Gross Bodily Functions
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Dry cracked corners of the mouth: This is really common and can be really uncomfortable. Patients will describe it as though they go to open their mouth to yawn and the corners of their mouth just crack or feel really sore! “Mouth breathers” sleep with their mouth a little open at night. Their saliva builds up at the corners of their mouth and can start to break down this delicate skin. If this goes on long enough, a yeast infection can develop called perleche. The keep to preventing this is anticipating the problem. If you are mouth breather, try applying Vaseline or Aquaphor to the corners of your mouth before bedtime. This can serve as a barrier to protect your skin from breaking down and getting irritated.
“Eye boogers”; Sometimes an accumulation of tears, mucus, and dead skin cells can build up along the eyelids and make them feel ‘crusty’ in the morning. Washing your face with a gentle cleanser or no more tears baby shampoo can help remove this.
“Greasy skin”: At night our oil glands can be active and leave a layer of “grease” on our skin first thing in the morning. Sometimes patients will even complain that their eyes “burn” if they don’t wash their face! Another condition that can present the same way is something called seborrhea. It helps to stick with gentle cleansers and not overly harsh or abrasive ones at night. Sulfa based cleansers can also reduce the tendency towards the oil buildup.