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Exfoliative/Factitious Cheilitis theory.
jp20 Views: 4,459
Published: 18 years ago

Exfoliative/Factitious Cheilitis theory.

Hi, I believe the cause of my Exfoliative/factitious Cheilitis is air damage. The skin can not heal. It is stuck in a regeneration-degeneration loop caused by dry air.

Originally the top layer or layers where damaged from extreme dryness caused from open mouth breathing I believe. At this point I worsened the damage by getting into the nasty habit of picking all the damaged dead dry skin off my lips, usually removing deeper layers of skin in the process and sometimes making them bleed. Picking then escalated into biting or both. Now, at this point the skin had lost some of its integrity and structural composition because the lips no longer had as many layers of skin on them. This left them raw, and more exposed and vulnerable to dry air than normal lips are.

This I believe, is how the process takes place: The damaged skin will fall off after the result of being damaged by dry air, then will expose new skin underneath. This new skin is at stage 1 of the healing process. Being on the lips, this stage 1 skin layer is very thin and delicate. Its my belief that this skin layer gets destroyed and damaged by normal dry air because it does not have the structural integrity to sustain and protect itself.

The lip skin is damaged by the air, layer by layer until there is enough damaged dead skin on the top of the lips to protect the underlying new skin from being damaged anymore. At this point there is a break between the healthy alive skin and dead skin which causes the dead skin to shed off. This reveals new stage 1 skin that is again destroyed by the dry air and the cycle repeats itself again and again in a loop. The skin can not heal and fully mature into healthy skin because of the air damage. It can not build up enough layers to protect itself from the elements. Regeneration of skin < degeneration from air = vicious cycle ('<' means less than)

This would be how the lips are different in healing than any other part of the body is, as a previous forum member asked. Even normal lips have a predisposition to getting dry before any other part of the body. This, I think is because lip skin is thinner than most other areas of the body. You can see the blood through them.

If my theory is true and this is what’s happening, the problem is how do we heal our lips? I for one have tried a bazillion kinds of lip balm. Enough of any lip balm blobbed on, will stop the peeling for me but the underlying stage 1 skin just seems to be frozen with no healing of the skin taking place. I think the problem is that the skin can not breath. I’m not a scientist so I don’t know for sure if skin does in fact need air to heal and fully mature. If it does, then what’s needed is some way that the lip skin can be exposed to air with no risk of dry air damage.

One extreme idea I thought of would be moving to a place where the air humidity is so great that it would be impossible for dry skin to exist. The dry air damage to the skin would be stopped and the skin would be allowed to fully heal. Even if you could manage to lessen the degree of the air damage so that the healing of the skin would surpass that of the damage to the skin. Regeneration>degeneration=Heal! ('>' means greater than) This however is not a very realistic idea for most people including me.

Another idea would be some sort of covering that could be made out of cloth or other breathable material, that would cover and protect the lips from dry air damage but still allow the skin to breath. I think I have seen burn victims use a similar type of thing. Regeneration>degeneration=Heal. Unfortunately, this Idea would be very unpractical for most people for obvious reasons.

Also the use of a humidifier of vaporizer in a room could also be used to increase the humidity level to the appropriate level. This idea could also be very unpractical for obvious reasons.

The last Idea I came up with is the use of a hyper barrack chamber that oxygen and humidity can be controlled in. Also an unrealistic idea because of the availability of one and probably the expense of using one.

Anyway these are my ideas, I would appreciate anyones input or experiences that they might have on this matter. Thanks!

P.S. I thought I should tell everyone that the best thing I have found so far to manage my Exfoliative/factitious Cheilitis is the use of Aloe Vera Gel(has to be gel). I use a fairly large amount that I let dry on my lips, everynight before I go to sleep. In the morning when I brush my teeth, shave, and shower the dead skin practically falls off. The good thing about aloe vera gel is that unlike so many lip balms it doesnt leave my lips looking raw and really red after I exfoliate. THe only drawback is that it sometimes doesnt get rid of all the dead skin so my lips may become chapped, so I use a lip balm during the day. The most important thing is that I can use it everynight and the next day my lips will be more or less the same, with no really bad days :D


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