Dead Skin

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ricecakes230, Jun 17, 2014.

  1. ricecakes230

    ricecakes230 Pianissimo User

    Jan 15, 2013
    Recently I've been trying to play after about a 3 week break and of course I sound pretty bad. I can barely get one not above the staff and my skill level was way higher than that. I plan to keep practicing consistently to wake my chops up but my real question is how do you guys keep dead skin off your lips? My lips felt like they had thick skin on them, I played anyway and afterwards they felt soggy, and the layer of skin on top was white ish and kinda torn up looking. I was mostly sure this is dead skin. How do you guys keep it off? I know exfoliation is a thing but...I'm not sure if that helps. Can someone explain exfoliation to me or how to do it? I don't feel like walking into a makeup store asking for all the materials needed. After rubbing the skin off it feels like the dead skin just comes back in a few days. Any ideas?
  2. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    For a brass player, your lips are your lifes blood. If you are serious about playing at a higher level than you are now then daily maintenence is a must. Aside from your three week layoff, which will just need work to, play, play to build up those muscles. Keep those lips moist so that the top layer of skin that you are worried about stays soft and flexible. For a smooth even buzz you cant beat muscular lips covered in a velvetly skin. I use Vaseline before bed at night and a Chapstick in my pocket durring the day...summer or winter. Chaped or windburned lips always make life more difficult for a trumpeter. Too much sun on the face can be bad too.
    I dont know the medical reasoning behind it, but what you eat affects your playing also. On days that I know I will have a heavy strain I eat lighter and avoid deep fried food. Im not saying salads only, protein from meat and starch from bread is ok. Just dont ever play on an empty stomach or a full one. If I feel bloated from eating the wrong things, it affects my buzz too.
    Hope some of these ideas help you to be more comfortable. Best wishes.
  3. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 20, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I just went through a five week period of what looked like your symptoms, and it's likely, at least for me, that it was a virus. My wife, a non-musician, had it too. A prescription of Zovarax and Cortaid helped, but THAT WAS ME. Go see your own guy/gal.

    I'm also investigating a diet change I made at the time, big bunches of tree nuts, particularly almonds, the allergic reaction of which is often very chapped lips with an inflammation along the top and bottom lip lines where it meets the skin. I played through it, which was a mistake, but getting back to normal, slowly. While lips heal faster than most any part of the body, damaging them can have long-lasting effects. Be careful and you might want to check with your GP or dermo.

  4. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    As others have suggested, it sounds like chapped lips. I'm assuming this is not a long-term issue, but instead is something that recently occurred after the OP starting playing again. Here are 2 suggestions.

    Most commonly, your lips can get chapped because they are dry. If this is the case, try some lip balm.

    Alternatively your lips can get chapped because they are swollen from over-playing. If you think you're playing too much after taking time off, you might want to back off the trumpet a bit.

  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I like using Carmex at the end of a day. It's also a good idea to hydrate as well--lots of water.
  6. tjcombo

    tjcombo Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 12, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    Just wondering if the problem is a callous forming on your lip? I remember in my younger days (when I played with quite a lot of pressure) having this problem from time to time. The layer of skin would be peeling off, making it hard to play until it completely came off. Post comeback, I'm using minimal pressure and there's no sign of a callous, even though I'm playing a lot more.

    So my question is. .. Are you playing with a lot of pressure?
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I think that time has little to do with it. I had an operation in February and was off for 3 months. 4 weeks later, my comeback is still in progress but I am the only one that notices.

    If you have issues after a lay off, they can be caused by bad habits that you currently do not have enough strength to compensate for.

    I really push having a daily maintenance routine of easy stuff. This gives me immediate feedback where my "problems" are if something crops up. It is impossible to test where we currently are with things that are at the edge of even possible.

    What do soft long tones sound like? What about easy lipslurs or simple tunes out of a Hymnbook played at a not loud volume?
  8. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Lots of good advice on TM. I've been a member since I started my comeback back in 2008. For me personally, over the past 6 years, this suggestion from Rowuk was the #1 best piece of advice I've read. I start my practicing each day with a gentle 15-minute daily routine. It's "me time", where I have nothing to prove, and where my goal is to touch on some key skills, take stock, and get the juices flowing.

  9. Churchman

    Churchman Mezzo Piano User

    Apr 26, 2012
    Grow a 'tache... :whistle:
  10. BigSwingFace

    BigSwingFace Pianissimo User

    Apr 30, 2013
    Frederick, MD
    Exfoliation tips on a trumpet forum? Now I've seen it all.

    I use Blistex DCT (daily conditioning treatment) religiously in the winter but usually don't need it in warmer weather. It comes in a little tub and is usually with all the other lip balms. When my lips are like yours, and I feel like the skin of my lips could peel off, I do nothing. You'll almost certainly pull of more skin than is ready to go which will result in soreness and possibly superficial bleeding. If it affects my playing, either physically or psychologically, I just use a wet wash cloth which removes the dead skin without being too harsh.

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