Q. I had red wet cracks at the corners of my mouth. I began using Mentholatum on my lips every night. That cleared it right up with no recurrence!

A. Laboratory research has shown that camphor and menthol, the active ingredients in Mentholatum, have anti-fungal activity (Phytotherapy Research, April 2003). That may explain why Mentholatum worked against angular cheilitis (cracks at the corners of the mouth). This can be caused by a fungal infection.

Vicks VapoRub has similar ingredients and might work in a similar manner. With either product, take care not to ingest the ointment. They are intended for external use.

You can read more about angular cheilitis here.

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  1. Kak

    While not a formal diagnosis – I believe I have some form of psoriasis on the palms of my hands. I am an esthetician and see many skin conditions.
    I have used metholatum ointment on it and has worked fabulously to clear the symptoms (scaly, cracked)

  2. T.L.A.V.

    My very large and extended family have used Mentholatum for EVERYTHING. It is an awesome little secret for aches, pains, wounds, sore throats (rubbed on the external part of your neck with a cloth tied loosely around the neck). We use it for everything.

  3. MV

    I tried many lip soothers, sticks, and balms, for months to heal chapped, cracked lips. I even got a prescription for Duke’s Magical Mouthwash, nothing completely healed my lip. I read your newspaper article about Mentholatum ointment and I tried it on my cracked, chapped, sore lower lip for about a week. It healed it and the lip looks and feels normal. Thank you for great advice.

  4. RC1956

    My favorite thing for the cracked corners of my mouth and the cracked fingertips was a lip balm from the Body Shop with hemp oil as well as the other balm ingredients. Neutrogena also had a honey healing balm in a tub but I can’t find it either.

  5. Tony D

    Would this be worth a try with psoriasis?

  6. Joyce H.

    Cracks in the corner of the mouth can be the result of lack of vitamin B as well. I would suggest that you have your doctor check your blood for this, it is a simple test. Many elderly people are low in B vitamins.

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