This is day 10 of Protopic 0.1% for me. I've been monitoring my progress by photographing my lips daily. My bottom lip improved considerably in the first 10 days. Grooves were appearing where there was recently nothing but either crust or raw lip. The skin on the top lip was holding on quite well, although it still had the yellowish border between where it usually crusts and the healthier part of the lip. Although I have been experiencing light shedding along the way, Protopic clearly does have effective anti-inflammatory properties.
The Protopic made my lips tingle over the first several days, however it was no worse than the feeling after a raw peel. At least it enabled me to stop licking and biting my damn lips. (I'm not the type of person who can walk around with crusts, raw lips is ever so slightly preferable.) Today I could feel that the growing top layer of my lips was feeling a bit looser despite how effective Protopic had been in keeping it on thus far. After I had a dinner of chicken and steamed vegetables with coconut oil, the lips were definitely ready to peel. The fact that coconut oil encourages the peeling is notable to me, given the anti-fungal properties of coconut oil. The peel has revealed a -slightly- less raw lip underneath. It hurts about half as bad as my last peel.
To me the Seborrheic Dermatitis link is very intriguing, as I have it around my nose and on my scalp (dandruff). The derm's prescription of hydrocortisone powder in a ketoderm cream has cleared it up rapidly. I really wouldn't be surprised if my exfoliative cheilitis was caused by unconsciously biting dry winter lips, which then became susceptible to the Seborrheic Dermatitis infection of my scalp and face by sweat. Although of course the initial cause of the SD must also be considered - most likely internal, caused by poor diet, genetics (dad and uncle have SD) and an abundance of stress. I have suspected a hormonal disorder as well, although the last doctor I saw refused a hormone test - he was only aware of two hormones in the body and didn't think they tested estrogen levels in males... -facepalm- Thankfully my regular doctor is returning soon, though I presume I will be put on a waiting list for an endocrinologist.
Anyway, I will continue with Protopic for now but I will be asking my doctor about adding an anti-fungal to the regiment.