Apr 28, 2016
What Is Exfoliative Cheilitis?
Periodic dry skin on the lips is common; however, when the condition goes beyond the “typical dry skin” the issue may be a more serious health concern. Exfoliative cheilitis is a progressive skin disorder that affects the lips. Causing inflamed lips, exfoliative cheilitis is also characterized by rapid and continuous peeling of the lips. The peeling associated with exfoliative cheilitis is often involuntary and can be painful if inflammation and peeling progresses.
Several symptoms manifest in conjunction with exfoliative cheilitis. The most common symptoms include peeling of the skin on the lips, dry skin and flaking or chapping of the lips. Additional symptoms include cracks or fissures in the lips, redness, irritation, inflammation, burning or tingling in the lips and overall discomfort.
While rarely reported, exfoliative cheilitis is believed to be caused by stress which may trigger self-damaging behavior. Individuals at a higher risk for developing exfoliative cheilitis are those who breathe through their mouths, suck or lick their lips, frequently pick their lips or bite their lips. Additionally, poor oral hygiene is also considered a predisposing factor. Whatever the cause of the actual condition, excessive keratin buildup is the factor that causes the abnormal peeling in affected individuals.
Natural Chapped Lips Remedy and Treatments for Exfoliative Cheilitis
Chapped and peeling lips are an uncomfortable condition for anyone. Nonetheless, many home remedies can offer relief from both conditions. As the condition is likely connected to a fungal issue, treating it with an antifungal ointment is often effective. An additional chapped lips remedy involves a regimen of borax, hydrogen peroxide, specialized Whole Food shampoo, vegetable glycerin, lanolin, castor oil and purified water. Using these items to cleanse and coat the lips strengthens the skin and corrects abnormal peeling. Likewise, applying a cold compress with vinegar and water daily as well as taking probiotics and completing a natural cleanse should help treat the underlying issues causing exfoliative cheilitis.
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Remedies for Exfoliative Cheilitis
My lips started peeling like crazy when I returned from a trip to the hottest part of California. Several times a day they would peel. The skin would come off only to repeat the process again and again. I tried everything I could think of to cure it. Then, I searched the internet high and low and found that angular cheilitis was found to be a yeast infection on the corner of the mouth, so I thought maybe this was too. I went to the store and bought a generic Miconazole Nitrate cream (2%). It is marketed as a vaginal antifungal cream. Disregarding the applicators, I applied it daily several times a day to my lips and on the skin just above and below. I could tell after 4 days that it was slowly improving the condition. It took the full seven days to be almost completely healed. I used it a few days longer (3x a day) just to be sure it was completely gone. (I will add that I'm in good health and felt pretty certain that I did not have a vaginal yeast infection or a systemic yeast infection, so this condition is just so bizarre! )
I've read blogs on the internet from people saying they have suffered from this for ten years, and no doctor or dermatologist could help the situation! It does not want to go away on it's own! I found certain irritants that made it much worse. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in my toothpaste was the first culprit. I started brushing with a homemade paste of baking soda and coconut oil mixed with some cinnamon essential oil. The next major irritant that was setting me back during the healing process was nonorganic coffee, tea, and hot cocoa. Those products would cause my lips to peel within half an hour to an hour after drinking them, but when I switched to organic coffee, etc. they would not peel. I think it was those terrible chemicals/pesticides that caused the yeast to multiply profusely.
I suffered the anxiety and embarrassment of this for about seven months, and I am so relieved and grateful to have it gone. I truly hope that this post helps someone else who is suffering from this condition!
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Posted by Lynn (Wisconsin, US) on 01/29/2015
I have had exfoliative chelitis for 2 years and nothing seemed to help. I have seen great improvement using 10% Calendula officinalis gel from health food store. I have been applying it 2x/day and using coconut oil as lip balm. Condition is much improved. I only wish my Dermatologist knew about this treatment when this all started.
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Posted by Reshae (Georgia, US) on 08/29/2014
September of 2013 I noticed my lips were peeling and really dry. I applied Vaseline and thought nothing if it. The next day the dryness was a little worse. It seemed as though every time I wet my lips the dryness would come back almost instantly and my lips became sore. This continued for a few days, until on maybe the third day my lips begin to peel profusely. I was losing layers and layers of skin off my lips. Sometimes I would peel the skin off and other times it would just fall off on its own. My lips would become white when in contact with water.
