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Lip Inflammation, Constant Peeling And Redness

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gluten-free Lover - Thanks for your response. I have been tested for other Autoimmune diseases but nothing came up. I've been using SLS free toothpaste and just recently changed my shampoo and conditioner to one that is SLS free. I guess i could try a fluoride and sls free toothpaste and see what happens. It is such a terrible condition most the time there are flakes of dead skin all over my lips - i feel bad for exfoliating the skin off (thinking i might be damaging them more) but i can't go to uni/work with all the dead skin on my lips (although for 8 months i did leave it as is which didn't change anything). At the moment i'm on a paleo diet just to see if i'm allergic to any foods but my lips are the same so far :(

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gluten-free Lover - Thanks for your response. I have been tested for other Autoimmune diseases but nothing came up. I've been using SLS free toothpaste and just recently changed my shampoo and conditioner to one that is SLS free. I guess i could try a fluoride and sls free toothpaste and see what happens. It is such a terrible condition most the time there are flakes of dead skin all over my lips - i feel bad for exfoliating the skin off (thinking i might be damaging them more) but i can't go to uni/work with all the dead skin on my lips (although for 8 months i did leave it as is which didn't change anything). At the moment i'm on a paleo diet just to see if i'm allergic to any foods but my lips are the same so far :(

Hi, i suggest you do not exfoliate your skin, for the lips it is a very sensitive area that gets traumatised very easily. Fot me i just basically use something like pure shea butter and try not to pull the flakes off.

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Larkie - i don't actually exfoliate everyday - i have a 3-4 day peeling cycle so on the 3rd or 4th day i just moisturise a lot using coconut oil (sometimes lanolin lip balm) and the skin loosens up and usually comes off easily. I do think that this is an internal problem (or an allergy) so i guess it wouldn't hurt to loosen up the skin a bit so that it can easily come off. I have to admit i sometimes do pull at the skin it's just so irritating. I do think that my lip peeling was caused by celiac disease (not sure why it still isn't getting better - it has slightly improved though since following the diet). Maybe you should get tested for celiac disease, do you have any digestive issues?

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Larkie - i don't actually exfoliate everyday - i have a 3-4 day peeling cycle so on the 3rd or 4th day i just moisturise a lot using coconut oil (sometimes lanolin lip balm) and the skin loosens up and usually comes off easily. I do think that this is an internal problem (or an allergy) so i guess it wouldn't hurt to loosen up the skin a bit so that it can easily come off. I have to admit i sometimes do pull at the skin it's just so irritating. I do think that my lip peeling was caused by celiac disease (not sure why it still isn't getting better - it has slightly improved though since following the diet). Maybe you should get tested for celiac disease, do you have any digestive issues?

I asked the countless derms i have seen and they just disagreed with any tests i wanted to do. I do not have any digestive issues, but im just thinking this may be toxic in my body, i only have bowel movements like 3 times a week since forever, i only have skin issues that showed up 3 months+ ago, my skin is now dry and my lips and around peel more when i eat certain food, like fried tofu & chicken from a certain stall, but i have no idea why that happens, maybe something in their coating that i cant handle. I have another appointment in 2 months maybe i can ask then.

I still think you should not pick at your lips, since it can develop into full blown exfoliative cheilitis, maybe you should gently put on the moisturizer and if it wants to fall, let it fall on its own.

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Larkie - Thanks for your response. I've been to two dermatologists and an allergist, they all gave me steroid creams to apply which didn't have any affect on my lips. I've booked an appointment to see an oral specialist next week hopefully she will be helpful. I've also read about the liver and colon cleansing but i'm not sure if it's safe - that will be my last resort to be honest. At the moment i'm focusing on accepting this condition and making life less stressful :) At least moisturizing helps stop the peeling (although temporarily) for you - my lips still peel even if I moisturize them 24/7. 

