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solution but no cure
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Published: 19 years ago
Status:       R [Message recommended by a moderator!]

solution but no cure

I have had chronic peeling lips for about two years. I bit them for a long time, and finally when I decided to stop, they just kept peeling. For a long time I tried to find a cure, but I've resolved myself to simply maintaining them so they don't interfere with my self-esteem and social life, which were suffering badly when I was really into it.

I've tried a number of different prescription and non-prescription creams and will note the results to possibly save you the trouble:


Aquaphor - Keeps lips moist and elastic and promotes peeling, but feels very greasy and thick and is not absorbed. I use this overnight when I want to be able to easily exfoliate my lips in the morning and recommend it if that's what you want.

Carmex - Feels similar to Aquaphor but with menthol and seems to be more drying. Lips are dry after it wears off, but keeps them moist feeling while it's on. Promotes peeling.

The Body Shop's Honey Moisturizing Lip Exfoliator - Moisturizes lips without feeling greasy and slows peeling. Works very nicely for about two days, and then lips start to dry up and lose elasticity. Peeling is difficult once it becomes necessary.

Shea butter - This is my newest one, and I got a small container of it from L'Occitane. It's very good for freshly peeled lips. Stays moist for a long time without the greasy feeling of petroleum-based products. I haven't used this alone for several days to see what happens if it's all I use.

Kiehl's Lip Balm #1 - Petroleum-based, but much lighter feeling than Aquaphor. It gets absorbed into the lips fairly quickly and needs to be reapplied often as it doesn't keep working after it's absorbed. I've found that it makes my lips peel more than Aquaphor does, which might mean it actually has a drying effect on them. I don't recommend this for overnight use because my lips were dry by morning. In fact, I don't really recommend it at all because you can get better results with Aquaphor.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer - I decided to try this on my lips because I was curious how a facial moisturizer would work on lips. It actually works very nicely for a day or two after exfoliation. It is easily absorbed, keeps lips smooth, and slows peeling. After a couple days, though, the lips start to crack. I've had similar results using Curel's Therapeutic Moisturizing Lotion. Both should be used sparingly, just enough to cover the lips. Don't slop it on like lip balm.

Neutrogena Overnight Lip Treatment - Good for overnight use on freshly exfoliated lips. Useless if lips are already cracked and is difficult to apply because it's hard, like shea butter. Lasts the entire night, and lips feel good in the morning. Does not promote peeling, but doesn't slow it either.


Elidel - Definitely slows peeling, but lips become hard and cracked after a few days and the Elidel ends up collecting in the cracks and looking white. For me, it turned the non-affected parts of my lips red while the affected parts were pale, so that looked weird and I would try to apply it when I wasn't going out immediately afterwards. I don't know what would happen if I tried using it and didn't peel the skin at all, because after about 7 days my lips were so unbearably hard, unflexible, and terrible looking that I caved and put some Aquaphor on overnight so I could finally peel them again. It is nice to use for 2-3 days at a time though to slow the peeling process, and it isn't greasy feeling and absorbs fairly quickly.

Protopic - Didn't like this one at all. I used it for about two weeks, which might not have been long enough, but by that time I was already getting pimples all around my mouth and the peeling seemed to get worse, so I promptly stopped using it. It is petroleum-based so it feels like Vaseline/Aquaphor.

Hopefully this information will help you out. My favorite products to use depend on what my goals are, but generally I stick with Aquaphor, shea butter, Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer, and Elidel (you can't use that all the time, though). I think I'll try using a combination of Elidel and shea butter next to see if the shea butter manages to counteract the hardness the Elidel causes.

Anyway, there's my long and hopefully helpful post.

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