They are doing pretty good! I'll admit that working two jobs and not being in the sun hardly at all anymore has made them build up a little bit...and I always want to make sure they look great at my jobs since I am talking to customers all day, so I probably am causing a lot of trauma to them. But they still are way better than they were before.
As for the other part, the reason is because my lips built up skin so fast and it just all stuck together...so if I tried to take it off it would have ripped the entire thing off...kind of weird but yeah....and I don't need to keep anything at all on my outer lips anymore, I haven't needed anything on the outside for a few months now...I just keep the inner areas where they touch with aquaphor all of the time because that part still has trouble. But yes I have had great success with it and gradually ease off.