Sunday, September 6, 2009

No Lip Balm Experiment Postmortem

On monday evening last week I decided to end my No Lip Balm Experiment, and I used a lip balm again for the first time in 62 days (I'm on day 6 now). Here is a short summary of the experiment:

What happened to my lips during this time?

When I stopped using a lip balm the skin on my lower lip soon turned into big white crusts, which fell of in 4-10 day cycles. The skin underneath usually looked and felt pretty normal, although a little red and sensitive. In the beginning there were more smaller crusts forming on my lip, but after a couple of weeks there was usually just two big ones, on the left and right side, which fell of at different times (like there was different peeling cycles for the right and left side of my lip). The peeling cycle seemed to slow down a little bit after a couple of weeks, but did not stop entirely.

I did not notice any significant improvement really when I compared the pictures from the first weeks with pictures from last week. The crusts were not so big and seemed a little thinner in the last weeks but that was probably because I trimmed them on a daily basis so they never got to build up.

One surprise though was that my lips turned out to be much more elastic than I thought they would be.

Stress and Mental health

The experiment was extremely challenging. I was able to maintain a pretty stable mood during the whole thing but it always felt like I was walking on a tight rope above a bottomless black pit of madness and depression. I did my best to keep calm by tuning out my feelings of frustration and instead focusing on the good things in my life. That strategy worked pretty well. Acceptance training and practicing openness about my condition also worked. Same for spending time with family and friends, and keeping busy with things I like doing. But it was very, very tough time for me.

I will probably write a longer post on my strategies for maintaining a balanced mood and coping with stress in the future

Reasons for ending the experiment

The main reason was that I did not see and feel any significant improvement, but I also choose to tune into my feelings about this and realized I did not want to have to deal with the stress of a chapped and crusty lower lip anymore, when a option was available (lip balm). I felt that I had really stretched my comfort zone during these 62 days, but I was not so sure I could go on anymore (just to see what would happen) and maintain my mental health. I suddenly felt extremely tired and done with the whole thing.


In my case, 62 days without a lip balm did not result in any significant improvement for my lips. There is always a possibility that 62 days was too short a time, and that other people will get other results from a similar test.

If you have any questions about my experiment just send me an email. Even though the experiment is over, I will continue blogging about my exfoliative cheilitis.

No Lip Balm Experiment - Day 40-60


  1. I think you are pretty brave too! I have psoriasis and it affects my face and whole body. Although I treat it with drugs successfully most of the time. I've lived an entire life with the pain of how it feels and the insecurity of how it looks. I've consider myself very blessed to have come through the physical as well as the emotional pain of it all, with a better and stronger outlook on life than I ever imagined I could. Thanks for sharing your story! Yes , you are very very brave!