Imagine if you were addicted to putting on lip balm? For many people, being addicted to having shiny, slippery lips is a real problem that can affect their whole lives.
Many of us have heard of Alcoholics Anonymous, and many people are also aware of the various spin-offs such as Gamblers Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous. Few people would know that there are literally hundreds of off-shoots of these programs, including Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous and even Lip Balm Anonymous.
Applying Lip Balm 100s of Times a Day
It’s true. There is a group that offers help to people who have the addiction of applying and reapplying lip balm, sometimes hundreds or thousands of time a day.
“Lip Balm Anonymous is often asked if lip balm is really addictive. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t!” The Lip Balm Addicts website contains many testimonials form addicts who can’t give up this habit, and it’s starting to affect their whole lives. But do they meet the true definition of addiction?
But is it Really Addiction?
“By the definition, we are addicted. We use the substance habitually, often not realising we were actually applying it since it was such a daily routine. Anyone who has tried to quit can readily attest that when you stop using, your lips become negatively affected for several days or weeks. The physiological dependency is there!”
There have been many notable cases about this issue. Dr. Holly Phillips made an appearance on an American TV show stating that, “There is both a psychological as well as physical component, especially with medicated lip balms. Flavored lip balms also encourage lip licking.” This can produce an effect the doctor calls “a vicious cycle.”
Men and Women Suffer from Applying Lip Balm too Frequently
And it seems to affect men and women. Take this quote from a visitor to the support site: “Hi my name is George. I do agree lip balm is addicting. I am recently beginning to realize this. I m going to quit. Please wish me luck and give me strength my brothers and my sisters.”
Some people are even more addicted than this. Take Betsy’s email: “I have 46 different flavors and kinds of lip balm. I once had a teacher tell me there was more to life than lip gloss. I have now joined LBA and have begun working on the 12-step program. I, too, am addicted to lip balm. It got to a point where my lips were so slick I could not eat any food. Kissing was pointless. On a high point, I was able to kick my smoking habit because the cigarettes kept slipping off of my lips. Just call me Lip Balm Slave.”
Is it the Ingredients that make Lip Balm Addictive?
Could it be the ingredients in lip balm that make it addictive? Dr. Monte Meltzer is the chief of dermatology at a hospital in Baltimore. He says lip balm often includes ingredients that cause a tingling, such as salicylic acid, phenol and menthol. Some of these are exfoliants that cause lips to peel. In turn, the lips become thinner and less able to protect against the elements. “So people need to apply again, and the vicious cycle continues.”
He also went on to mention that the human lips exfoliate every 48 hours and don’t need unnatural exfoliators. An addict is someone whose life is being affected by the addiction or issue, and in this particular case, you could say that this lady’s behaviours did fall under the ‘problematic’ category.
“My lowest point was having to stop at Walgreen’s because I was on my way to a wedding and discovered I did not have any in my purse. We had to make a quick detour to buy some. I bought 10 of them, and had to carry them in my purse all day, so they would melt from the summer heat in the car.”
So what do the Big Companies say?
Carmex, Blistex and Chap Stick have denied that their products are in any way addictive, but this is largely disputed by the moderators of sites such as LBA. Blistex’s label says to apply up to 4 times daily, but they have been quoted as saying, ” that people could use it as many times a day as they wanted.”
Modern Chic magazine pointed out the following: “No company wants to be the first to admit their product is in any way harmful or addictive, and for all we know the lip balm industry is innocent. But as lip balm addicts continue to grow in numbers, develop support groups on Facebook and unite to kick the habit on sites such as Lip Balm Anonymous, it’s getting harder to believe there’s no truth to their claims.”
The good news is that if you do feel you have a problem with lip balm, there is help out there. Because of the internet, you will no longer be limited by where the other sufferers are located, you can connect with people no matter where you are.
Some recovery resources:
Photo credits: Thank you!
All lip balm photos by: Valeri-DBF