I have been doing the leave alone method for five months. I did it not really out of choice, or because I believed this was the best method, but because whenever I put aquaphor/ topical steroid /any kind of sticky topical product on my lips, it caused the crusts to fall off, exposing scarily raw, red and inflamed skin. During this time, my lips look I had massive crusts on them (probably even a bit worse than Daniel Miller's crusting ) and the crusting cycle continued unabated. It did not necessarily get worse (although it is hard to see how it could get worse, without growing some kind of bark on my lip) but it didn't get better.
Last week, I started using the biotene dry mouth relief gel on the inner lips and I also applied gloves in a bottle once every few days to the outer lips. I have also been using the "easy pro stop snoring chin strap" I mentioned to stop mouth breathing at night. My lip skin has cleared up about 80% in one week. I have no doubt it was the saliva gel that led to the main improvement since I started using it a few days after I introduced the other changes and not much difference was observed in my lip skin until I started applying it and then there was a huge difference overnight. You have to apply it as often as Aquaphor (think of it as "constant moisture method" for the inner lips or labial mucosa). I will do a thread about this when I can be sure my lips have had a sustained remission for a certain length of time. I don't want to post about it too soon before I can say this definitely resulted in a long term improvement since I don't want to mislead people before I can be sure this works. But believe me, my lips have been a horrendous mess now for five months and the crusting cycle has continued unabated. The saliva gel has resulted in overnight improvement. What is more, there is clear medical logic as to why the saliva gel worked (I explained this in the other thread).
I agree that you have to be wary of cure stories on the internet. I have had another long term health condition long enough to know that some people go into remission for unknown causes (possibly placebo effect) and then tend to attribute their recovery to certain cause, which they promote as the key for everyone with the same condition. Some people recovered from cancer by watching comedy videos constantly but that does not mean we should replace chemotherapy with comedy videos since chemotherapy has a much better track record of curing cancer than comedy videos. Maybe watching comedy videos is a good adjunct to chemotherapy for cancer since emotional health impacts physical health.
I think a lot of people who have had EC for a long time are understandably frustrated with medical professionals and the whole institution of modern medicine. I totally get that. Drs are stupid and biased sometimes and the diagnosis and proposed aetiology of EC is incorrect and stigmatising. However, just because there is prejudice in medicine does not mean we should abandon the scientific method or medical thinking. I think we should work to eliminate prejudice in medicine, not resort to some kind of pseudo-scientific alternative therapies with no proven efficiency. That's my two cents anyhow. This comes from someone whose really been there and got the t-shirt in terms of the alternative health world. I think alternative medicine has it's place sometimes in increasing emotional health (I quite like meditation and Reiki music) but sometimes alternative therapies have no rationale whatsoever and lead to wasting a lot of money on chasing rainbows.
If anybody's EC seemed to start with skin picking it could be a ) a coincidence or b) the skin picking started at the beginning stages of EC, when it was milder (when lips are flake free, what is there to pick exactly?) or c) as I said in the other post that the skin picking triggered off some kind of autoimmune inflammatory process akin to Koebner phenomenon http://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/the-koebner-phenomenon/
However, I don't personally believe that is what causes EC in many cases (not mine, since I didn't pick and got the huge flare up after a lip filler) but it is a possibility.