I would like to provide those of you who are viewing this web site with a little information about myself. I am a 31 year old male who suffered from exfoliative cheilitis for over eights long years. It was a long, arduous journey that took me through many ups and downs. My condition began the day I decided to stop using chapstick. I had started to notice that when using chapstick my lips would feel as though they were often burning. More importantly, when the chapstick previously applied had run its course I would have to relieve this burning sensation which thereby prompted me to apply another dose. You can say that an addiction developed. I had to find a way to stop before it got worse so I therefore stopped cold turkey because nothing else seemed to work. This was the hardest thing I have ever done. Aside from the psychological effects, my lips literally went through withdrawal. My lips began to produce a burning sensation that was accompanied with significant irritation. Within weeks my lips began to break open and peel on a daily basis. I would say that my lips were on a twenty four hour peeling cycle. The worst part about this process was that it was both of my lips that were affected and they both peeled in their entirety.
Stopping cold turkey was initially the biggest mistake that I made in my life. I went without anything on my lips for close to two months and they just got worse and worse over time. My lips turned cherry red and felt as though they were missing their outer epidermal layer. In other words, both of my lips were completely raw and resembled a fresh wound. I was not able to talk or eat during this period without discomfort and drinking anything without a straw was painful. Often my lips would stick to a glass and peel off when I pulled my lips away. What was worse then this was the fact that I was not able to smile, laugh, or breath through my mouth. The latter three remained rarities in my life at that time as a result of this condition. This awful time in my life lasted for roughly several months until I began to apply an all natural balm to alleviate the pain and discomfort that I was experiencing. This balm was a savour as it helped me to resume my everyday life with fewer worries than usual. You could not imagine the psychological torment that one experiences as a result of this condition. I literally always worried about people looking at my lips when in public and decided to stay indoors until the inflammation went down.
Fortunately, the summer indoors ended and my new found natural balm helped me to continue with my university education as it took many negative thoughts associated with exfoliative cheilitis off of my mind. The only thing that truly continued to bother me was the fact that my ability to converse was limited due to the immobility of my mouth as a result of hyperkeratosis on the lips. If I had tried to talk, laugh, or smile the lips would either break open, peel, or scab which was generally followed by a minor infection. This problem continued for several years. Finally, after three years only a small portion of my upper lip continued to peel. My lower lip was another story. Forty percent of it continued to peel over a period of roughly four days. I then experienced one day of normality followed by the peeling process over and over again. This peeling process never ceased. It is important to note that during this time I refused to put anything on my lips other than the all natural lip balm which I rarely used, only when the skin built up and was ready to peel. Applying the balm helped the skin peel within minutes.
I then decided to visit various professionals. I visited a dozen dermatologists as well as a reputable oral pathologist from Sunnybrook Hospital. I tried everything including every medication in the book. I tried fungus creams, cancer creams, and various ointments. I even had lip surgery as well as a lip biopsy which did not show any abnormalities aside from hyperkeratosis. I also tried several lip cauterizations, not to forget the liquid nitrogen one medical practitioner applied, as well as all natural products that deemed worthy. What I found was that the best thing to do was to leave my lips alone. This was the best way for me to get through this condition.
This condition took me though eight painful years of distress. You cant imagine not being able to talk to people, kiss your partner, laugh with your friends, smile when you want to, or eat the foods you love because your mouth cant open far enough without your lips cracking and bleeding. Fortunately, after all these years something wonderful happened. Because I left my lips alone for three years without applying anything to them they slowly got better over time. I began to notice slower peeling cycles, thinner peels, less discomfort, and more mobility of my mouth and lips. It was at this point that I knew I could beat cheilitis and once again live a normal life. If you want to learn more click on the 'My Cure' link at the top of this page and you can learn what I did to improve my symptoms and eventually rid cheiltis from my life.