Having a peeling cycle isn't required to have the diagnosis of cheilitis.
Not everyone has a hard and fast peeling cycle where suddenly there is a big moment of exfoliation, and otherwise their skin holds together during the rest of the cycle.
I didn't even recognize a cycle within my peeling, until I'd been on this forum long enough to know that a lot of people have a cycle, and only then did I notice that I had something of a cycle too -- but only partially -- which is why I had not noticed it earlier.
This is what I mean:
Every two nights, in the space of about 15 minutes, my bottom lip gets pretty inflamed, and flaps start to come up all over, and about 60% of the bottom lip skin ends up coming off (or being cut off by myself) after about an hour of this.
This I consider to be my exfoliation cycle - every 2 nights, a pretty big exfoliation comes out of nowhere and takes away the top layer of 60% of my lip.
However, the rest of the time, the other 40% of my lip skin comes off in bits and pieces, once in a while, kind of all day long.
I never have a hard scab over my entire lip surface, and I always have different layers of my lip skin visible -- some parts have the whitish dead layer on them, some parts have the reddish "raw" layer exposed. There is never a time when my lip skin looks uniform, like it has an even surface (whatever that even surface might look like -- either a big scab all the way across, or a swath of raw skin all the way across).
However, I think others among us do have an even lip surface, before and after their exfoliation moment.
After reading what some people do on here to get their lips to look uniform (exfoliate after the shower, hold a wet cotton ball to their lips for 5 minutes, dip their mouths in the bathtub for 20 minutes, etc. etc.), I tried to see if I could soak my lip skin and rub it to get it all to come off at the same time, so at least the surface was uniform, but it didn't work for me. I even held my mouth in a bowl of warm soapy water for 20 minutes, and the older lip skin did not rub off after that. I have tried exfoliating with a rough salt scrub, and nothing came off. I have tried holding a cloth wet with hydrogen peroxide against my lips, and nothing happened afterwards (except for all the bubbles).
Your lip exfoliation sounds like mine.
Also sounds like user "Seattle" -- look up her previous posts on here to learn her story. She is no longer on here.
She left a photo in the Image Gallery . My lips don't quite look like hers, but I can see the overall exfoliation on them. Compared to her photo, my lips have more crevices, more splits that go deeper, more raw wet patches interspersed with whitish dead-skin patches.
SWK, one thing that I have tried which seems to help with the situation of having lip flaking with flaps coming up all throughout the day, every day, is glycerin.
Glycerin is sticky and thick, and just a small dot of it can cover the lips. It keeps the flapping skin somewhat tamped down and calmed. It is sort of like a weak glue, as long as it stays on the lips.
It is not oily or slick, so you aren't tempted to rub the lips together (I know that I am tempted to slide my lips together unconsciously when they've got something really oily on them, like vaseline). In fact, the dried glycerin is kind of sticky, making your lips stay in place.
The layer of glycerin does fade away after a while, and when you eat or wash it comes off. However, I find that I only have to put it on 4 times a day (after eating and before I go to bed)
One great thing about glycerin is that it's a humectant, which means it draws moisture. If your lips are wet, it pulls moisture from the lips, so if they are too moist, it regulates them, but if they are too dry, it pulls moisture from the air to moisten them.
Another great thing about glycerin is that it's not occlusive, like vaseline or wax are. It doesn't plug up the pores.
It does go on shiny, but if you use just a small amount and wait 10 minutes, it soaks in and then the lips look generally matte, like they don't have anything on them, which I can understand is a concern for some guys who are using lip treatments (I'm a female so I don't mind whether my lips look shiny or matte).
Another great thing about glycerin is that a cancer researcher has found that it actually causes wayward cells to normalize their behavior, which is an exciting thought to me, firstly because my lip cells are freaking out and I want to normalize their behavior, and secondly because having an exfoliating condition with rapid cell turnover can predispose that area of the skin to developing cancer later in life, and I hope that the glycerin might help to ward off that possibility for my lips.
For more info on that aspect, you can search this forum for "glycerin" - I think it was one of the musicians amongst us who found the glycerin-cell normalizing information and provided some internet links.
You can get a big bottle of glycerin at the drugstore for like 3 or 4 dollars. Only a tiny dab is required (too much, and it gets kind of drippy and you can taste the sweetness of it in your mouth).