Nine days ago I ended my No Lip Balm Experiment (lasting about two months) and started using a lib balm again. This is the summary of the first nine days.
This affected my lips right away; about 45 minutes after the procedure the first big crust fell right of. It was like it just melted away (the lip balm made it so soft). A couple of hours later the second one fell of. About a day later, the third one.
"Normal" after 72 hours
On the first two days my lower lip looked swollen and red, but on the third day, it actually looked fairy normal (just a little yellow crust in the upper left side). This was by far one of my better days all summer, I did not worry about my lip at all, it looked alright, I felt "normal", had tons of energy. I realized how much my exfoliative cheilitis had been affecting my energy level, even though my mood had been pretty balanced. To top it off I gave my first speech at my Toastmasters club. That was a perfect day. I felt hope. The second day was almost the same. My lip looked a little bit chapped, but great compared to what I have been used to this summer. Maybe the worst was over now?
The peeling continues
During the fifth and sixth day I realized it was not. The lip balm kept my lip from drying out, but the exfoliation cycle started all over again, beginning from the vermillion border. I also noticed some other symptoms, one or two red spots on my lower lip, looking almost like blisters but more like they were under the skin, and the corner of my mouth became red and irritating. This could be oral herpes symptoms, so I took an extra Valtrex pill that day (two of my doctors believed I had oral herpes in the beginning of the summer - read My Story for more details).
The following day was a hard one mentally for me. The "blisters" were less visible, but the skin on my lower lips was building up into yellow thick crusts again, my lip was red and swollen and I felt like I could not take anymore. My lip balm had sort of been my last hope, but now I understood that my lips would not heal up that easy.
Red and raw
That night I put on more lip balm and went to bed. Same thing the next day. Yesterday I did the same thing and slowly and as gently as I could peeled of almost the whole layer of skin from the lower lip. It did hurt a little bit, and I thought to myself that this was probably not a good idea, but a part of me wanted to see what would happen. Maybe constant peeling is a positive thing, instead of letting the lip build up? Whatever the answer is to that question, at that moment I did not care. Off with it all (except for a small yellow crust on my left side), leaving my lip very red and raw the first couple of hours. After five hours they slowly began to take on a more pinkish tone.
The journey continues
Today my lip look so-so. There is a red line across the middle of the lip which still looks a bit raw, but it does not feel sensitive at all. I have realized that this journey will continue wether I feel ready or not. I have accepted that. From now on it's one day at a time.