I have gone through a lot of misery trying to work out the underlining reason for this. I do have skin problems elsewhere but I've never taken accutane, and although I have a weak stomach I don't think it's related to any of this now. Allergies... I don't think I have any besides some mild reactions to certain chemicals used in cosmetics..I've spent miserable amounts of time going back and forth analysing inflammation/reactions.
The redness I notice on the inferior part of the lips sometimes are blood capillaries, not allergic reactions.. eating a heavy meal, for example, will cause the body temperature to rise to metabolise the food, naturally blood vessels/capillaries throughout the entire body dilate with a rise in temperature. so contact inflammation from an irritant? I don't believe so, it's just that the skin of the lips is so thin you can see the cappillaries underneath. My lips don't swell or itch or anything like that. It's a trauma induced wound. Sadly my hypersensitivity caused me to mutilate myself this way from nervously nibbling/biting at them. Longterm, you also forget that it's not just the act of damaging the skin,.. a nervous person will experience a lot more of the flight or fight response.. this will naturally lead to elevated heart rate (panic/fear/anxiety) which is going to cause muscles to sense/ blood vessels to constrict.. dehydration of course would be another byproduct of all that. So dehydration or dry mouth + prolonged nervous biting/nibbling = trauma induced damage. Makes sense doesn't it ?
I've fallen back into the leaving them alone/moisture method.. it just makes sense. But for anyone attempting this can I suggest a few pointers :
1) change your current toothpaste to food grade toothpaste. This will irritate the wound less than chemical grade toothpastes
2) use coconut oil or food grade alternative and keep applying whenever the lips start to dry out
3) avoid dry/windy/cold days, and constantly re-apply the barrier. I think the perfect time to attempt healing is in summer when it's hotter and more humid.. I find the lips are so sensitive they can dry out in a matter of seconds if not careful, even with a warm breeze. If you can jet off to a hot climate for a few months, lucky you !! I think that may help a lot.
4) DO NOT MOUTHBREATHE unless when exercising heavily, and make sure to reapply the barrier throughout. If you can cut down on cardio and do more reistance training this is probably your best bet, although I've noticed my lips drying out super fast when I am lifting weights also. Either way a barrier is essential.
5) Make sure to apply the barrier after brushing teeth and before bed so that the lips are hydrated all night. The night time is a deceivingly vulnerable time, especially for those that breathe through their mouth.. I've noticed a lot less build up in the morning if I make sure to have a barrier on overnight.
6) Do not pick anything off. Remember these are microscopic skin cells trying to heal.. picking of a tiny shard of dead skin might seem like the thing to do, but it may be attached to an area which is benefiting from having that skin on there.
7) f*** people. Let them stare if they want to and stare back if you want to. Life is to short. You'll be dead soon. Stop caring what people think. Those that might judge you for having EC are those you don't want to know, in a sense, they are doing you a favour by letting you know this.
8) Try to avoid foods which have a lot of sickly and greasy sauces, and which are difficult to get into the mouth, i.e. pasta + sauce. Anything that gets on your lips that can't easily be cleaned up with a finger or napkin is probably a bad option for now.
9) Do not get the lips wet in the shower. Shower with your head down to allow the run off around your face and not accross your face and lips. This is easier to do than it sounds.
10) Brush your teeth normally but be mindful about how much contact the neck of the brush is making with your lips. The less sugary/unhealthy foods you eat, the easier it will be to clean your lips without you having to spend as much time on them.
11) ????????????? This is me still experimenting with various topical creams/ointments.. I am thinking about buying Royal Jelly as it apparently contains healthy quantities of niacin (vitamim b3) which naturally dilates blood vessels (even the smallest cappilaries).. in fact there are examples of people on this forum having cured themselves from taking huge doses of b3.. I want to avoid taking it orally at the moment though, but it is interesting and worth investigating.