 

Haunted Eyes - Thank you so much for your detailed response. I really appreciate it. What testing did you do to find out you have all these food allergies? I went to an allergist here and she said that she had never seen this lip problem before and it was unlikely that a food allergy was causing the peeling. She didn't do any testing at that time (although a year back i did get a prick test done for another issue and no food allergies showed up only mild dustmite allergies). 

For me, the peeling has either been low iron or food allergy (due to oral allergy syndrome, which is not a common allergic reaction), or exposure to gluten. Celiacs can get angular chelitis, which can be caused by nutritional deficiencies. When I researched angular chelitis, I saw that lots of times it was due to low B vitamins, or low iron. If you get gluten when you are celiac, you damage the intestines which then makes it difficult to get the proper nutrients out of the food you eat ... which also means vitamin supplements you may eat, thus malnutrition. I tried B vitamins, and that didn't effect the lip cracking, peeling, burning that I was getting, but did help with other health issues. I then tried iron supplements, and the burning around my mouth went away within hours, and the lip cracking and peeling improved hourly to totally clear within one or two days, three days if it was really bad. 

 

Sometimes when I do get the facial swelling and the lip swelling from a food (think lips swelling bigger than Loretta Switt's would look like if she were doing botox injections), the swelling causes blistering, lip cracking, peeling and burning. It is an allergic reaction, but is called oral allergy syndrome because it is actually an allergy to an environmental allergy. The immune system is just confusing the proteins in the environmental allergens with the proteins in the food. So technically, you aren't allergic to the food, but you are having an allergic reaction to it because of your allergy to the environmental allergen. If you get your body to where it doesn't react as much to the environmental allergen, and avoid the problem food, then eventually your body may stop confusing the food with the environmental allergen and you may be able to add that food back in. 

 

For myself, when I react to the foods, the FIRST reactions I get may be some burning inside my mouth, lip swelling toward the middle of my upper lip, and then some burning around my mouth which may or may not include some itching. If it progresses, the lips start to crack and peel, swell more. If it gets worse, I can get blisters, crusting, and lots of itching. The worst reactions I have had had progressed to eyelid swelling (itch and burn) and facial swelling, with the eyes swelling so badly my eyes were swollen shut.

 

I have been doing allergy shots for my environmental allergens for several years; I had about 13 of them (including cedar, elm, bermuda grass, three types of mold, dust, cats, dogs, horses, cottonwood, and some other trees). After about 3 years of the shots, I now only show mild allergy to the cedar, dogs, dust, and misc. trees and am continuing the shots for these). My allergist thinks it's either the cedar or dust that are causing the oral allergies to the foods, with the most likely culprit the dust. He said even mild, the body could be really, really not liking the dust allergens.

 

The allergist said that when the environmental allergens get in the air, you actually swallow a lot of them (one reason why dust is so bad ... there can be lots of dust around, so lots swallowed). The swallowed allergens get to the stomach where a person who has problems with them can get all sorts of gastrointestinal issues from it, or the confusion I mentioned above where the body thinks the proteins in the environmental allergen are the same as the problem foods (because their proteins are actually pretty similar), so it triggers an immune response to the foods.

 

Anyhow, if you want to try some iron to see if it helps, make sure to take it with food, and I'd advise with something with Vitamin C. Iron is best absorbed with protein and Vitamin C, and can make a person nauseous if you don't take with food. I wouldn't take iron long term unless you know you're outright anemic, but periodically when you have the lip issues (if you find it helps you). You can be temporarily low on iron due to fasting. You may not deliberately be fasting, but perhaps just not feeling well so not eating much or maybe on a diet. I.e., Just this past week I wasn't outright fasting, but for a few days had a bad migraine, so I was barely eating ... the lip cracking, peeling and burning started up again from that. I took an iron supplement for three days and that cleared right up.

