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Old 11-04-2003, 05:57 AM   #1
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meliny HB User
Unhappy Ex-picker's peeling lips

Hello everybody...

I'm new to the board but have been an onlooker for quite a while. I have EXACTLY the same problem as novembre, mitch314 and slave (these are the posts I've found).

I picked at the dry skin on my lips since I was in grade school (I'm now in my mid-20's). Sometimes, throughout highschool/university, when things got intense, I would pick at them until they bled. Last month I kicked the habit, simply because I didn't want to be dependant on this compulsion.

However, I noticed right away that the skin on both lips refused to form to a sustainable level.... it just peeled off after a couple of days. I found posts within this community of people who had the same problem after years, which gives me very little hope that I can ever have normal lips again. Mitch314 had hypothesized that the lips had formed a blister, which now keeps exfoliating as a protection barrier.

I visited my doctor and dentist recently and they both checked my lips for any signs of trauma, but both said they looked pretty normal except, obviously, for an accumulation of thin dead skin.

Many users have mentioned that they've seen a couple of dermatologists on the matter, to no avail. My question to any ex-picker or ex-biters out there: has any doctor mentioned any long-term dangers of this bad habit? (other than the nuisance of sloughing off dead skin every few days). For example, has anyone been informed of any increased risk of cancer or other problems due to the rapid cell regeneration that has to take place to keep our lips covered?

The peeling itself does not bother me that much - I guess I can't change what's been done and if I was still picking my lips, I would have no idea I even have a problem. I am concerned, however, if more major steps need to be taken to correct the problem due to possible long term complications.

Please keep in mind that this problem differs from cheilitis - there is no swelling or irritation of the lip that causes peeling, the lips peel cause the skin is thin and fragile.

Any feedback would be very much appreciated!

 
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Old 11-04-2003, 08:29 PM   #2
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honeybee81 HB User
another ex-picker

Add me to your list of fellow ex-pickers with the same problem. I have asked my doctor, dentist and dermatologist about it and none can come up with any ideas or even act like it's a big deal. I've tried every kind of lip balm. Vaseline is pretty good, but a few months ago I ordered a lip balm kit off eBay and made my own out of shea butter, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, beeswax and vanilla flavoring. I assumed it wasn't getting better because of irritating ingredients in lip balms/ lipsticks so I stopped using anything but that. It hasn't gotten any better but it does seem to be less irritating. Anything with mint (burt's bees is one) stings really bad. My lips completely peel about every other day, usually in the shower at the end I will rub some of the skin off. It's so annoying and it looks really gross by the second day when they start to crack and get all wrinkly. I just use lip balm religiously and try not to pick. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful, but you're not alone.
If anyone else has any tips on this problem, please let us know. Thanks!

 
Old 11-05-2003, 05:36 AM   #3
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meliny HB User
lips

Hey Honeybee81

Thanks so much for replying. To tell you the truth, I know there are much worse things in life than lips that exfoliate like crazy, its just a nuisance sometimes, especially since I have a boyfriend who loves being affectionate, and I have to think "I hope part of my lips don't fall off after I kiss him!!"

I will definitely let you and others know if I can successfully beat this problem. I'm somewhat relieved to hear that the docs on your side also don't seem to think its a big deal - mine keep telling me "Just don't pick at it and it'll grow back". Obviously, none of them ever picked at their lips!!

I use Aquaphor on my lips when they dry out, and after a peeling espisode, sometimes I will be brave and wear a little lipstick. But mainly, I don't want to be a slave to this condition, or spend the rest of my life catering to my lips. As long as there are no long-term worries, I think I'll make it!

Good luck Honeybee81, I hope others with this problem send us a line (or advice) too!

 
Old 11-05-2003, 12:12 PM   #4
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Soar HB User
[QUOTE=meliny]Hey Honeybee81

Thanks so much for replying. To tell you the truth, I know there are much worse things in life than lips that exfoliate like crazy, its just a nuisance


I use Aquaphor on my lips when they dry out, and after a peeling espisode, sometimes I will be brave and wear a little lipstick. But mainly, I don't want to be a slave to this condition, or spend the rest of my life catering to my lips. As long as there are no long-term worries, I think I'll make it!

