I have posted here before but not with a full story and details of everything I've tried. I thought I'll share it all with you when my lips heal completely, but I'm getting nowhere so I'll share everything here and now.
My EC started a long time ago. I don't remember when exactly because I used to bite the skin off my lips, which was probably EC calluses in the first place (yuck!). My EC is because I used to bite and pick on my lips and then unknowingly use expired lip products on them. I was never aware that the stores in my country sell expired makeup until recently. Since then, I stopped using expired stuff and go to http://www.checkcosmetic.com
to check the expiry date of products before purchasing. I have stopped biting and picking my lips and haven't done so for about three and a half months.
I don't think I need to describe the condition, it's all the same - lips crust over and peel, revealing raw skin, and the cycle repeats. Most horrid skin disease ever, since we do so much with our lips. I had eczema on my feet before but that's gone now because I stopped wearing socks or keeping them wet. The EC, however, is just unbearable, especially because I'm a girl. Everyone and their mom point out to me I have something wrong with my lips and should use Vaseline. I just nod. It's so annoying!
To top it all off, I'm a lip gloss fanatic and love lip gloss TO DEATH. The sad part is, I can't use it because of my EC! I just pray and pray for the day it goes away!
I have tried all sorts of treatments, but only one has shown progress so far - leaving the lips alone and trimming off loose hanging calluses. When I go outside I put on some petroleum jelly to avoid questions. I'm also taking Vitamin B Complex and Evening Primrose Oil supplements, but these seem to have no effect on my lips. After following this method (also previously suggested by monsterlip and others), I noticed the portion affected by EC was smaller. Otherwise when my lips crust, they crust entirely, leaving no normal lip skin around.
I have tried brushing my lips to remove calluses, topically applying toothpaste (to kill germs), eye drops (to kill bacteria), various lip balms and even soap, none of which have made the condition better. I have also changed my diet and stopped breathing through my mouth, to no avail. I've just stopped any other treatment and am just hoping the "leave 'em be" method works.
What are you trying? What has and hasn't worked for you? Please share!
I was where you are three years ago, using Aquaphor (white petrolatum), scrubbbing my lips frequently, and taking a few supplements that gave others success. I also attempted to apply grapefruit seed extract at the time. I believe all of these, possibly in conjunction with a continued poor diet and severe depression, made my condition worse.
I have outlined my current regimen on a wiki I created for our condition. Just click on my photo to find the link. The long and the short of it is that I apply nothing now, and am mainly focused on my physical and mental health. If you have money, get tested for allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, etc. Don't accept whatever prescription you are given without doing your own research. Otherwise, you might end up applying a carcinogenic cream like Protopic or a skin-thinning steroid on your lips. Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to take a step forward though.
One thing is for sure, no one beat this by continuing to pick and bite their lips, so good on you!
A dermatologist told me the carcinogenecity of Protopic is virtually neglegible, unless you walk out in the sun all day. Patients with other skin conditions apply it to much larger parts of their body and they mentioned to have never had a patient showing significant signs of cellular transformation into tumor cells.
However, I agree that the low additional benefit and potential risk is not worth it.
I keep trying to do nothing to and put nothing on my lips, but I get so self-conscious! I let the calluses stay for about a week this time, but wet them and forcefully peeled them off today because they looked so ugly! Whoever says this should be done when away from other people was SO right!
Good points both. As for Protopic, because of its application on a mucous membrane and potential for accidental ingestion, I personally will never take that risk, but everyone has to gauge the risks they're willing to take while they experiment. If I took that risk, I would make sure that was the only experiment I was trying, and I would wait a while after discontinuing it before doing anything else, so that it would be clear one way or the other if the effect was beneficial or detrimental.
As for leaving the crust on, my recommendation is when people ask about it, or tell you to use chapstick, you can reply honestly, and say "I have chronic dry lips, chapstick is useless/makes it worse." Most people let it go at that. We ought to do our part to dispell the myth of chapstick being a long-term solution. Also, I think unless you have an infection, leaving the dead skin on protects the skin underneath from environmental aggravators which might lead to infection. But microorganisms might be feeding on the dead skin as well. It could be a fine line.
You certainly don't have to say how agonizing it is for you or that it is potentially incurable, just be matter-of-fact and act like it's no big deal. I rarely have to say anything anymore, it's mostly kids who are right up in my face who notice and say something. I just say "thanks, I know," or "yeah, I have dry skin/lips." In the grand scheme of things, it isn't a big deal. We are actually very fortunate.
I also had a bad experience with a product very similar to Protopic. This product is Elidel. I used it for one week and it seemed to cause a notable increase in the amount and frequency of the peeling. I strongly discourage anyone from using such medications. I even more strongly encourage the leave them alone strategy short of careful trimming of the edges. Let the body and mother nature take care of the healing if if it takes a long time, which it most likely will. Hang in there!