Hi guys, sorry I lost contact with everyone, but I had a plethora of other problems arise recently and, to be honest, these forums aren't always the most cheerful. Anyway, I thought I'd come back and update you guys just because I think you deserve to know and then probably disappear again for a while with school starting soon. About a week after posting the pics, my EC returned! I was less than happy about it, but I didn't want to give up on my nearly 9 month treatment! I stuck it out while I went on vacation to Mexico, where I thought the heat, humidity, and relaxation would be the end of this awful endeavor. Unfortunately, it wasn't and my EC stayed during and after the trip. I decided enough is enough and paid my derm another visit, leaving the crusts on for about 3 days which looked pretty bad. She then decided to refer me to a top hospital in my city in hopes that a specialist in dermatology at a teaching hospital would be able to help me.
His hypothesis, as many have said before and I still agree with, is that it is caused by an allergy. Once again, Psoriasis and an auto-immune disordered were unlikely in his opinion. He linked a common ingredient in the toothpaste and mouthwash I was using called sodium benzoate and said it's known to cause reactions in people. I did cut out these items in the pat, but never at the same time for a period longer than a couple weeks. To be honest, as much as I've despised doctors for the last two years, his theory adds up a lot better than anything I've come up with.
He said the peeling is a result of inflammation. It seems we all have pretty full lips, and I think a lot of us are experiencing inflammation and perhaps not noticing it.(we're also naturally more prone to drying). After he gave me Protopic (Yes I said it and it's actually pretty great), he said that the inflammation has gotten better and that, after four weeks, I should keep using it and the inflammation will continue to get better and, God willing, the peeling should stop.
One question remains, however: Why does the leave it alone theory appear to improve the lips if it isn't JUST a WOUND. First, I'd like to retract a previous statement I made about it being a wound. Every doctor has assured me it's not really a wound and I'm starting to believe that more and more lately. However, I do have a theory as to why letting the crust pile up may APPEAR to help, at least in my case. Perhaps the dead skin DOES form a barrier against whatever it is you are reacting to and so, the lips may seem to improve temporarily or even progressively. The issue is I never made it to 100% and I think it's because I was still exposing myself to the allergen.
Well, that's all for now. I'm living a relatively normal life by applying protopic twice a day with PLAIN VASELINE in between (which my doctor assure me is safe) and just getting on with life. I wish you guys the best and I'm hoping that all of you find a way past this. 8 months was enough time for me to realize that I needed to take a different route to solve this, and maybe this post will make some of you at least consider other options. feel free to ask me questions. I may not get back to them for a couple days though. Good luck!