Gdizzle, thanks for your response. We definitely have a lot in common. We're about the same age, and have had EC for a similar number of years. My EC is "full blown" though, although it's had its up and downs.
One thing I suggest everyone try is Epiceram. Especially in your case, where you leave your lips alone for days here and there. Try only using Epiceram instead of leaving them completely alone. It doesn't provide the same moist barrier as Aquaphor/Vaseline, but I find it's the only thing I can use that actually provides moisture to my lips without irritating them. Also, with then continuous use of Aquaphor, the moist barrier is so "good" that the skin/keratin buildup is softened too much, ironically, and it falls off prematurely thus casing the raw exposed lip underneath. My approach has been a balance of Epiceram and Aquaphor. Use Epiceram until some thin layer of skin has formed, then use Aquaphor to ensure the crusts do not become too thic but they should stay in tact for long as possible. In my opinion, if the skin comes off and your lip is raw/red/painful underneath then you need a shift in strategy. Different techniques will work for different people. Fight the urge the peel your lips when you know it will result in raw exposure.
That's my 2 cents anyway.. I'm still suffering through this, but I think I've at least gained some insight into managing this condition over the years.
I wish Daniel Miller kept his videos online. He has full-blown EC and dedicated years of his life to getting rid of it. He if 100% cured now. He left his lips completely alone for 1-2 years without much noticeable progress. He then started using aquaphor but still did not let the buildup come off unless it was 100% ready. After another year or so of doing this he was 100% cured.
People then say he wasted the first 1-2 years and could have been cured in a year with the moisturizing method. I think that is BS. The first year or two were crucial in my opinion. The buildup become strong, didn't fall off when water hit it. It could survive attached while being fully covered in aquaphor only because he had slowly built up multiple thin layers back in his lips. People like me, however, have lost so many layers that when I moisturize constantly the buildup just falls off when water hits, way before it was ready to fall off. I can confirm, first hand, when I left my lips alone for 3 months, the buildup was less yellow, was much stronger (not thicker, but more attached) and the lips underneath looked NORMAL. After another 7 years of not leaving them alone, I'm back to how they were before. In my opinion, the way to cure this condition is to leave them alone for at least 3 months, and then apply consistent moisturizing barrier like Aquafor until your lips are fully healed.