Lip Balm Addiction
Most of us have used lip balm or similar products specially in winter to help moisturise chapped lips. In fact Lipstick and lip balm are probably the two cosmetics most women use. However an online search for lip balm will no doubt lead the reader to sites for lip balm addiction. In fact, many people are coming forward with claims of being addicted to lip balm. Lip balm addicts claim that they reapply apply lip balm almost involuntarily, sometimes even fifty or sixty times a day!
Lip balm addiction: Myth or Reality?
Most self confessed lip balm addicts report using lip balm as obsessive and uncontrollable habit. Is this habit or continually reapplying lip balm an addiction? The very nature of addiction indicates that the addict is using a substance to fill some kind of perceived void in their lives. Continued use then causes a physical dependency of the substances. Though this hardly seems likely in the case of lip balm, it has hard to ignore that many lip balm users exhibit behaviour that appears much like a simple addiction – one that can be cured by sheer will power and though the sufferer experiences withdrawal symptoms no serious medical intervention is required.
In fact an unsubstantiated rumour became urban legend claiming that a certain brand of lip balm contaminated its product with glass, causing users to develop microscopic fissures in their lips which would be soothed only by the repeated use of the lip balm.
Though there is no scientific proof to substantiate these claims, it is certainly true that many users repeatedly use lip balm and still suffer chapped lips.
What Causes the Repeated Use of Lip Balm?
The repeated use of lip balm possibly becomes a habit like smoking or chewing gum. The immediate sensation of hydration gives immediate relief that users become used to causing them to repeatedly use lip balm.
Many lip balms come in fruity flavours and many users tend to lick their lip soon after use. Repeatedly licking of lips strips the lip of moisture and perpetuates the use of lip balm.
It could also in part due to some of the ingredients – many lip balms contain camphor and menthol giving the user a ‘tingling’ sensation immediately after use. This sensation can also be habit forming.
Camphor and menthol tend to dry out the lips over time, though this is an important step for healing cold sores, may be too harsh for ordinary. Both ingredients could interfere with the natural function of the outer layer of the skin, thus creating the need for moisturization. Therefore in a sense, using more can create the need for more.
Though in certain weather conditions, the use of lip balm may be necessary but the overuse of lip balm shows no real benefit.
How to Cure the Overuse of Lip Balm
Depending on the degree of overuse, the best way to stop the overuse of lip balm is either quit cold turkey or gradually wean down the frequency of application. It is important not to lick the lips during this time.
It is also important to check the ingredients of the lip balm. Products with camphor, alcohol, and menthol are drying agents. Considering the amount of chemicals contained in lip balm, it may be preferable to use simple products with natural ingredients.
It is important to allow your lips to regulate their own moisture levels only using lip protecting products in harsh weather, bearing in mind lips naturally exfoliate every 28 days or so.