Could You Be Addicted to Your Lip Balm?
If you can't leave the house without a tube in your pocket or can't even count the number of times each day you apply, you may be worried that you have an unhealthy attachment to lip balm. But is it possible to be addicted to something so innocuous?
Experts are divided on the subject. Some say that lip balm application can develop into a psychological repetitive behavior. Others worry that constantly covering lips can trigger them to stop protecting themselves. Many more say lip balm is harmless. But they all do agree that while lip balm "abuse" does not have negative physical side effects, it's not wise to put too much trust in their healing abilities without understanding what they can (and can't) do.
Lips dry out due to lack of moisture in your body and in the air. Lips don't contain oil glands, so dehydration often shows up there first. People taking acne medications or suffering from eczema are at increased risk for excessive dryness, along with retinoid or alpha hydroxy acid users. Winter's cold and windy weather aggravates this problem for everyone.
Before you reach for balm to cover the problem, make some simple adjustments to help preserve your lips' natural moisture. Sleeping with a humidifier and drinking more water will help boost your lips' moisture, along with covering them with a scarf against frigid conditions. Lip plumpers and lipsticks that contain phenol can dry you're your lips, so it's best to avoid these during the winter season. When your lips feel very dry, don't lick them or they'll become more dehydrated. For an intense remedy, apply petroleum jelly before bed and leave it on overnight to give lips an infusion of needed oil.
When you do reach for lip balm, choose the standard, unflavored kinds. Balms that contain phenol, menthol, or camphor give lips a soothing, tingling sensation, but unfortunately further dry out your lips. Flavors can also make these seem "addictive." Lip balms that contain sunscreen are also a good bet since they will protect your skin from the sun's drying rays.
Believe it or not, there's an entire website devoted to "curing" lip balm addiction. Lip Balm Anonymous, which has been around since 1995, suggests a 12-step-program for going cold-turkey on lip balm use. The site's intended seriousness is debatable, but real people who fear they have a problem visit every day. As with any habit, if you feel that you can't function without lip balm, it may be a sign that you may be more dependent on it than you should be. The next time your lips feel dry, try reaching for a glass of water -- something that will really help combat the problem rather than just covering it in wax.
Medical News Today
Lip Balm Anonymous
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Hotter Temperatures Linked To Kidney Stones
- 2. Summer Bug Bites: What to Look For
- 3. Skin Health Advice with Dr. Kenneth Beer
- 4. Summer Safety Tips That Every Parent Needs To Know
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.