goal is to not only spread the oil evenly, but also encourage blood flow to the affected areas. If your lips swell slightly as a consequence or appear more red in color after applying these solutions and the massage, this is completely normal and will subside shortly.


Feel free to repeat the application of the apple cider vinegar twice a day until the cracks close entirely. The coconut oil can be applied as frequently as needed, but an application just prior to bedtime is crucial. Gentle exfoliation once a day or every other day is also essential to fast recovery (even if it doesn’t feel good).

Please do not use coconut oil if you have had bad reactions in the past. Instead, try any of the following naturally anti-fungal, pantry-based solutions:

• avocado oil
• beeswax (highly recommend)
• olive oil
• raw honey
• shea butter

Summary & Conclusion

The main difference between regular chapped lips and a fungal infection is the deep cracks in the corners of the mouth. Unless an injury caused cuts, this is a very specific symptom to oral fungal infections.

While a fungal infection may come on slowly and masquerade as a bad case of chapped lips for a week or longer, you can easily knock it out within three days if you address it quickly with a potent anti-fungal ointment and adjustment to your diet. Most people will see an improvement after just the first night. They wake up to discover that the angular cheilitis cracks have healed shut and the severity of the tenderness has decreased.

Because a skin infection is oftentimes the last alarm of a bigger internal problem, those who have developed fungal infections of the mouth (especially more than once) should consider investing in probiotics to help boost the strength of their gut flora so that it doesn’t happen again.

To help in your search for the right probiotic to form a defense again infection in the future, please read Five Questions to Ask When Choosing a Probiotic for Candida Overgrowth.

For more information regarding mold, mold prevention, and mold solutions, please check out the rest of MoldBlogger.com.

Article by Amanda Demsky from the MoldBlogger team.

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