So after around a year of this bizarre and horrible affliction I can start to see light at the end of the tunnel as my previously raw area of the lips are now quite built up with layers of skin and I have no inflamation, pain, dryness just simply slight aesthetic issues as I still get slight crusts as the lips continue to heal aswell as white lines when wet at the border between the previously raw area and the area that has always been fine.
Here is a picture I have just taken
Unfortunately I do not have a before or during picture, I did take some but they were so disgusting to look at I just deleted them straight away as I didnt want to be reminded.
Anyway I now have huge knowledge about this subject that I would like to pass on. Who knows, in 10 years time some one could be googling desperately for a solution and an explanation for what is going on with their lips and may find this post and it may help. I hope so at least.
Personally I got this after taking a course of accutane and during that time I applied all sorts of lip creams to try and ease the dryness. It was ridiculous really, I would apply glycerin then blistex then on top of that nivea moisturiser. This is obviously just killing the lips but at the time I thought I was doing them good. Anyway, we live and learn. Obviously I am now off the accutane and havent touched lip balms for months. This was my 'initial cause' and once I eliminated the cause and let my lips rest I have witnessed continuous progress from then till now. I would say it has been around 6 months of letting my lips rest at every opportunity. Yes it has affected my social life and hasnt been easy but id rather do this properly now rather than ignore it and have this for life.
There are three important and crucial points you must realise:
1) You MUST avoid exfoliating or picking off crusts/white areas/loose skin etc at all costs. When I was working all the time and had no time to leave my lips alone I had to clean my lips of this stuff every morning and apply lip balm and my lips simply remained really bad. These crusts and white bits are simply new layers of skin and protection for them. If you rub them off then new layers of skin will never build and your lips will never repair themselves.
2) FORGET finding a 'miracle cure'. No creams, solutions, tablets, supplements etc etc will fix you overnight. Your layers of skin have disappeared and simply need to rebuild. They need time and rest, simple as that. Infact the best thing you can do is to put NOTHING on your lips at all. If you are going out and need to try and make the crusts etc less obvious then use a natural oil such as castor oil.
3) A healthy lifestyle is vital, USE THIS AS A POSITIVE. If you smoke, drink heavily or eat crap use this as your opportunity to change. To help your lips heal as quick as possible (its not going to be quick even if you live like a monk but it WILL help) then you should eat reasonably healthy, dont smoke and try to cut your alcohol intake right down. Dont worry or stress too much about it but try your best. The layers you have built up when resting will not disappear again if you have a night out etc so once a week enjoy yourself and relax but just not every night or your lips will never have time to heal.
Basically exfoliative chelitis is NOT a disease or incurable. It is simply a case of the layers of skin on your lips being picked away for whatever reason and they need to rebuild like any wound that usually scabs over and repairs. Because it is in a difficult place it is hard but you have to try and leave it and that could mean putting your life on hold for a while but the alternative is to have this for life. Your choice. You need to find your initial cause (lip balms, picking etc etc) and remove them. Then once you have done this you need to give your lips every opportunity to heal. Drink through a straw, wash hair in bath instead of shower to avoid your lips getting wet etc etc.
Feel free to ask any questions and I will keep you updated but like I say I have seen constant improvement for months now every time I leave my lips alone and dont exfoliate or touch the new skin or crusts for as long as possible.