Holy %#$&^ crap…I’m so glad that you posted this info. I’ve had the same experience on several occasions—correlation, of course, doesn’t prove causation, but it’s pretty damn interesting.
Ok, so when this condition first started, I was moving back home for the summer (back from college). My GF was going to a different school, so we had been apart for a while, but obviously that changed as soon as everybody got back into town. My lip peeling completely stopped for at least 6 months (the process had definitely started before I got back—white skin after coming into contact with water, peeling, etc.—but the peeling was so new at the time that I didn’t even realize anything terribly bad was happening). Anyways, my GF and I broke up about half a year later and I got really frustrated and started biting my lip again, which started the whole peeling process again.
Also, over the past several years, it seemed that after various random hookups my lips were significantly better. I never wanted to say anything about this, because it sounded so completely insane, but there have been many times when I thought that kissing people was somehow curing me (of course, the irony of the situation—having a problem with our lips that could only be cured by kissing—is almost epic).
Anyways, I had a somewhat decent hypothesis about why it might have helped a while ago, but I can’t really remember it anymore (it might have had something to do with enzymes found in saliva—maybe we’re not producing something that is normally produced—or repopulation by beneficial microorganisms may be a factor). In relation to the repopulation idea, it’s kind of similar to the idea that if wash your hands it might actually be bad, because you’re killing off the weaker organisms, which leaves the hardier members to increase in number. There’re a finite amount of resources available to microorganisms, and if non harmful ones are hogging them, it doesn’t leave much for the bad ones to grab a hold of.
So, to follow this up, maybe it would be a good idea to have our saliva analyzed—it is normal, or is there a deficit/surplus of something. Second, the mouth is one of the most densely populated bastions of bacteriological life in the body—is there some organism that has overpopulated beyond normal levels, or is there a common type that seems to be missing (this might be almost impossible to figure out).
This whole thing seems kind of crazy, but it’s really odd that such an obscure idea came up more than once in such a small group of people. Maybe this could provide a new pathway to explore.