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Update on the condition of my lips
wgb Views: 2,597
Published: 11 years ago

Update on the condition of my lips

I have not logged in to this forum in about a week, because it was being temporarily dominated by illogical, strident voices which had no interest in open-minded discussion.

I don't mind anyway - hopefully my time here is drawing to a close.

This place (mainly the historical threads from one to five years ago) gave me some good information a few months ago when I needed it, and I did my best to compile and post some accurate, sound, research-based information that I hope will help cheilitis sufferers who turn to this forum in the future (such as this triple-R "RRR" recommended-by-moderators thread: //

However, I did promise to return periodically to update anyone who is interested on how my lips have been doing, ever since I found out that my cheilitis (in whole or in part) was being caused by some allergic reactions.

So I thought I'd drop in today and give you an update.

My cheilitis *may* have initially begun as a result of a toenail and foot skin fungal infection that I caught (I believe from a hotel bathroom) about 15 months ago. I think that the cheilitis was then furthered about 9 months ago by my body's developing some allergic reactions in the lip area. The fungal cause of the cheilitis might be gone now - I think that it probably is. It is gone from my feet.
It took me a couple of months of trial and error, but in December I discovered that I was having allergic reactions on my lips to: 1. Boots drugstore brand antibacterial cream containing tea tree oil and other things (which I never used near my face, let alone on my lips, but still it set my cheilitis on fire), 2. Many brands of AHA / alpha hydroxy lotions (which I did use on my face, but not near my lips).
I have avoided those 2 things since mid-December, but unfortunately I've had accidental brushes with each of them since, which have caused the cheilitis to flare up again, and that has prolonged my healing.

Now, to the present moment --

After my most recent accidental exposure to the blasted Boots cream (it is used by a relative of mine) and my resulting cheilitis relapse because of it, in the past couple of weeks I have strictly avoided anything that might mess my lips up. I've been washing a few times a day with E.O. soap and applying glycerin - that's all. My lips have very s.l.o.w.l.y been getting better and better.

I think their healing rate has been slowed down by how terribly dry it is in all the environments I am in now (outside and inside air). The air in my bedroom doesn't get above 35% humidity, and that's with 2 humidifiers going! The air everywhere else, without any humidifiers, is in the 20% range. It's hard on even normal lips to be around such dry air for months at a stretch.

Yesterday morning, my lips looked very good in the mirror, and I would say that only about 5% of my bottom lip had a thin, thin line of mangled-up skin that is the outcome of cheilitis. Everywhere else looked fine. I figured that in about a week the cheilitis area would be gone entirely. So far, so good.

Then, last night:
I was making a simple stir-fry for dinner. I chopped up the vegetables, put them into bowls, and my intention was to wait about an hour before I was going to cook and eat the stir-fry. While I waited, I sat down at the computer to do something, and 20 minutes later, suddenly, weirdly, I could feel my lips start to scab up, to buckle up, to begin to flake off. It was the weirdest thing.

Someone was over at my house, and she could see it too! I looked in the bathroom mirror, and there it was - cheilitis over about 60% of my bottom lip, and the flakes were already beginning to rise up. Then, two areas on my bottom lip cracked vertically, and started to bleed. My "witness" just couldn't believe how my lips had changed in the course of half an hour.

The only thing I could think of was that I was having an instant reaction to one of the foods I had cut up for the stir-fry.

I make a stir-fry with similar ingredients about every 2 weeks. I have never noticed the ingredients causing me lip problems before, but that could be because I've had cheilitis already on my lips due to other reasons anyway, so the rapid reaction from normal skin to irritated skin may not have been noticeable before now.

[Or, maybe I've become newly sensitized to YET another thing. This might sound hard to believe, but I think that in the last year I have become sensitized to things in a very sudden way. Indeed, I read an interesting article this morning in a respected British newspaper about how adults are suddenly becoming allergic to all sorts of things that had never bothered them before.
To read more, see:]

The items I cut up for dinner last night were:
snow peas
yellow bell pepper

I've never noticed a problem with any of these foods, but obviously something set off my lips last night.

My lips are better today, but you can see that damage has been done. They have been set back in their healing by about 2 weeks. This is very frustrating.

I can't avoid ALL of those veggies in the future, so after my lips heal for a week I'll check them out one by one (by cutting them when they are raw), on their own, to see if any of them causes my cheilitis to get suddenly worse in the half hour after my hands are exposed to them.

Of the veggies that I prepared last night, the ones that have the most medical reports of causing cheilitis are garlic and onions. If I had to guess, I'd say it might be the garlic, which I had not touched, cooked, or eaten in any form for about 3 weeks until yesterday. I had cooked all the other veggies (separately) at other times in the last 2 weeks, and they didn't seem to have caused me any problems. But I don't really know yet.

I'll come back later, to record how things go from here!

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