I was prescribed many things for moderate to severe acne, including Antibiotics
, Retina A, and Accutane. I went on a cycle Accutane back in 2000. I believe Accutane triggered my cheilitis, but a big part of it is mental.
This is hard to explain the mental part, but I'll do my best. I think I unlearned the natural way of subconsiously relaxing and self caring for my lips because of my worry about the chapping Accutane caused my lips. So even when I wasn't thinking about my lips (after Accutane treatment was over) I would be posturing them incorrectly (i.e. clamping down too hard, being too rigid, etc...) because of the bad habits I picked up while on Accutane. It's very difficult to correct this because once I realized, it worried me into being more concious about my lips, making things even worse.
I had mild problems with my lips for 3 years after taking Accutane, then it got severe. My lips started get chapped so bad that they needed to be exfoliated daily (sometimes multiple times) to get rid of dried up skin flakes (pretty gross). After exfoliation, my lips were back to nice and smooth (except for frequent lip splits and bleeding that need to heal), but within a couple days (or less) it would get just as bad.
I needed some physical treatment to make my lips bearable enough to stop always thinking about them so much. They were so bad that 3/4ths of my lower lip was severely chapped with a thick layer of flaky skin, and my lip would often crack and bleed. I use some lip balm made from hempseed oil, beeswax, vitamin E, and an infusion of Calendula. It didn't stop the skin from thickening but it keeps it soft, and allows the skin to shed more easily (without bleeding). That's an important thing I have learned, NEVER pick on or exfoliate dry skin because it will cause bleeding (and possibly scarring over the long term). You must treat the lips to make the soft (such as with the lip balm I recommended) before removing any built up skin. Any exfoliation or removing of built up skin should be done gently as so not to injure the skin or cause inflammation which worsens things.
Other things I have done is try to eat healthier. More veggies, lots of berries, lots of water, less processed foods. I don't drink commercial (heavily processed) dairy milk unless it has been cultured or I take digestive enzymes with it. Milk can easily be cultured with Kefir grains to make a Kefir milk drink similar to yogurt (but healthier). Kefir also helps to replenish intestinal flora which is helpful for those who have ever gone on anti-biotics (which kill off both good and bad bacteria). Recently I have started eating coconut oil and coconut milk. There is a fatty acid in coconut oil (lauric acid I believe) which gets converted by the body to kill bacteria and viruses. So this should help if there is any infection. Coconut oil is also suppose to reduce inflammation.
Lately I have been learning to relax better. I think alot of time I was getting myself pumped up to do things when it was really unnecessary. The undue stress from this (getting pumped up) reduces saliva output which make the lips lose moisture. I find that I can do most things more efficiently without getting "pumped up" because I can concentrate better and don't get burnt out so easily.
I hope what I have learned can assist others. My condition isn't cured yet, but it has improved dramatically. I have bad days now and then when I get some peeling (when stressed out), but my lips are almost to the point of being normal. I'll try to get back with my progress some time. I wish everyone the best of luck in curing this ailment.