See these gorgeous lips? These are not my lips.

I know I usually complain about my butt, but over the past several months (really, now that I think about it, this has been going on for a whole year) I have been struggling with chronic and severe chapped lips. And not just your garden variety dry & flakies, but full on lip-hives, the kind which embarrass you in public and make you cover your mouth with your hand when you’re speaking to people. I have not been able to determine exactly what causes the flare-ups … tomatoes, lemon juice, salt, wheat and stress have all been implicated, but not definitively proven. When I have a flareup, the only way I can get the lip-insanity under control is by taking a couple tabs of my ol’ pal benadryl and heading immediately to bed (ice also helps.) If only it were as easy as taking care of the immediate swelling, though! Things actually get worse once the swelling goes away, as I’m left with excruciatingly painful cracks and splits that just won’t. go. away.

So of course, my family keeps asking me why I don’t go see a dermatologist or an allergist. Like, actually go see a professional about this problem that’s been plaguing me for the better part of a year? Never! I’m a cankerous, lazy, self-sufficient old cuss and if I can’t fix it myself then I don’t want it fixed. I’m also a bit old-school when it comes to doctors—unless it’s cancer or kidney failure, I figure they don’t know anything more than I can find out by myself on the Intranets. As a result, I’ve self-diagnosed (and attempted treatments for) perleche, cat allergies, allergy to petroleum jelly, excessive dryness in my bedroom, bacterial infection, vitamin B deficiency, vitamin D deficiency, and full-on demonic possession.

Nothing has worked. The biggest problem is that I keep running into a Catch-22: my lips need to be moisturized, but anything I put on them to moisturize them seems to irritate & inflame them. There ARE are some all-natural moisturizers that I don’t react to (coconut or olive oil) but they all just slide off my lips in a greasy mess. So I just don’t moisturize. But if I don’t moisturize, the problem gets worse!

But now, I believe I have discovered the cure. And what a cure it is!

It’s … Vagisil. Not the antifungal kind, just the plain ol’ anti-itch kind. The kind you use to relieve itching and burning … down there. It’s stuffed with benzocaine, which completely knocks out the itching and pain. And it has just enough emollients that my lips get some moisture. And best of all the emollients do not include petroleum jelly (aka petrolatum) which I really do think I’ve developed quite a sensitivity to, and which is in most lip-balms.

So the upshot of this whole post is that I now have to walk around with a tube of vagina anti-itch cream in my purse, and I have to find ways to covertly apply it to my (ahem) upstairs lips when necessary.

Of course now, having figured out what I believe to be an effective solution, I am thinking about getting out my pots and pans and mixing up some custom lip balm, using the vagina anti-itch cream and maybe some kokum butter or something. I could put it in nice little pots and call it “Mary’s Special Lip Balm” and no one would be the wiser.

Thus is the State of My Lips. I’m sure you were all dying to know.

4 Responses to The State of My Lips

  1. I’m certainly pleased to have a chance to contemplate your lips.

    In irrelevant news, Kokum butter makes my skin cells die by the millions, in the same kind of red blistering fury you describe.

    • M.K. Hobson says:

      I often find that substances which throw other people into convulsive fits have absolutely no effect on me. And conversely, things that only .00000001% of the population react to (like the petrolatum) mess me up. And of course, those are the things that are in everything. 🙂

      By the way … what is it now, only a couple of months until Blue Magic is out? EEEEE! Why don’t you come down to Powell’s and do a reading??

  2. Lisa says:

    *just read most of this post to the husband, trying to keep a straight face*

    *didn’t manage it, btw*

  3. Nowlansgirl says:

    I don’t think I want to know the story of how you figured this out.

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