I thought to myself what could I have done to cause this? I believed it was an allergic reaction, but to what? I thought back when I had used Carmex on my lips for two nights in a row. Carmex contains ingredients that causes lips to peel because it is not actually for the lips. It's for the peeling of cold sores. To make a long story short to get cured I used hydrocortizone 0.1. Only a little because this helped peel off the dead skin from my lips.
I believe this helped some but what helped me the most is taking fish oil pills 3 times a day. It gives the directions on the bottle. What fish oil does is not only lubricates from the inside but also thins your blood. This isn't a bad thing being that the allergic reaction from Carmex was still in my blood. Also, during my healing process I used aquaphor. Other natural oils may help, but aquaphor worked the best for me because it's not only a good moisturizer but it hides the peeling really well while you're healing yourself. You only have to apply a small amount. Along with that I made sure to eat healthy and fresh foods and got plenty of exercise. I had Exfoliative Cheilitis for about 6 or 7 months. I discovered taking fish oil maybe on the 5th or 6th month. I was cured in maybe a month in a half. I hope this helps someone.
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New York, New York
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Posted by Dee (Tulsa, Ok) on 12/01/2012
I've had this problem for over four months. I thought it was just extremely dry/chapped lips, but when it got really bad I went looking for solutions on the web, and I discovered that it was actually exfoliative cheilitis. The cause is unknown and there's no "official" medical treatment. Doctors and dermatologists are completely clueless. Ugh! Anyway, after days and days of researching and reading peoples' experiences on other websites, it became apparent that almost no one had found a cure. So, I decided to try something I haven't seen anybody try yet.
This protocol was inspired by popular [Ted's] remedies here on EC. I'm working under the assumption that this is some kind of bacterial and/or fungal infection.
This is what I used:
Borax ("20 Mule Team")
3% hydrogen peroxide
Whole Foods "365" shampoo
Pure HPA lanolin ("Lansinoh")
Pure cold pressed Castor oil ("Home Health")
Bottled purified water
I prepared these solutions and kept them handy by the sink:
---> Borax solution (dissolve 2 Tablespoons of borax in 1 liter/quart of purified water). This amount should be enough to last about four days.
---> Borax/hydrogen peroxide solution (4 parts borax solution and 1 part hydrogen peroxide). Put it in a one liter/quart bottle.
---> Shampoo solution (1 part mild natural shampoo and 1 part purified water). An 8-ounce bottle of this would be enough to last a long time.
THIS IS MY PROTOCOL: I did this routine twice a day (morning after breakfast, and evening after dinner). It takes about 5 minutes.
Brush teeth with water only (no toothpaste! ) to remove food particles. Rinse.
Pour some of the borax/hydrogen peroxide solution into a glass. Wet toothbrush with the borax/hp solution and brush teeth. Rinse mouth with borax/hp solution.
Then wash lips very gently with the mild shampoo solution. Rinse well.
Take another sip of the borax/hp solution and gargle and swish with it for about 20 seconds. Spit it out. Rinse mouth with more borax/hp solution.
Pat-dry the skin surrounding the lips. Then wet the lips with the borax/hp solution and allow to air dry. Then gently apply glycerin to lips, and then a thin coating (one tiny drop) of castor oil.
I did this routine twice a day (morning after breakfast, and evening after dinner). After lunch I only brushed with water and/or borax solution and re-applied the glycerin and castor oil. The thick flakes/crusts on my lips fell off on the third and fourth day after I started with this protocol, leaving smooth lips. They were a little raw/inflamed where the crusts had been, but I continued with the protocol for a couple more days. Don't rub or pull the dead skin flakes/crusts. If they didn't fall off during all the washing and rinsing, just leave them alone. They'll fall off when they're ready.
Same as Week 1, but using the borax solution only (no hydrogen peroxide), and Lansinoh instead of glycerin.
I'm still doing this routine twice a day. I'm at the end of week 2, and my lips are still soft and have not hardened or peeled at all. But they're still delicate and a bit sensitive. I'll continue the same protocol as my 'Week 2' for another week and see if I need to make changes. I'm very happy with the results of this method so far. I carry some of the borax solution in a little plastic bottle and the Lansinoh with me in case I need to use them when I'm out.
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