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Why Is Lip Balm So Addictive?

skinbody oddaddictionlip balmHealth & Wellness • 2 min read • Jan 7, 2015 12:00:00 AM • Written by: Kat Smith

In the cold, dry winter weather, you may not ever think of leaving home without lip balm to soothe your chapped skin. However, if you find yourself compulsively applying the stuff and leaving a greasy residue on all of your drinking glasses, you may be addicted to your chapstick. Lip balm addiction is a far cry from substance abuse, but it can be a problem that leads to skin irritation and unwanted blemishes around your mouth. Plus, it can take a toll on your wallet if you opt for some higher-end designer varieties.

The cycle of over-applying

When you apply lip balm, the soothing sensation of softness may entice you to put on more. What happens when you continuously apply, or apply more than you need at once, is a decrease in the skin’s sensitivity to the active ingredients. This means that you will need more and more of the balm to relieve chapping. As you continue to slather your lips with your favorite balm, your skin becomes deprived of oxygen and your pores get clogged, leading to consequences like dermatitis. Can you really become addicted? Not entirely, but you may need to replace the ritual with a different habit to keep you busy.

Best and worst balms

Lip balms are not all created equal. In terms of what will be the most soothing, simple Vaseline or Aquaphor are the best choices. These products have the shortest lists of ingredients, so there are fewer potential irritants. If you do like a more traditional balm, Blistex Lip Medex is a highly rated and timeless solution that offers a cooling sensation along with dry skin relief. A few other balms that scored high ratings from include Clinique Superbalm Lip Treatment and LaRocca Shield Multi-Active Lip Balm, but these came with significantly higher price tags. Some of the least favored options come from L’Oreal and Nivea with varieties boasting shimmer and color in addition to chapped lip relief. As it turns out, these multi-purpose products do not work well for those looking primarily for softer, smoother skin.

Other dry skin remedies

You should avoid relying on lip balm alone to soothe chapped lips, since there are other ways to moisturize the skin with whole-body benefits. Use of an indoor humidifier will keep more moisture in the air so that your skin does not have a persistent chapped, dry, flaky quality. Covering your skin when you venture outdoors with a scarf or hooded jacket will also be helpful. One habit you should definitely avoid is licking your lips, since this will only lead to further irritation.

What are your good habits for protecting your skin? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and keep reading the MeMD blog for more Body Odd posts!

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Kat Smith