I'm not surprised there's a bit of scepticism around this post, but I honestly think you might be on to something.
The bit you said about slathering the shit out of your lips, inside and out.. I basically did exactly that with bepanthen for a good 4 or 5 days, strictly. From raw lips. Stricter than I've ever done it before, and my lips looked better than they'd every done before. Towards the end, however, I must have gotten slightly complacent and been less thorough because they hardened and peeled soon after.
But honestly, I think I was on the path to success doing that. Now I'm going to try the same with aquaphor, as strict as I can.
Would also appreciate some before and afters if you'd be so kind. For that little bit of extra motivation and hope.