Bad bottom lip rash after practicing. Help!?

Ivan

Undecided
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Pictures would be helpful, @cailinrabie

The question is whether this is mechanical skin damage problem related to the playing of the reed

... or a skin reaction to some element of the reed that you use, e.g the cane itself, or anything used in manufacture such as a preservative or wetting agent, if they are used at all

... or something coincidentally happening to the lip that's not due to the reed or playing the reed
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
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Citizen of Nowhere
... or a skin reaction to some element of the reed that you use, e.g the cane itself, or anything used in manufacture such as a preservative or wetting agent, if they are used at all
or caused by what you clean/soak your reeds in. I found mouthwash to be too aggressive on the lip, for example.
 
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I’ve been having the same problem. My lips have been swelling up, the skin splits and they are just generally red and sore. It keeps repeatably flaring up.

I’ve been hesitant to go to the doctors as their answer is frequently to just stop what you are doing. Which doesn’t help.

I’ve been using Vaseline on my lips for 30 years, but when this happened even Vaseline would cause an allergic reaction.

I thought it might be reed related, so I switched to a legere. I had bought some sample select jazz reeds, whereas previously I had used royals. It seemed to get much worse at that point.

However reading your post this morning, it also occurred to me I changed my mouthpiece at the same time to a select jazz and actually the main problem on my lips is not where the reed sits but probably where it contacts with the mouthpiece.

That doesn’t help you much, unless you’ve changed your mouthpiece too?

I guess I should try a plastic mouthpiece, although I hate the Yamaha *c range.
 
OP
cailinrabie

cailinrabie

New Member
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20
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Stellenbosch
I am going through pretty much an identical situation. I developed similar rashlike symptoms. I never suspected my reeds but my dermatologist said it was a contact allergy and gave me Prednisone. He though it was either reeds or toothpaste.

I have also been using the same reeds (Java Green) for a long time. I did try a new toothpaste around the time it started but I realized that I also tried a new dental floss that is waxed. We’re prety sure it’s the rosin.

The steroids have almost completely cleared it up and I switched to unwaxed floss. So far, so good.
I tried cortisone for a while and it cleared it up a bit, but not completely. I also read quite a few medical articles that said cortisone creams could possibly spread the rash if it is contact dermatitis. I think another doctor's appointment is probably the best option at this point.
 
OP
cailinrabie

cailinrabie

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20
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Stellenbosch
I’ve been having the same problem. My lips have been swelling up, the skin splits and they are just generally red and sore. It keeps repeatably flaring up.

I’ve been hesitant to go to the doctors as their answer is frequently to just stop what you are doing. Which doesn’t help.

I’ve been using Vaseline on my lips for 30 years, but when this happened even Vaseline would cause an allergic reaction.

I thought it might be reed related, so I switched to a legere. I had bought some sample select jazz reeds, whereas previously I had used royals. It seemed to get much worse at that point.

However reading your post this morning, it also occurred to me I changed my mouthpiece at the same time to a select jazz and actually the main problem on my lips is not where the reed sits but probably where it contacts with the mouthpiece.

That doesn’t help you much, unless you’ve changed your mouthpiece too?

I guess I should try a plastic mouthpiece, although I hate the Yamaha *c range.
Mine is also very red and sore. It's mainly the skin below my bottom lip that gets very itchy and sore. No, I have been using the same mouthpiece for a while. How did you find the Legere reed? I've tried the Bari plastic reed and I really don't like the tinny sound it produces.
 
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cailinrabie

cailinrabie

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Stellenbosch
I always smooth both sides of a new, dry reed using normal paper on a flat surface.

Rereading the original post, I am wondering if a small injury/irritation has been slowly acerbated over time due to a rigorous practise regime that is stopping the healing process.
I will definitely try smoothing them, thanks! It is quite odd, because it's only been the past year where it has flared up so badly.
 
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cailinrabie

cailinrabie

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Stellenbosch
Actually, a Google search throws up a lot of stuff. I've had another thought - being in a hot and humid climate in SA, is there any chance that something is growing on your reeds after use? How do you store them? One bit of advice on the net was to wash the reed with soap. This reminds me of some advice to revive an old reed - carefully brush the reed with an old toothbrush to remove deposits...
I think that the first thing to look at would be as I said before, possible differences in manufacture/prep of the reed and if anything other than water might be used. There are lots of technical-types on here that probably know exactly what process a reed goes through from being picked to arriving in your local shop. No doubt this is on the net too, unless there is Intellectual Property to protect.
Thanks for the reply. I am going to try and use an anti-bacterial solution to clean the reeds and mouthpiece. I store my reeds in the plastic cases they come in.
 
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cailinrabie

cailinrabie

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Stellenbosch
Me again...
I think that an easy and quick experiment would be to try non-French cane. Anyone know what cane might be washed in, for example? I know that people have more or less advised the same thing with reference to man-made reeds or plasti-cover reeds, but in my experience - albeit some years ago (Fibracell) and they might be better now - they lack the depth in colour of cane. Great if they assist in a particular type of sound for a style of music, but not the more traditional stuff.
Someone else might have newer info or opinion...
I've heard that the Japanese Forestone produce quite a nice synthetic reed which might be worth my while trying. I also am not a fan of the plastic-coated reeds.
 
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cailinrabie

cailinrabie

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Stellenbosch
Reading again: do you mean towards your chin?? If so, this suggests that you're tucking too much lip over your teeth if the cane can come into contact below your lip... Actually - your picture doesn't back this theory up. Discard that..
Yes it is below my lip on my chin area as well. My sax lecturer watched me play and said he doesn't think i tuck my bottom lip in too far.. so I'm not sure if that's the case...
 
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cailinrabie

cailinrabie

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Stellenbosch
Things like this tend to crop up more when people are either preparing to go to music conservatoire or are already at one. At some point during this stage of our learning most people will find it prudent to practice 5-10 hours per day. This will produce a good pro player. To be world class most carry on doing this for the rest of their life.
During this time I, and many others experienced problems inside the lip. I played classical clarinet in music college, not sax. Back in the 80's the solution was folded Rizla cigarette paper over the bottom teeth. Since, they have been found to be carcinogenic! Not sure what my old teacher and others do these days.
My sax embouchure is far more relaxed and this has never become a problem.
Then again, I've never played the sax for 5-10 hours per day...
I am currently at the Stellenbosch Conservatoire. I do practice about 5 hours a day or so. We still use rizla paper to protect the inside of our lips. I sometimes use folded up duct tape as well!
 
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cailinrabie

cailinrabie

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Stellenbosch
My experiences of sore bottom lip have been caused by:

Practising for too long so that I end up rubbing my lip raw.

Practising for too long with a reed that's far more resistant than it should be.

Practising a large number of songs without stopping between tracks (I often play entire sets in one hit in the practise room) so that the reed and my bottom lip are constantly wet, causing chapped lips. This is especially problematic in winter.

The solution is always to let the lip heal. Moisturiser helps the healing, too. If you keep playing, it will keep irritating the skin, vastly slowing down the healing process (if not stopping it completely), which causes burning and itching and possibly even blistering.
It's a bit of a challenge because I have to play all the time because I'm specialising in performance. I have to practice my own solo rep, my quartet rep, wind band, jazz band etc. plus other gigs! So I never really get a break to let my lip heal unfortunately...
 
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