Hi im new here but after coping with this condition for about 2 years now i think i may finally have an answer.
I was a chronic lip biter for some time and im 100% certain that this was the cause of my condition. Theres no bacterial infection but every day to two days or so my lips develop a weak outer layer that peels when wet or damaged in some way. Basically what this skin amounts to is a type of CALLUS very similar to ones that appear on other parts of the body after too much pressure or mechanical damage. Now a callus on say the foot after removing the cause of the mechanical damage should heal and dissapear in about 4 weeks. Unfortunately this isnt quite the case when it appears on our lips from lip biting.
Heres the reason why: its impossible to keep the skin in this location free from irritation and wear and tear. No other part of our body even in people with normal lips is subject to so much normal damage in the form of saliva damage, eating, licking, weather and lips rubbing against each other. Its also the reason why blood flow to the lips is so good - they need to be constantly healed throughout a normal day and more so than perhaps any other external body part. The quick healing rate of our lips means that there is a high cell turnover and when afflicted with Hyperkeratosis (the posh name for callus like skin) it makes things a little harder. A callus is a normal and natural response by the skin. The thickening of the skin with dead skin cells forms a protective barrier against constant damage. The problem with this on lips is that even after stopping lip biting altogether there is still damage caused by normal daily activity. The high cell turnover presents more opportunities for the dead skin to remain callus like because of constant normal damage. So we remain in a constant cycle of callus formation and peeling.
So what is the answer?
After much experimentation i have found that simply leaving the dead skin form does not heal a callus on the lips because of the fact that its on the lips! If it were on the foot or hand it would heal in about 4 weeks by itself. Also treating the callused skin with creams does not seem to help either although they do prevent the lips from drying out but in doing so weakens the skin by wetting so that they peel more easily. Ive tried everything except steroid creams to no avail even though ive comletely stopped lip biting.
Then i came across something on this forum. A few pages ago someone mentioned how he used fruit containing salycylic acid in the juices to heal his condition. I thought why not give it a try? So i did. I can safely say that at no other time had my lips improved so much. Unfortunately after two days of using this method i stopped becuase id noticed my lips had improved so much. Then something awful happened and i started biting my lips again for 1 day and pretty much ended back at square one after that. When my lips had improved before the slight relapse (i havent bitten for ages now thouh) while using the lemon i felt great because the skin had changed and was much more normal even when it was due for peeling. At least i was making progress!
After my relapse some months ago i actually forgot about using lemon again even though i still have the condition. For some reason i attributed failure to the lemon technique through my relapse but now i know that isnt justified. So i tried other things to no avail. From today though im going to give it another go and for a much longer period. Fingers crossed it should cure it. I think if the guy who originally mentioned the lemon method hadnt been cured he would have been back on this forum. It may not work for everyone but ive got a strong hunch that it will work for lip biters so allow me to be the guinnea pig.
Heres the method i'll be using:
Apply lemon juice to the affected areas for 5 mins. If skin turns white then gently exfoliate until normal skin appears. Apply Blistex or Aquaphor to reduce inflammation. Repeat whole process 3 times a day.
Ive already dne it twice today and so far so good. The skin that was left underneath was red after the dead skin peeled off but definately not 'raw'. I think what the acid in the fruits does is separate the dead cells from the normal ones. Im not entirely sure of how exactly this method will heal my condition but ive got a theory.
So how does the lemon work?
Lemon juice is an excellent exfoliator but its not the just the dead skin cells we are concerned about. Going back to what i found earlier calluses keep reappearing if the causes of the mechanical damage are not removed. This is because the healthy living cells change theyre behaviour when irritated or damaged to rapidly produce cells that die quickly and form the callus. Heres where i believe the lemon works it magic. Not only does it remove dead skin cells but it removes a tiny layer of the 'normal ' living cells RESPONSIBLE for the callus in the first place. Think of the normal skin cells as a hard disk that needs its program wiped to stop hyperkeratinisation. When the exfoliative method of the lemon is applied many times gradually the normal skins program of producing dead skin cells is completely wiped as though its forgotten to produce the cells in the first place. However i believe it is important to reduce any inflammation after exfoliating with the lemon to reduce the chance the normal skin cells will register 'damage' and so keep producing cells. For this purpose ill use Blistex and Aquaphor to keep inflammation down. I believe that some damage will be registered in normal cells while using the lemon method which is why it will take a few treatments to completely cure this condition.
I believe it can be cured so ill use this method for 2 weeks and give regular updates.