I am also a female with this condition, and I have had it for about 4 years, but I've gone through ups and downs. I believe I got it from biting my lips, and I believe I was biting my lips because of anxiety. Eventually I stopped biting my lips because I didn't like how it was making them look, and that's when I started to notice this problem.
I went through the same stuff as everyone here.. trying everything on my lips to see if it would make them stop peeling, and I was trying desperately to leave the skin on as long as I could stand because I figured it was a giant scab that needed to heal. The longest I ever left it on was 7 days. I wanted to die by this point, and it just kept growing and constricting my lips more. I can't believe by some of the pictures on this site that some people have left it on for 30! I couldn't bear to do this. I physically could not smile, I couldn't eat many foods because I didn't want to either peel off lip unintentionally or eat/drink something that would stain my lips, and there was even a long time where I refused to kiss my very understanding boyfriend because of this. I didn't want to be with friends either because I didn't want them to see. When I did spend time with them, I tried not to talk and I looked down a lot. I saw doctors about it who gave me stuff that didn't work. It was horrible, and I also wasted a lot of money trying stuff on my lips that made no positive difference, and some stuff that made it worse.
So, after feeling miserable for several months and finding absolutely nothing promising from doctors or online, I decided to screw looking for a cure. I would just use Aquaphor on my lips, which I knew would make them peel very easily, and exfoliate them gently with a toothbrush or something every couple days, or as needed. The psychological difference at this point was amazing. I felt so much better. I smiled all the time, ate and drank whatever I wanted, and I could kiss my boyfriend. I could even wear lipstick without worrying about having nasty stains on my lips. It was a giant weight off my shoulders.
Now, the weird thing is that I think it might've gone away at some point after doing this for a while. I forgot about it eventually, and I know this because I've started noticing it again over the last few weeks. I'm back at square one, feeling horrible and paranoid, which is why I'm reading this board now. I think again that mine is related to anxiety and I think I fell off the wagon and just went nuts one day and ruined my lips all over again. So I bought a new container of Aquaphor and am going to try going the peace of mind route once again.