-> started with allergic reaction to sunblock at 19 yrs old (14 years ago). my old standby, vaseline petroleum jelly made matters worse. (i Never had an allergic reaction before that time.)stopped using vaseline, lips improved.
-> 2 years later, i got a tattoo, also dyed my hair. suffered allergic reactions; had angular cheilitis for two years, until i was prescribed an antifungal. skin healed and was good for a while.
-> dyed my hair again at 27; suffered severe allergic reaction & staph infection. took A Long-As* Time to Heal -- about 7 months. was hospitalized. was given oral steroids, high potency topical cortisone for treatment, Antibiotics , etc.. also did acupuncture, liver flush, and had a strict, gluten-free diet, with no caffeine, alcohol, or red meat for 3 weeks. (mostly water, apples & olive oil with lemon juice.) lips went back to normal after a while.
-> shortly after, i used clinique moisturizer on my eyes & lips. BAD MISTAKE! that was 5 years ago, and ever since then, my lip inflammation has been chronic, a daily battle, with no lasting cure.
OBSERVANCES: lips seem to go back to its healthy state when i vacationed in warm, humid, tropical countries (eg., costa rica). maybe being by the ocean helped? i had such healthy, moist, glowing skin while i was there -- i wish it were like that always! lips also in most healthy state when i'm ill with a high fever. (more blood being pumped in that region? more t-cells?)
also, i've come to the conclusion that corticosteroids wreaked havoc on my lips in the long term, and that aquaphor & vaseline petroleum jelly worsens my condition, accelerating the drying and cracking of my lips. HORRIBLE STUFF, really, so Stay Away from these petroleum-based products!
i've tried everything, but with no lasting effect, only short-term relief. (sad, because i would get excited, thinking i'm Finally cured, but that "healthy, normal lips" state never lasts for more than a month or two.)
THINGS I'VE TRIED: elidel, protopic, prednisone, florasone cream, calendula cream, cellfood oxygen gel, gluten-free diet, acupuncture & hot yoga, various supplements (vit a,b,c,k, spirulina, fish oil, zinc, copper, and now ginseng), plus i've used various hypoallergenic moisturizers and lip balms. (right now i'm using a cream that's supposed to repair the stratum corneum.) i also stay Far Away from all my known allergens, including lanolin, and only use organic, paraben/dye/fragrance-free products. i'm Vigilant about looking at labels and ingredients: the less chemicals, the better! this extends to my laundry detergent, dryer sheets, dishwasher detergent (no triclosan or any of those antibacterial crap that's worse for you long-term!), etc., etc..
i've Never been a lip-licker or lip-biter, Ever. and i breathe through my nose, not my mouth. i don't pick at my lips, but sometimes gently exfoliate the peeling skin. my lips somtimes itch, but i try not to scratch, as i know that would damage the skin even further.
Other Symptoms: i have less energy now than two years ago (could just be my age, of course!). i have constant dandruff, though mild. i also have dermographism (since childhood), and have recently been diagnosed with low-level sjorgen's syndrome. otherwise, i'm a ridiculously super-healthy person. i've seen many specialists and taken many test -- i don't have hormonal imbalance, liver or kidney problems, high levels of cortisol, candida or fungal problems. in fact, i have a stronger than average immune system.
so why do my lips peel, crack, weep, bleed and are chronically inflamed?!