 

For my allergy testings, I had skin prick tests (IgE), Elisa blood testing (IgE and IgG), Entero Lab's stool testing (IgA), plus the typical celiac diagnosing testing, and then basic elimination diet trial and error. While the validity of some of the various allergy testings is controversial depending on who you talk with, all of the testing has been accurate for me because I notice reactions to all of the items that turned up as problematic immune response items on the tests (reactions including gastritis flare ups, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, edema, muscle pain, migraines, eye twitching, swelling, hives, nerve damage, etc.). I've actually had the least accuracy with the skin prick testing, I think because I tend to have delayed IgE immune responses, so they're not seeing the immediate responses an allergist wants to see in the office when they do the skin prick.

 

All of my bad reactions improve if I avoid the items from the tests. The immune system is weird, and is very individualized; not everyone reacts the same nor to the same degree. Immunology is still probably about where brain surgery is at ... there is still a lot doctors don't know, and they're still learning. They know a lot, but it's still pretty new science. 

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For me, the peeling has either been low iron or food allergy (due to oral allergy syndrome, which is not a common allergic reaction), or exposure to gluten. Celiacs can get angular chelitis, which can be caused by nutritional deficiencies. When I researched angular chelitis, I saw that lots of times it was due to low B vitamins, or low iron. If you get gluten when you are celiac, you damage the intestines which then makes it difficult to get the proper nutrients out of the food you eat ... which also means vitamin supplements you may eat, thus malnutrition. I tried B vitamins, and that didn't effect the lip cracking, peeling, burning that I was getting, but did help with other health issues. I then tried iron supplements, and the burning around my mouth went away within hours, and the lip cracking and peeling improved hourly to totally clear within one or two days, three days if it was really bad.

Sometimes when I do get the facial swelling and the lip swelling from a food (think lips swelling bigger than Loretta Switt's would look like if she were doing botox injections), the swelling causes blistering, lip cracking, peeling and burning. It is an allergic reaction, but is called oral allergy syndrome because it is actually an allergy to an environmental allergy. The immune system is just confusing the proteins in the environmental allergens with the proteins in the food. So technically, you aren't allergic to the food, but you are having an allergic reaction to it because of your allergy to the environmental allergen. If you get your body to where it doesn't react as much to the environmental allergen, and avoid the problem food, then eventually your body may stop confusing the food with the environmental allergen and you may be able to add that food back in.

For myself, when I react to the foods, the FIRST reactions I get may be some burning inside my mouth, lip swelling toward the middle of my upper lip, and then some burning around my mouth which may or may not include some itching. If it progresses, the lips start to crack and peel, swell more. If it gets worse, I can get blisters, crusting, and lots of itching. The worst reactions I have had had progressed to eyelid swelling (itch and burn) and facial swelling, with the eyes swelling so badly my eyes were swollen shut.

I have been doing allergy shots for my environmental allergens for several years; I had about 13 of them (including cedar, elm, bermuda grass, three types of mold, dust, cats, dogs, horses, cottonwood, and some other trees). After about 3 years of the shots, I now only show mild allergy to the cedar, dogs, dust, and misc. trees and am continuing the shots for these). My allergist thinks it's either the cedar or dust that are causing the oral allergies to the foods, with the most likely culprit the dust. He said even mild, the body could be really, really not liking the dust allergens.

The allergist said that when the environmental allergens get in the air, you actually swallow a lot of them (one reason why dust is so bad ... there can be lots of dust around, so lots swallowed). The swallowed allergens get to the stomach where a person who has problems with them can get all sorts of gastrointestinal issues from it, or the confusion I mentioned above where the body thinks the proteins in the environmental allergen are the same as the problem foods (because their proteins are actually pretty similar), so it triggers an immune response to the foods.

