08-06-2013 12:43 AM
All of a sudden, about a month and a half ago, my lower lip got really red and irritated. It wasn't swollen, but it was bright cherry red like it had been burned - but it wasn't. My upper lip was normal, which was very strange, because if it had been an allergic reaction to something I was using, it would have been affected too. For almost a month, my lower lip was a raw open wound. I had to eat a bland diet, because anything like salt or vinegar would kill. I was only able to tolerate petroleum jelly, and even then, if it started wearing off just a little, the dryness and burning would start. Wearing my beloved lipsticks and glosses was becoming a distant memory.
I Googled endlessly: Dehydrated? I drank so much water I was in the bathroom - a lot. Licked my lips too much? Not really, but I made sure I didn't. Canker sore or herpes? No, that would just be a single sore, not my whole lower lip.
I asked my pharmacist if there was anything I could use for it. She'd never seen anything like it, but God bless her, she recommended Aquaphor Healing Ointment. My lips felt better, but the redness was still there and so was the underlying problem. I went to my primary care doctor, and she couldn't figure it out either! She said keep using the Aquaphor and if it didn't clear up in two weeks she'd refer me to a dermatologist.
Well, one day I tried an Internet search again, and one link led to another, and up popped "toothpaste allergy". Could it be? My lip burned when I brushed my teeth, but I thought it was just because it was irritated. So I Googled toothpaste allergy, read a few posts, and then saw a link to a QVC thread from a few years ago from a woman with the exact same symptoms - lower lip only, red and burning and irritated. It turns out a poster tipped her off that she, (as well as many other people) could have a severe allergic reaction to Colgate Total toothpaste. You guessed it - that's what I was using! I tossed it and immediately switched to brushing with a kid's gentle toothpaste, and only a pea-sized drop. My lip is almost 100% healed now, and I've started using lipstick again, hooray! By the way, why only my lower lip? Next time you brush your teeth you'll see. The foam just sits on your lower lip, but doesn't really get on your upper one.
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