How are you trying to promote collagen build up or are you now seeking a strategy to do so?
I found my lips are feeling better as they become softer. When my EC battle began 7 months ago my lips swelled up and were hard to the touch. They have become softer as they have returned to a normal size. I think we all have varied symptoms and experiences, which is one of the many reasons this is such a challenging mystery to solve.
I do think that there are people who have had full blown EC as you describe and have healed by leaving their lips alone as much as possible and living a healthy lifestyle (natural diet, stress reduction, etc). For example, Jeff Mill. It is a long process though and I think many give up before healing has had a chance to occur. I am now nearly 5 months into no balms or topicals, a diet that is mostly feee of processed foods, and as positive an attitude as possible. I am noting slow, gradual improvements. I think we as a community need to focus on the positive as much as possible and underscore that healing is possible. Otherwise, frustration and hopelessness contributes to the EC condition.