Anyhow, if you want to try some iron to see if it helps, make sure to take it with food, and I'd advise with something with Vitamin C. Iron is best absorbed with protein and Vitamin C, and can make a person nauseous if you don't take with food. I wouldn't take iron long term unless you know you're outright anemic, but periodically when you have the lip issues (if you find it helps you). You can be temporarily low on iron due to fasting. You may not deliberately be fasting, but perhaps just not feeling well so not eating much or maybe on a diet. I.e., Just this past week I wasn't outright fasting, but for a few days had a bad migraine, so I was barely eating ... the lip cracking, peeling and burning started up again from that. I took an iron supplement for three days and that cleared right up.

For my allergy testings, I had skin prick tests (IgE), Elisa blood testing (IgE and IgG), Entero Lab's stool testing (IgA), plus the typical celiac diagnosing testing, and then basic elimination diet trial and error. While the validity of some of the various allergy testings is controversial depending on who you talk with, all of the testing has been accurate for me because I notice reactions to all of the items that turned up as problematic immune response items on the tests (reactions including gastritis flare ups, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, edema, muscle pain, migraines, eye twitching, swelling, hives, nerve damage, etc.). I've actually had the least accuracy with the skin prick testing, I think because I tend to have delayed IgE immune responses, so they're not seeing the immediate responses an allergist wants to see in the office when they do the skin prick.

All of my bad reactions improve if I avoid the items from the tests. The immune system is weird, and is very individualized; not everyone reacts the same nor to the same degree. Immunology is still probably about where brain surgery is at ... there is still a lot doctors don't know, and they're still learning. They know a lot, but it's still pretty new science.

Well mine is pretty inconsistent with food. I can have redness and peeling after eating a certain thing today, but if i try it another time it wont happen, and i can have redness and peeling right after i wake up and have not eaten a single thing.

I do think about vitamin deficiency but the dermatologists i go to just laughed at that idea. I had hives come and go but i am on antihisamine 24/7 now. If i stop taking a pill for 2 days i have very bad itching all over my body, even my scalp. I have not had any skin problems till recently which was why i thought it was weird but the dermatologists here are not helpful at all. Only thing i was allergic to since i was young was just dust.

It could be an immune system problem though, where your body just constantly attacks itself due to whatever reason. But yeah i agree doctors are still learning.

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HauntedEyes - unfortunately those food allergy tests are not available here in Australia (well not that I know of) and i can't seem to figure it out through an elimination diet. I'm taking iron supplements at the moment with vit c (i've been taking them for a year) but they have not made a difference to my lips. Yes i definitely agree doctors don't know a thing about this problem. Thanks for your help :)

Larkie - i think i do have full blown exfoliative cheilitis :( it's so frustrating i really don't know what to do been suffering with this for a year and a half.

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HauntedEyes - unfortunately those food allergy tests are not available here in Australia (well not that I know of) and i can't seem to figure it out through an elimination diet. I'm taking iron supplements at the moment with vit c (i've been taking them for a year) but they have not made a difference to my lips. Yes i definitely agree doctors don't know a thing about this problem. Thanks for your help :)

Larkie - i think i do have full blown exfoliative cheilitis :( it's so frustrating i really don't know what to do been suffering with this for a year and a half.

Easiest way of knowing if it is exfoliative cheilitis is when you have water on your lips and the skin turn white.

If you do have EC, i would really advise you against peeling them biting the lip skin or even rubbing the skin off. Some developed EC just by doing those things, so it wouldn't be healing at all if you continue to do so. Best way is to eat healthy, since food goes through you mouth and will touch your lips. Moisturize often.

Some said vitamin B complex will help, especially riboflavin but I'm not sure of that as i do not want to take supplements anyhow on my own.

