Lip Balm Addiction: It's a Myth!

Are you suffering from a crippling lip balm addiction? Nope! You’re not. Despite owning 10 different kinds and adhering to a strict reapplication schedule, you're not physiologically dependent on your balm(s) of choice. Don't believe me? A recent Buzzfeed article spotlighted the issue — or lack thereof — and busted a couple myths about it.

Here is why you’re not addicted to it:

Sure, you might try to keep a tube, jar, pot, small egg-shaped applicator, or berry-flavored "rose petal"-tinted stick of it in every pocket and bag during the winter, but technically speaking, it’s not addictive. According Motherboard, a future-focused division of Vice Magazine, there is zero evidence proving that lip balms are physiologically addictive. Buzzfeed also pointed out that it has more to do with compulsive behaviors than an actual physical dependency on the product(s). Personally, I blame the internet — it’s turning us into hypochondriacs (thanks, WebMD). There are entire self-help websites, forums, and Facebook groups devoted to "lip balm addiction" (*cough* *cough*). Just saying.

Here is why you might think you're addicted to it:

Yes, there is a little science to it! Our friends at Buzzfeed spoke to Dr. Janet Prystowsky, a certified dermatologist with 25 years of experience, and uncovered a couple truths about it. Apparently, you can “eventually develop a sensitivity to components in it.” So rather than having a full-blown addiction, you’re lips are just becoming sensitive to your lip balm, causing them to become more chapped, and therefore in need of more chapstick. Prystowky explains further:

As they continue to use the lip balm, thinking they are helping matters, the lip sensitivity frequently increases, making the situation worse, and their lip balm use continues to increase.

Along with sensitivity, there are a few other factors that can be mistaken for this "addiction". Certain kinds of chapstick don’t necessarily make chapped lips worse, but they don't exactly fix them either, like wax-based products. According to dermatologist Todd Perkins, who spoke to The Washington Post, sticking to petroleum-based products like Aquaphor and Vaseline are the way to go. They trap moisture in the lips — which is what we were going for in the first place, right?

We also have other habits, like licking our lips, that might be making the issue worse. Who hasn't bought a raspberry flavored lip balm with the intent of basically eating it?

In conclusion: chapstick addiction is more of a behavior than a physiological problem. Luckily, winter is almost over, so hopefully our not-so-rehab-bound lips will get a break!