I'm also a 20 year old female that has had this condition since I was like 15. Honestly, nothing has really helped me and I've tried everything. Steroids, sun, all sorts of medicated creams, lip balms, dermatologists. I even went to mayo clinic to see if they had an answer but they didn't, they wanted to do a biopsy on me but the thing is I've already had like 2 biopsies done with no results. Honestly I think my mental health has suffered a lot, if not the most. I was never really conventionally attractive, but now I feel disgusting. The fact that this condition is so rare, no one knows what it is, people just think I don't take care of myself or moisturize my lips but it's not that.
I just have this dumb-ass condition that I don't even know how it started. THE ONLY THING, that MAYBE, helped me, was dietary changes. I went to an eastern medicine doctor in which she prescribed a lot of dietary changes such as no diary, no seafood, no wheat, no gluten, no sugar, no fried foods. Basically just the healthiest diet imaginable. EVEN WITH THIS DIET, I saw minimal, if any improvement. And I followed it strictly for 3 months, and loosely for 3 months as well.
It should be mentioned that I also have eczema.I started getting EC after I peeled my lips when they started getting chapped one Winter. It was because I was self-conscious but honestly, I wish I had never started peeling them in the first place. I THINK the only way for me personally to get healed, is to let my body do it itself. NO LIP BALMS, LEAVE ALONE, HEALTHY DIET, EXERCISE, NO FORCIBLE PEELING. This is the only thing that I think will work, but even so I'm not exactly sure. I'm scared. I'm scared of being judged. But I'm more scared of living the rest of my life like this. It's my youth, and I have felt it slipping away from my fingers as the days pass by.
I'm so scared of never healing. I'm scared that I will make no friends. I'm scared that I will never be able to smile naturally again. I don't know where to go from here and I honestly feel very close to giving up. DM me if anyone else just needs someone to chat to about these things. I don't know where to go from here :(