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Yes the skin on my lips does get white when i get water on it. I have a moisturiser that softens the skin and it comes off - is that okay to use? I've tried the vitamin b complex it doesn't make a difference to my lips. I went to an oral specialist today and she was did a swab test of my lips but she said something must be triggering the excess peeling not sure what. She also said it probably isn't a digestive system issue (i.e. Not due to celiac) nor food allergy/intolerance. She gave me a corticosteroid cream to use for 6 weeks - i was a bit reluctant at first but since i've had this issue for so long i figured it can't get any worse (well i hope). Thanks for your suggestions :)

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Yes the skin on my lips does get white when i get water on it. I have a moisturiser that softens the skin and it comes off - is that okay to use? I've tried the vitamin b complex it doesn't make a difference to my lips. I went to an oral specialist today and she was did a swab test of my lips but she said something must be triggering the excess peeling not sure what. She also said it probably isn't a digestive system issue (i.e. Not due to celiac) nor food allergy/intolerance. She gave me a corticosteroid cream to use for 6 weeks - i was a bit reluctant at first but since i've had this issue for so long i figured it can't get any worse (well i hope). Thanks for your suggestions :)

If you apply the moisturizer very gently and it comes off on its own, thats fine, mine does that as well but i have seen improvements on mine after a few weeks of constant moisturizing, still peeling on and around my lips but not as bad as it was.

What is the name of the corticosteroid you were prescribed with? I used hydrocortisone at first when i had very bad peeling lips. It helped but a week after i stopped it came back, and it made the area around my mouth inflammed(where i had accidentally applied too much on)

If you want to try it, its fine to use for a week or 2, but if it is anything stronger than hydrocortisone 1%, i would advise against it since our face absorbs the most at 7% compared to the other parts of the body. It also just hides the symptoms if it is chronic peeling. I would advise you to use it for a day or 2 and see if it helps, if you see any improvement, make it to a week or 2 then stop. If you lips stop peeling after that, good for you. But if it still does you will need to find another way and not depend on the steroid creams.

I have seen almost immediate results after using hydrocortisone 1% cream, the peeling parts were gone, but after i stopped, it came back and i had to depend on it for months. I have heard all the bad side effects and think it is not good for my face to use long-term since i was still dealing with chronic peeling. But you can see how it works for you.

My friend also had a rash and a doctor prescribed a certain steroid cream, it got worse. So steroid creams are not a miracle answer, but most doctors prescribe it since it gets rid of the symptoms, but for chronic problems, it is a temporary solution only

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It's called advantan ointment - i think it is 0.1% methylprednisolone (a steroid). Yep i will see if it makes a difference but i do agree that for EC we must find the cause to permanently get rid of it.

Yeah try it for a few days then update here! I hope it really works for you and isn't chronic EC.

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Hey Larkie! So I've used the steroid cream for about a month now and my lips still constantly peel (now daily unfortunately). So it didn't work for me :( But it did reduce the inflammation and redness on my lips. i've decided that i'm going to gently exfoliate my lips every morning (just using vaseline and a cloth) it makes my life so much easier and that way i'm not constantly thinking about my lips.   How is your condition at the moment? 

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I used to have dry, cracked peeling lips constantly. I tried all kinds of moisturizers but nothing ever helped. And I always had huge chunks of skin peeling off my lips.

In my case, the cause was simple although overlooked by everyone for years: mouth breathing.

I habitually breathes through mouth rather than my nose, which dried out my lips. The dry lips would bother me (hard patches, cracking, peeling skin) so I'd lick them and bite them.... Making them more inflamed and more prone to cracking and peeling.... It was a vicious cycle.

For the past six months, I have made a concerted effort to breathe through my nose - basically retraining myself to break the mouth breathing habit. My lips are clear for the first time in my memory! It is great! I don't need lip balm or anything. They're nice and soft.

Maybe ask yourself if you're a mouth breather. If you catch yourself mouth breathing, try to breathe through your nose instead (all day, even at night) and see if it helps. (When I was getting used to nose breathing, I'd sleep on my side and kind if hook my chin over the edge of the pillow to help keep my mouth closed while I slept).