Good luck Honeybee81, I hope others with this problem send us a line (or advice) too![/QUOTE]

[COLOR=Red]Hey there!!! I just posted not too long ago--my lips do that peeling stuff too and it is sooo bothersome. However, mine flare up and get really red, and they hurt-under stress. So, Aquaphor works!? Yeah, i do not want to be constantly focused on my lips and worry whether or not skin is going to be hanging out on my lips at a nice dinner or social occasion. It is my embarrassment-they are constantly dry and i wanna go a day or more without my lips being the topic of my conversations. Ugh!!!![/COLOR]

 
Old 11-05-2003, 06:38 PM   #5
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meliny HB User
lips

hey soar...

Speaking of Aquaphor, no, nothing really works, its just an alternative to Vaseline. The main ingredients in Aquaphor are petroletum and mineral oil, but I've heard from countless people that it lasts longer cause its in a heavier base. For a while I tried Vitamin E ointment from the health food store but it made my lips all nasty and white (even before they started to dry). I think I'll try jojoba oil or cocoa butter next... we'll see....

Good luck!

 
Old 11-05-2003, 08:54 PM   #6
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MiffyBunny HB User
I am a picker, too. My lips are drier since I am on the pill. The best lip balm I tried so far is the one from Neutrogena but it is very greasy.
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21 yrs old, female =)

 
Old 11-24-2003, 02:52 PM   #7
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meliny HB User
Re: Ex-picker's peeling lips

Just thought I'd bump this up with an update.....

Today I saw a "Specialist of Diseases of the Skin" - which I think is a glorified term for a very experienced dermatologist, who looked at my lips and listened to my description of the situation. She basically said that after years of picking, the skin has started to grow back thicker as the body's natural way of protecting itself. She also said, however, that in time this will work itself out, as the body continuously heals and regenerates (but I have to be patient). She hypothesized it would take a little time (weeks to months) for the lips to get back to normal, and prescribed Prevex HC (a mild steroid) to use if I ever feel inflamation or soreness.

However, she also suggested a good natural moisturizer be used religiously. I thought this was particularly important for those who have posted saying that they avoid lip moisturizers cause they feel that they make the skin peel faster. Its true, the skin will peel faster, but by drying the lips out just to preserve the layer of skin for a few more days, you are ultimately doing more harm than good. The overall healing process is delayed in the long run (the drier the skin, the thicker it grows back).

I picked up L'Occitane 100% shea butter and its awesome: absorbs quickly, not too shiny and lasts for hours. It also has a natural SPF of about 10 and repels water, so its perfect for those times I can't get my hands on a straw (to drink).

Anyways I hope this helps fellow ex-pickers out there. And by the way, she also said that there are no long-term concerns of repeated picking/biting of the lips (such as cancer), but for those of you that still pick, you are opening the door to possible infections and/or sores. So stop!

 
Old 11-27-2003, 10:09 AM   #8
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slee6956 HB User
Re: Ex-picker's peeling lips

I just realized I have the same problem!! I didn't think anyone else had this problem. I'll try to start using more moisture on them, I too was constantly trying to keep them from peeling off and therefore making them very very dry.

My doctor said that petroleum jelly was absolutely terrible - it is the same thing used to lubricate your car engine parts and is derived from crude oil. So needless to say I'm going to try jojoba oil or shea butter.

I don't think I have cheilitis either cause my lips don't flare up at all, the skin just grows back very thick, cracks and peels. If anyone else out there has a similar problem, PLEASE write back with feedback!

 
Old 11-27-2003, 10:33 AM   #9
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Soar HB User
Re: Ex-picker's peeling lips

Slee, I never knew vaseline was soooo bad to use on the lips....I love the stuff---nothing works better. Hmmmmm... Cheilitis? My lips flare and they do peel and and crack on the corners and it is annoying. I am currently being treated for a vaginal yeast infection and it may be related to the cracks and jazz on my lips....So horrible i tell ya....

 
Old 11-27-2003, 12:17 PM   #10
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slee6956 HB User
Re: Ex-picker's peeling lips

Soar - {removed}

It's a good article called "Why natural lip balms work best".

[I]Please read posting rules,do not post copyrighted material or links.[/I]

Last edited by Modinatrix21; 09-17-2004 at 06:26 PM. Reason: Please read board guidelines.

 
Old 12-01-2003, 06:23 AM   #11
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littlesandy HB User
Re: Ex-picker's peeling lips

I have tried to stop picking at my lips - I've even tried hypnosis, the rubberband-snapping thing, and casually weaning myself off it. But I can't stop!! I stopped for about a month and the same thing happened to me - the skin would just grow back thicker and peel off. It looked so gross that I ended up just picking off the dead skin... so its a cycle for me! I'm 25 and have been doing this since I was 10. PLEASE, can anyone recommend a good NON-PETROLEUM based moisturizer to help me with the dryness? I've tried shea butter - but I keep eating it off!! Gross, I know. PLEASE HELP!

