Like a lot of people, I'm prone to nervous habits. Biting my fingernails and skin and trying to figure out ways to stop biting my lips are among my top compulsive behaviors. But I've taken efforts to finally kick these habits to the curb in recent years, and for the most part, I've been successful.
Recently, I was curious to know if biting your lip skin is actually that bad for you. According to HealthTap, it seems the general consensus from medical experts is that it's more of a bad habit than it is a cause for serious medical concern. In an article for Beautylish, a cosmetic dentist out of New York City, Dr. Thomas Connelly, said that chronic soreness is probably the most harm a lip and cheek biter will have, and said, “Any chronic mouth lesion could develop cancer over the long term, but the research and final word are spotty.”
Even though I'm not fretting over the long-term health effects of biting my lips, I can still try my best to keep the compulsion at bay. For the most part, I'm not causing any extreme noticeable damage to my lips like causing them to bleed or develop sores, but I have noticed that I don't particularly like the way biting my lips makes them look at times in my photos and what not.
Here are seven ways to stop biting your lips that I've personally tried and had success with, and perhaps could help you start to kick the habit as well.
1. Identify Your Triggers
If you find that you're biting your lips as a result of stress, take the time to think about what exactly it is that is stressing you out. I know it's not a fun activity, but if you're serious about changing something in life, sometimes doing the hard things is what makes the biggest difference. A behavioral specialist gets paid to help people with this sort of thing, and that might be the right option for you. On the other hand, talking with a trusted friend or loved one can also do wonders for getting your mind and emotions sorted out.
2. Do Something Active
I don't actually mean exercising — though perhaps that could help, too. But I noticed that the main reason for my own lip-biting was actually boredom. I found that I was biting my lips while watching TV or reading a book or checking my phone. My body was telling me that it needed to be doing something while I was participating in my choice activity for relaxing. Often times, this can be taken care of by finding an additional hobby to engage ourselves in while watching TV or whatnot. Knitting, doodling, or simply tapping your foot could be a solution to boredom lip-biting.
3. Moisturize Your Lips
If you've got the lip-biting habit because your lips are dry, there's an obvious and simple solution to that: Carry lip balm around more regularly and apply it whenever you're feeling the need to lick (which just makes your lips dryer) or bite.
4. Exfoliate Your Lips
When moisturizing just isn't enough, sometimes those puckers actually do need to be scrubbed. But there are better ways to get rid of that dead skin off your lips than biting it away. Apply an exfoliating scrub just like you would on the rest of your skin. According to Arleen K. Lamba, M.D., medical director at Maryland's Blush Med Institute in an article for Shape, if it's not an organic product, you might want to be careful not to consume it, but a simple sugar and oil mixture could do the trick to get your lips smooth.
5. Encourage Your Friends/Family To Help You
Sometimes trying to to accomplish something on your own is harder than if you let others be apart of your achievement. If you're up for the challenge, ask your friends or those close to you to call you out when they see you biting your lips and kindly remind you that it's not something you really want to be doing. Of course, sucking up your pride is involved here (because if you're like me, you're immediately perturbed when someone says something about you), but hey, it's worth it in the end, and no (wo)man is an island.
6. Ask A Healthcare Professional
If you're feeling like it's impossible, and none of the above solutions seem to be helpful, asking your doctor is an obvious but totally viable option. Depending on the seriousness of the condition or your emotional/mental state, medical or behavioral help may be needed, and there shouldn't be any shame in going there.
7. Meditate Or Pray
Likewise, there shouldn't be any shame in taking the seemingly smallest or oddest needs to a higher power. Many people find that meditation or prayer calms them and can help alleviate nervous habits like lip-biting.
Like any habit, lip biting can be more annoying than anything else, but with a little extra effort, you can kick the habit and have smoother, more healthy lips at the end of the day.
Images: Giphy (7)