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Thanks for your reply Ollie's Mom. I am a mouth breather but i've been a mouth breather all my life and my lips only started peeling about a year and a half ago. I did try breathing through my nose for a while but i found it really hard because I have sinus so my nose is always blocked. I think I might try again and this time purchase nose breathing strips which might help as well as try this for longer than a month. Thanks for your suggestion :)

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I have similar symptoms.  I've had two bowel surgeries in the past 7 weeks (dear God, one was enough!).  Nothing really tastes right other than chocolate almond milk and plums.  I'm doing my best to eat as I lost another few pounds that I can't afford to lose. My mouth has a constant burning sensation and my lips are so dry they are peeling.  I make a point to drink water and apply vaseline every time I wake during the night. Hubs and I thought it must be from the meds, but I think it's more.  I did a little research and it seems to be connected to Sjogren's Disease (yes, I tested positive for this, but haven't really had any problems with it).  I hope you resolve your problem, please keep posting.  I'm anxious to hear what you find out. 

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Thanks Gilligan for your response. I've basically tried everything but to no avail. It's such an annoying symptom. I plan on just moisturising all the time since it helps. I tested negative for Sjogren's Disease so it is definitely not that. I feel like it might be eczema since I have had eczema around my lips before. I will keep you posted though if anything works. 

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I've had peeling lips for over 3 years now. What helps my lips the most is taking HCL with every meal. Another thing...I've been grain free for the most part for helping to keep my weight down. But I had noticed a few times after eating bread products, that my lips would improve significantly. So I'm eating einkorn wheat and taking HCL and have had the most improvement since it started which was around menopause. The burning at the beginning was really bad until I got off of coffee and the burning stopped. I read that coffee was a hormone disruptor. I don't know what the conclusion will be but thought I would give you my 2 cents thus far.

Edited by Jer22v3

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@scorpio it has now been almost 2 years and I am curious if you ever found something that worked for you. My boyfriend suffers from EC as well and I am desperate to find a resolution for his sake. He's been dealing with it for over a year now and it is taking a toll on his work and social life.

 

Any updates would be helpful

Edited by CleoTheLeo

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Update: I have been taking Chanca Piedra (specifically, Royal Break-Stone, by Whole World Botanicals) on an empty stomach in the morning for the liver-gall bladder and surprisingly my lips are almost normal. I know the peeling lips may be caused by different issues but I hope this info helps someone.

Edited by Jer22v3
additional info

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On 6/27/2015 at 9:30 PM, scorpio said:

Larkie - Thanks for your response. I've been to two dermatologists and an allergist, they all gave me steroid creams to apply which didn't have any affect on my lips. I've booked an appointment to see an oral specialist next week hopefully she will be helpful. I've also read about the liver and colon cleansing but i'm not sure if it's safe - that will be my last resort to be honest. At the moment i'm focusing on accepting this condition and making life less stressful :) At least moisturizing helps stop the peeling (although temporarily) for you - my lips still peel even if I moisturize them 24/7. 

 

Haunted Eyes - Thank you so much for your detailed response. I really appreciate it. What testing did you do to find out you have all these food allergies? I went to an allergist here and she said that she had never seen this lip problem before and it was unlikely that a food allergy was causing the peeling. She didn't do any testing at that time (although a year back i did get a prick test done for another issue and no food allergies showed up only mild dustmite allergies). 

I'm curious to hear updates on your EC condition.

 

Thanks

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@CleoTheLeoI've learned that I have a sluggish liver and that before trying to cleanse the liver, I need to make sure that the gall bladder is clear and working well, as well as the gut, so that when the liver is detoxing, the toxic wastes have an elimination route. Dr. Lam explains so many things in detail in his articles. https://www.drlam.com/blog/sluggish-liver-and-adrenal-fatigue/7854/.

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Did anyone ever find something that helped? 

Been dealing with cheilitis for 8 months now. It comes in cycles of about 7-8 days. First it flakes, then crusts, then cracks (although there is still flaking regularly when during the crust/crack phase). 

Anyone have an update? 

And I wonder what the cycle means! 

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