Exfoliative Cheilitis: The Peeling Cycle
DAY ONE: THIS IS THE FIRST DAY IN THE PEELING PROCESS
During the first day of the peeling process the lips are quite normal. They resemble soft, luscious lips that were once present everyday. Unfortunately, my luck had changed and it is these days that I yearn for regularly. These are the only days when conversing does not bother me, smiling is uninhibited, eating is enjoyed, and the conditions psychological effects do not take a heavy toll. These are my favorite days :) Can you notice the lopsidedness? It is the result of a biopsy.
DAY TWO: THIS IS THE SECOND DAY IN TH PEELING PROCESS
As you can see, the lips take a turn for the worse on the second day of the peeling process. The first occurrence is the indents that you can notice near the border of the lip where the lip connects with the inner area of the mouth. This area is also red as evident in the picture. This is simply irritation from talking. The lips become mildly inflamed and the red area, if not moisturized, generally burns and opens like a fresh wound.
DAY THREE: THIS IS THE THIRD DAY IN THE PEELING PROCESS
This is the official day all hell breaks loose. The lips begin to fissure as a result of the hyperkeratosis. The affected areas harden due to the buildup of several layers of dead skin which my dermatologist said is because the skin cells are reproducing at an abnormal rate. Not only do the lips fissure but they bring to the table a high possibility of infection. I would estimate that I do get an infection here once a month. It has awful consequences such as not being able to speak, inflammation, tender skin, significant discomfort, pain, and above all the psychological aspect takes a heavy toll.
DAY FOUR: THIS IS THE FOURTH DAY IN THE PEELING PROCESS
This day is not so bad when compared to day three. Please do not get me wrong though, it is still a struggle and will always be a struggle. This day depends entirely on the previous day. What I mean by this is that if the previous day was bad and I had several small fissures or one large fissure then you can expect the fourth day to be painful. If I get lucky and do not get any fissures then future infection is ruled out and my lip does not need to heal any open wounds. My lips will go smoothly into a new day one which would be the fifth day after the cycle began. PLEASE remember that this cycle is never ending and my life consists of days one through four on a continuous pattern. What happens to the hardened skin is that is generally falls off or has to be precisely cut off with scissors. New skin awaits underneath.