In mid-December, I figured out that my cheilitis was being caused by at least 2 things, AHAs in my face products, and Boots antibacterial cream with tea tree oil. When I began to avoid them, my lips got much better and were healing up nicely.
Then, in late December I accidentally used the AHA lotion one day, and the cheilitis came back with a vengeance. I made sure to avoid it after that, and my lips began to get better again, although the healing was about twice as slow as before. This slower healing may have been due to the extreme weather we were having around then and the severely dry air in the indoors spaces I was in.
Several weeks went by, with slow and steady progress. In about 5 weeks total, my bottom lip went from being 80% covered with cheilitis (exfoliating every day), to about 15% covered with cheilitis (exfoliating about every 3 days).
That was the state of affairs until a couple of days ago, when my lower lip began experiencing renewed dryness and exfoliation, and things really seemed to flare up, but I didn't know why. There was one point about 2 days ago when my lower lip seemed really, really bad, which is so disappointing when things were nearly completely healed before that.
I have a lot of allergies and intolerances, so I knew that it could be anything in my environment that had set my lips off. Once you are sensitive to something or have a vulnerability in a location, more things can start to bother you.
That's when I ordered some of the acidophilus liquid, thinking that I would add that to my lip-treatment arsenal. (It arrived tonight in the post and is still sitting on my desk in its cardboard box, so I haven't tried it yet.)
However, yesterday and today, thankfully my lips have rapidly gotten better with my usual, simple lip-treatment (liquid soap wash and glycerin, 4 to 5 times a day), so the flare-up was obviously due to something that I had had momentary contact with and am no longer in contact with.
And now I have solved the mystery of why my cheilitis suddenly flared up a few days ago: I found out that 4 nights ago, right before I tucked her into bed, my elderly relative had applied the Boots antibacterial cream to her hands, neck and face (this is the same cream that I discovered in December gives me cheilitis). I didn't know that she had slathered it on her skin, and I hugged and kissed her goodnight! I even kissed her an extra time on her forehead, because she was feeling sick that night.
I am totally positive it was the unknowing contact of my hands and face with her hands and face that transferred some of the cream to me, which then had a chance to do its damage on my poor lips.
In the last few days, layer after layer of my bottom lip has dried up and exfoliated off due to the one exposure to the Boots cream. My lip skin is a lot calmer tonight; however, I know from my other backsliding experiences that there are probably 4 or 5 more damaged layers that will need to come up and off before the skin will look normal, adding about 2 weeks to my healing time frame.
I'm going to let my lips continue on their healing path, without introducing the acidophilus liquid for now.
If they get bad again, though, I'll certainly try the acidophilus liquid on them.
The reasons I don't want to introduce the acidophilus liquid rinse for the moment are:
-The lip-care routine that I've already worked out works well to support quick healing for me
-The acidophilus liquid has milk in it, and milk contains lactic acid, an exfoliant. Because alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and fruit acids cause me to have a bad cheilitis reaction, there is the chance that the milk acid will do the same, if I leave it sitting on my lips.
I will eventually use the acidophilus liquid I ordered from Swanson Vitamins though - every day, I eat 1/4 cup of organic yogurt that contains acidophilus in it, and I often take probiotics in pill form, so I'm a big fan of such stuff. I just don't want to introduce a new product to my lip routine while my lips are vulnerable and still stabilizing from their unintended exposure the other day to the cheilitis-causing Boots cream.
I threw my old tube away, of course, but my elderly relative has about 4 tubes of that Boots antibacterial cream and she loves it still, so I can't wrest them away from her. I'll just have to be careful when I touch her.