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What is Lip Balm Addiction?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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Lip balm addiction is a fascinating subject that has gained impetus due to the Internet site Lip Balm Anonymous, which has been available on the Internet since 1995. The site claims that there are people who are truly sufferers of lip balm addiction, especially to brands like Carmex®. Since 1995, a number of doctors have taken positions for and against this controversial topic as to whether a person can truly have lip balm addiction.

Some people emphatically deny lip balm addiction exists, but it’s important to note that many of these denials occur on sites that sell lip balm. Certainly it’s true that people use a lot of the stuff, and that sales of the product by a number of companies have never been higher. Other doctors suggest that what’s really at work here is that people who use lip balm on a constant basis get used to having inordinately moisturized lips. They may lick their lips as they feel them getting drier, removing the lip balm, and thus necessitating more applications of the balm. Excessive use could be called an addiction of sorts, but the addiction would be more to the habit of licking the lips rather than to the lip balm itself.

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Some doctors say people get a “buzz” from applying lip balm, especially those that contain menthol. Lip balm addiction may be the result of the desire to have that tingly feeling on the lips rather than to avoid lip dryness. But is the behavior of applying lots of lip balm really harmful? It depends. Some people may develop sensitivities to ingredients, especially if they’re eating them, and if they continue to use these products with harmful ingredients, they might be causing self-harm. This would definitely fall into the pattern of addictive behavior: repeating an activity that is known to be harmful and which seems impossible to stop.

Lip Balm Anonymous claims that if you think you’re addicted you should try to stop “cold turkey” for three days to see if you’re uncomfortable. Many people claim they are and feel mild to moderate withdrawal on having to stop; thus if they’re not physically addicted to lip palm, lip balm addiction may exist mentally. It makes good sense to stop if you're using a product more often than is recommended.

The issues of lip balm addiction and the healthy sales of lip balm suggest another issue at work. People who have significantly chapped lips most of the time may be ignoring some of the main reasons lips chap. Dried out lips can be caused by dehydration, certain types of anemia, sun damage and a variety of other factors. If you aren’t licking your lips constantly, but they seem dry or chapped most of the time, you might want to visit your doctor to analyze cause.

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roser
Post 3

@redstaR - Good point about smoking. When I quit smoking I started unconsciously putting my fingers to my lips a lot which would leave them dry and cracked. Hygiene tip: don't touch your face unless you've just washed your hands. Throughout the course of the day your fingertips accumulate all kinds of germs so to keep your skin and lips healthy, hands off!

redstaR
Post 2

I think my "lip balm addiction" mostly stems from a nervous habit of licking my lips, but I've found the most effective treatment to be first and foremost to quit smoking. I'm also trying to drink more water and take vitamins everyday.

softener
Post 1

Wow, who would have thought? I certainly don't think I'm addicted but I did just realize while reading this article that I use it everyday. I definitely do the thing where I lick my lips as I feel them getting drier and then end up having to apply more lip balm.

I do use organic lip balm though; my mom has a friend who makes it and I got some for free. I think it's better than Carmex, but it could just be a placebo effect.

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