I want to keep this short...so here goes.
This term "exfoliative cheilitis" is a misnomer. Pure and simple. It looms large in our mind and makes us believe we're sick or deformed, which makes many of us depressed and angry, when really, all this is is a scrape, a wound--a lot of us here actually agree with that, from what I've gathered during the course of my year here browsing the forums. Most of us--though not all of us--agree that those crusts that form are nothing but scabs, attempting to cover the wound. All of us got this condition because we either bit off whole chunks of skin from our lips, or burned them off with medication we took for something totally unrelated. Either way, we are missing a layer of skin.
Those are the assumptions I went on when attempting this. And they were confirmed.
The scabs on our lips could never completely seal the wounded area--because we need to use our lips, to talk, to eat, to smile, laugh, brush our teeth, etc. The scabs form and crumble almost immediately. So I googled something very simple--can you prevent a scab from forming? Apparently you can. By a process aptly called "moist wound healing." Some of you guys already know about this, and you dismiss it as ineffective, but it's my belief that you didn't implement the process properly.
Here's what I did, and here's what you should do:
1. Start the peeling process over. You should have raw, red lips that are sensitive to the touch. Like any scrape or burn, that's because you're missing a layer of skin.
2. Apply AQUAPHOR...and continue to do so, EVERY HALF HOUR WITHOUT FAIL. IF IN DOUBT, IF YOU DON'T REMEMBER WHEN YOU PUT IT ON LAST, PUT IT ON AGAIN. IF YOU HAVE ALZHEIMER'S, AND CAN'T REMEMBER ANYTHING PAST 5 MINUTES, PUT IT ON EVERY 5 MINUTES; JUST PUT IT ON, PUT IT ON, PUT IT ON.
Slather it on before you brush your teeth; before you floss; and after you've used mouthwash. And slather it on before and after you shower, before you sleep, when you wake, and when you're awake, every half hour at a minimum.
From the second you apply the first coat, your scabs should stop forming. Like magic. By the second day you should see little to NO white shit on your lips after showers or brushing your teeth. Within 4 days, you should see new skin on your lips. You may experience a little tightness, some swelling during these first few days. After 6 days, you should be completely healed--by the end of two weeks, you could assure yourself that you could put this damn issue, this piece of shit issue that's haunted you for years, to rest.
A few notes:
-- When you brush your teeth, remember to exfoliate your lips--gently, gently, gently--with a toothbrush. Anything that comes off with a light, very light, brush was meant to come off, so don't worry about it. Just slather on the aquaphor.
-- I don't know if Aquaphor is the only product that you could use. Where I am, it's around 7 a bottle, but it'll last you a while. Buy two or three at a time, to be safe. But I swear you won't even get through one bottle before you realize that you want to kiss me. Oh and, it's possible, maybe probable, that vaseline would do the trick, or any moisturizer, really, would do the trick--but I used aquaphor and I was extremely happy with the result.
--Keep in mind that you're not trying to moisturize the lips. I mean, technically you are, but what you really want is to create a protective covering for them, one that promotes new cell growth, which is exactly what the scabs were trying to do all along. I say this because some of you may not want to walk around with shiny lips for an extended period like I did, but I think it's necessary and you should do it. It's better than walking around with those unsightly crusts. Eventually you can lower the frequency of use and just move on from the whole thing. You'll need to keep your lips moisturized, sure--but after a certain point, you could just use chapstick or something like regular people.
--I know there's a sentiment going around that states that sun is good for you. I think that's baloney. It may even be harmful, if it causes your lips to dry faster. Just for the record, I work the night shift--I don't get much sun. So take that however you want to take it.
--Many of you will be incredibly skeptical. I know this. I mean, how can something that has plagued you, and pretty much consumed your life for years (or months), how can this something be cured within days, two weeks at most? Here's the answer: all scrapes take that long to heal. At most. Even if you don't buy it, even if you believe I spent an hour here typing up this message for kicks, or to sell aquaphor for whatever reason, please, PLEASE give it a shot. If you don't see new skin by the second week, just junk the idea, and say so in the comments.
I truly hope you guys are diligent in applying this shit as I was, and I truly, truly hope that you could experience that tiny little ephemeral joy I felt when I saw how instantly this pain in the ass just vanished from my life.
peteatams-AT-yahoo.com if you have any questions. If at all possible, please do what I didn't and take pictures and record your progress so that no one will have to suffer from this garbage again.
P.S. So much for keeping it short. -_-
EDIT: I forgot to mention that I have never, in all these years, went to a derm. I asked my primary about it, and he told me to apply chapstick and stfu. I asked my dentist, and he said the same thing plus chew gum. I didn't change my diet, don't take any more vitamins than I used to (I take a multi once a day), and I exercise as I always have. This is not an internal problem. Please stop all treatments that you've been prescribed, they obviously don't work. Try this method for a few weeks, and if it doesn't work for you, it doesn't work for you, and I hope you find something that does. But at this point, I'm 100% certain that if done right, this will cure all of us. Seriously, who has ever heard of a wound that heals differently on different people?
EDIT 2: Another thing: once you finish brushing your teeth, cup some water in your hands and dunk your lips in them. Let them soak for a few seconds, maybe 10-15. DO NOT STRETCH YOUR LIPS. (Actually, now that I think about it, I forgot to say that too. Never stretch your lips for the first few days. After new skin forms, you'll gradually be able to, but try not to eat anything that stretches them, and try not to laugh too freely or smile too widely). Once you've soaked them, then exfoliate with a toothbrush, lightly. This way you'll not walk around with white gunk on your lips, white gunk that is really just dried up petroleum, or with white dead skin (as opposed to a white scab, by the way) which will form eventually on top of your newly formed skin. You'll just walk around looking like you have lip gloss. If anyone asks, which they won't, just say you have crazy dry lips. They'll understand. Everybody gets dry lips.
My point: there's a widespread belief on this forum that you should leave your lips totally alone during the healing process, that whatever grows on it should come off naturally if it is to come off at all. This is not true. I'm living proof. To be totally honest, I was too ashamed to walk around looking like I have rabies, so I brushed it off in an act of pathetic-ness. But it worked. Just brush everything off, gently, properly, without damaging the new skin, and you can heal while looking relatively normal, and with a speed you never thought possible.
Again, any questions, don't hesitate to e-mail me. I'm totally healed--not cured, because this is not a disease, just a wound--and nothing would make me happier than to have you guys heal too.