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Immune system theory to potentially explain EC, plus excellent "healing" results. Long post
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Published: 10 years ago

Immune system theory to potentially explain EC, plus excellent "healing" results. Long post

Hi to all

I just wanted to discuss some research papers I came across in recent times relating to the immune system, that may be relevant to Exfoliative Cheilitis (as it has been termed), and also to mention some really positive results Iíve had in ďhealingĒ the condition.

Firstly, a bit of background information. I first began experiencing problems with the skin on my lips when I was around 14 ( Iím now 31). I began to get badly chapped lips on a continual basis. Iím convinced this was happening as a result of chronic anxiety. They would be dry and rough, and caused discomfort. Then I began to pick them. After that the skin never healed properly, and the Exfoliative Cheilitis condition began.

Like many here, the skin begins to grow and peel off in a one-toĖtwo week cycle, becoming firstly dry, then very scabby and soft. It then becomes white/yellow as the days pass, eventually becoming extremely delicate and falling off. The length of time the cycle of growth/peeling can vary slightly depending on how dry I keep them, whether I avoid rubbing the skin with food or whatever, among other things. I donít have photographs, but having looked at the Image Gallery my condition would be as bad as most.
Anyway, I attended different dermatologists, tried various creams and lip ointments, got a biopsy done, etc, but all to no avail. I then tried some alternative health practitioners, but nothing worked. I essentially gave up trying, apart from now and again looking up stuff online, and for many years just used a natural, organic, lip balm.

Like others who have posted here, I have for quite a while suspected that the immune system has a role to play in the condition. I know I have immune system problems. Firstly, I have type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition where the immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. For the last 5 years Iíve also developed a condition that goes by the name of electrosensitivity/electromagnetic hypersensitivity, whereby I get severe adverse reactions to certain forms of electromagnetic fields, especially wifi, mobile phone masts, among other things. Like exfoliative cheiilitis it is unheard of by most, and dismissed by some as psychological, but believe me it exists, and through a lot of research and discussion with others Iím convinced that immune system has a role to play.

So in recent times Iíve been doing extensive research on the immune system and toxicology, and Iíve come across some stuff that I believe may be relevant to Exfoliative Cheilitis. A couple of papers in particular discuss how the immune system can become dysfunctional, highly sensitized, and can overreact, when the body becomes overburdened with toxic chemicals. These chemicals can take the form of internal biological toxins that may accumulate through chronic stress/anxiety, or from an imbalanced digestive system, or external chemicals such as heavy metals, petrochemicals, synthetic chemicals, or chemical byproducts. And when it becomes overburdened, the immune system undergoes what has been termed ďtoxicant induced loss of toleranceĒ. Essentially the immune system becomes impaired, and highly sensitive to low levels of diverse triggers. Toxicant induced autoimmunity may also play a role, as mentioned in the research (some of which I post below).

So, I would go along with others who have posted on this forum before that the problem is either a result of the immune system becoming highly sensitive to the chemical products/other irritants that the lips/mouth (or even the whole body) are being exposed to and is overacting and removing the toxic chemicals by shedding the skin on the lips. Or, the body has become overburdened with toxic chemicals and it is just using the skin on the lips as another eliminatory avenue for the toxins, again by shedding the skin.

So, having looked at the research, some steps to overcome this type of immune malfunction were given:
1) Avoidance of triggers
2) Biochemical Restoration
3) Elimination of Bioaccumulated toxicant load

So this got me thinking about exfoliative cheilitis and how I could apply what I had read. I then came across how other members on this forum had gained some success by discontinuing the use of chemical products such as toothpaste, deodorants, etc, or even eliminating certain foods. This in effect relates to step 1 above, so I thought Iíd give it a go. And for the first time in roughly 17 years, the skin on my lips have stopped ďcrustingĒ, or whatever you want to call it and has settled down.

So hereís what I did, essentially carrying out step 1, to see if the products Iíve been taking in the past had become toxicant triggers. I firstly stopped using toothpaste, and began using a mixture of 2/3 bicarbonate of soda with 1/3 Seasalt to brush my teeth. I found this formula online; I just bought bread/baking soda (100 % bicarbonate of soda) and fine 100% Sea Salt (already ground) in the local supermarket and each morning and night pour a little Sea Salt into the bicarbonate of soda, dip my toothbrush in, mix it around a little, and form a little bit on the brush. I had stopped using soap many months back and use only water to wash my face. I have a beard, so donít use shaving foam near my mouth. I have been using only a natural shampoo maybe once every two weeks for quite a while now, using water only for most showers. So, Iíve in essence tried to remove any potential irritants that I could. Around the same time I began taking some supplements that I hadnít taken before, such as Chlorella (a green algae thatís meant to be good for detoxification, brand: Optimum Source); resveratrol (an antioxidant, Solgar brand), evening primose oil, a multivitamin (Immunace), Kelp tablets (as an Iodine supplement), and sea vegetables (seaweed, again for iodine) Ė all bought in Ireland, Europe where Iím from. I had previously been taking a propolis tincture ( for immune boost), and continue to do so.

And after only a few weeks the results have been pretty amazing. The skin has stopped crusting over, there is no flaking. The endless cycles of skin growing, flaking, and falling off has ended. There is only very miniscule chapping of skin, but not all of the time. I would put this down to the fact that a) it has only been a few weeks into the process of removing potential irritants; b) I am probably still being exposed to some chemicals, such as fluoride in the water; and c) I am only in the very early stages of step 3 mentioned above, 3) Elimination of Bioaccumulated toxicant load, otherwise known as detoxification.

And it is step 3 that may prove the only way to ďheal/cureĒ this problem if this immune sensitivity/overreaction is indeed what is going on with exfoliative cheilitis. Research has shown that as the burden of toxicants in the body diminishes, the immune over-reaction also diminishes. However, having done quite a bit of research on detoxification methods in recent times, this is easier said than done. Most detox methods you come across online are only flimsy processes, that have minor effects and are usually a waste of money. Serious detoxification can take a long time. A lot can depend on the type of toxicants in the system, how well your eliminatory organs are working, etc. Iíll post some thorough detox info links below.

Now of course I have no way of proving this immune theory, itís only a theory that others have touched on before, but itís worth trying to remove any potential chemical triggers for a few weeks to see what happens. This would include all make-up, health-care products, etc. For some, the trigger may be a food. Some people may be exposed to irritants at work or elsewhere. Itís worth a try.
Also, obviously if some health problem such as chronic stress, digestion problems, parasite/bacteria problems, or any other interior health problem caused the impairment of the immune system and toxic overload, then tackling this health problem is also required, but this is a major task by itself. In the meantime, tackle the toxic overload and potential triggers of the problem.

To finish, in agreement with others, I also think itís vitally important to get enough exposure to sunshine (for vitamin D etc), enough exercise- I jog outdoors roughly twice a week, and swim once a week (helps with detox among other obvious benefits), enough water, and even fresh air.

Hope this helps some people, Iíll call back in future to this forum with any updates of relevance.


Hereís some links:
The paper discussing sensitized immune system, toxicant induced loss of tolerance, sensitivity related illness, etc:

The best scientific overview of removal of toxicants from the body/detox methods:

A non-commercial website with an extensive list of detox methods:


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