>Also, I’ve always held that whatever we have is not caused by stress, but it does >seem that stress can affect our condition. It seems like so many different things >change our peeling cycles in some manner, which would make sense with an autoimmune >condition (anything that would stress/boost our immune system could alter the >peeling).
Yes, stress plays a role. EC can occur from infections, which would be easier to take hold with suppressed immunity. And stress weakens the immune system as excess cortisol release will atrophy the thymus and adrenal glands, which both play major roles in immunity. Chronic stress can also lead to hypothyroidism, which has also been linked to EC.
Autoimmune disorders though result from immune suppression, not hyperactivity as is commonly believed. It is the suppression of the adrenal glands that lead to the over production of low affinity (nonspecific) antibodies that tag healthy tissues for destruction. The rest of the immune system does its job just as it is supposed to. This is also why immune suppressants, such as stress, stimulants and steroids actually make autoimmune conditions worse.
>Finally, I went to the doctors the other day and had some blood taken, in order to >get my thyroid hormone levels checked. I’m not completely sure why, but it just >seemed like something that might in some way be related, and at the very least >it’ll prove interesting.
Yes, thyroid dysfunction has been linked to EC. This is likely due to the fact that hypothyroidism increases levels of inflammatory homocysteine, and EC is an inflammatory condition.
Here is some things I wrote previosuly on EC:
Yes, Candida can be one cause, but it can also be from staph, which could account for not having the other symptoms of Candida. The same applies to hypothyroidism, which can also lead to the problem.
Stress does suppress immune function, primarily through the release of cortisol, which can atrophy the thymus gland pretty quick. Chronic stress also atrophies the adrenal glands, which can also decrease immune function. Another immune factor is the decline of intestinal flora from chronic stress, which is a major factor for proper immune function. Chronic stress can also lead to hypothyroidism by decreasing T4 to T3 conversion from adrenal dysfunction, and by elevating rT3 levels, which interferes with the activity of T3.
I posted this before on the subject, but since it has been pushed back a ways I will post it again for those that may not have seen it:
First of all several forms of cheilitis involve infection, primarily from Candida or staph. Thyme essential oil is one of the best antifungals available, and it kills bacteria as well. You can dilute the thyme essential oil in some coconut oil, which is also antifungal to make an antiseptic lip oil. I would add 30 to 40 drops of the thyme essential oil to one ounce of coconut oil, and apply it to the lips throughout the day.
Dry mouth can aggravate the problem. So stay hydrated by drinking plenty of spring water throughout the day. Not Alkaline Water
since Candida thrives in an alkaline environment. And not distilled or reverse osmosis water since these can rob the body of vitamins and minerals. Alkaline Waters
also neutralize stomach acid, which interferes with the absorption of some B vitamins, which you will need. So go with spring water, or add some mineral drops to purified waters to saturate them before drinking. Also make sure you are not taking any medications that can dry the mouth out like antihistamines.
Hypothyroidism has been linked as a possible contributing cause of exfoliative cheilitis. To rule this out you can do your basal body temperature, which is a more accurate way to determine hypothyroidism than lab tests. Instructions can be easily found on the net. Make sure to get at least a weeks worth of readings before you get up in the morning and average them out. If you are hypothyroid then that will have to addressed separately as there are numerous factors that can cause hypothyroidism.
Don't bite or lick your lips. These actions will only make things worse.
Lack of B vitamins or anemia can also aggravate the condition. Taking a B complex twice a day will help keep vitamin B levels up. If you are anemic then the form of anemia needs to be determined. There are quite a few forms of anemia, and they are addressed differently.
Stress can also affect this problem, as it also involves a chronic superficial inflammation. Chronic inflammation can result from adrenal gland dysfunction, which lowers levels of anti-inflammatory adrenocorticosteroids. Stress weakens the adrenals leading to lowered levels of these steroids. Stimulants like caffeine and nicotine will also weaken the adrenals, so these should be avoided as well. To build up the adrenals focus on vitamin C and the B vitamin pantothenic acid. Vitamin C is best in a natural form like amla, acerola cherry, kiwis, strawberries, blueberries, etc. The synthetic stuff normally sold in stores is very unstable and not as strong as natural sources. Natural sources also contain the bioflavonoids needed for vitamin C to work properly. There are also various herbs you can take to help support the adrenals. The ones I highly recommend are licorice root (also a steroidal anti-inflammatory), schisandra berry, ashwagandha, and nettle leaf.
Keeping your flora healthy would also be a good idea since exfoliative cheilitis can be caused from Candida. The best way to do this is with probiotics and prebiotics. For probiotics I recommend kefir, which is much stronger than yogurt. Fiber is also important since this is what the flora feed on. Good choices are fruits and vegetables, rice bran and FOS (fructooligosaccharides). Yucca root is also a good choice as it is antifungal and a steroidal anti-inflammatory. It also helps to make a more suitable environment for the growth of the intestinal flora.