 
Old 12-02-2003, 05:06 AM   #12
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slee6956 HB User
Re: Ex-picker's peeling lips

I live in Toronto, and I just attended the One-of-a-Kind Arts and Crafts show. There was a booth set up for "Earth to Body" Skin Care, and I picked up a tube of Emu Oil lip balm. Its fabulous!! The ingredients are emu oil, sweet almond oil, avacado oil, aloe vera, beeswax, lavender oil, tea tree oil, lime oil and lemon seed extract. That's it! No chemicals! It goes on VERY smoothly, no tugging or waxy feeling. My lips feel much improved after just two days. {removed} I'm sure you can find similar products wherever you are - {removed}


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Last edited by Modinatrix21; 09-17-2004 at 06:29 PM. Reason: Please read board guidelines. Links are not allowed

 
Old 12-09-2003, 12:15 AM   #13
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Truffles HB User
Lightbulb Re: Ex-picker's peeling lips

Hi
I've read something on dry lips, but not about it continuing to be dry after you stop picking. I read that dry lips (one cause could be) are one of the first signs of dehydration. Do you drink enough liquids? I recently got dry lips due to medication. I hate it too! They're cracked and bleed. I use a lip balm that is good for sun burned lips. Works for me for a bit. Hopefully once I stop the meds. it'll be okay.
Take care

 
Old 12-14-2003, 04:22 PM   #14
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novembre HB User
Re: Ex-picker's peeling lips

Hey! I'm one of the people mentioned in the original post. I haven't posted here in a few months because I've just resigned myself to the problem. I've been coping with it by keeping my lips moist with Aquaphor and then every other day or so the skin is ready to come off, and I basically use my toothbrush to exfoliate. I'm much happier now that I'm not so worried about my lips' appearance, but I do wish the problem would go away because I don't want to keep peeling skin off my lips.

Not using moisturizer on my lips is simply out of the question, so I'm glad at least one doctor has said it doesn't help. It is excruciating and looks disgusting, as I expressed when I posted about it months ago. After a few days of lips not peeling and not using moisturizer, I could barely yawn or smile, and I had to be very careful with what I ate so it wouldn't bother my lips. It was terrible. I felt like my lips had become one big scab. I'd end up using Aquaphor overnight so I could peel it off in the morning, and it was such a relief.

I've heard the bad things about Aquaphor's ingredients, but I wasn't sure what else to use. To the original poster or anyone with the same problem: Have you had good results with the shea butter or any other "natural" moisturizer, and what kind do you use?

And [b]Truffles[/b], I'm certain the problem isn't dehydration. It just seems like the lips are damaged due to the trauma of being picked at and/or bitten for years and have a hard time healing.

[b]Soar[/b]- Your problem sounds like cheilitis angularis, where the corners of the lips are red and cracked.

 
Old 12-15-2003, 07:41 AM   #15
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meliny HB User
Re: Ex-picker's peeling lips

Hi novembre! I wondered about you... I'm glad to hear that the reason you've stayed away is cause the problem doesn't rule your life anymore. I'm getting there too, more and more each day.

My dermatologist, when I saw her last month, recommended "Ceralip" along with Prevex HC (mild steroid). I only picked up the Ceralip last week but I must say, its really good. It does NOT have petrolatum in it and does have stuff like shea butter, beeswax, vitamin e, etc. I was using the L'Occitane shea butter for about 3 weeks but stopped immediately after I discovered Ceralip (so much better!!)

The lip balm formula absorbs well. The peeling cycle is about the same (2-3 days) but I don't let it bother me that much. Its as much a part of my routine now as washing my hair!

Novembre, although I initially started using Aquaphor, I stopped after realizing my lips started feeling a bit swollen and the peeling skin felt a little too sticky. With Ceralip I don't have that problem, the lips don't even go white anymore in the shower, while brushing teeth, etc. I actually have to rub quite vigorously to get them off after two days, and the skin underneath is not raw-feeling as it was with the Aquaphor. I really think you should try it. {removed}
Other than that, I have another dermatologist appointment with a different doctor on January 5th. I'm seeing him because the dermatologist I previously visited suggested I see him as well to give me peace of mind (I guess she could tell I was letting this condition get the best of me). I'll definitely post the results of that appointment.

Good luck novembre!

Last edited by Modinatrix21; 09-17-2004 at 06:31 PM. Reason: Please read board guidelines. Links are not allowed

 
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