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The Truth About Lip Balm Addiction

Put down the “crack stick.”

via flickr user (cc) hanna bonana

Why do people keep using “crack stick”? According to dermatologist Dr. Whitney Brown: “[Its] ingredients can cause people to feel as though they need to apply lip balm more frequently, so it feels like an addiction,” she told The Cut. Popular lip balm ingredients camphor, phenol, and menthol feel cool on your lips but will also dry them out, making you crave more lip balm. Salicylic acid is another ingredient in lip balm that helps exfoliate your lips, but also causes irritation, so you buy another tube of that Carmex.

The great myth about cigarettes is that they make the smoker feel relaxed. In reality, the smoker’s nicotine levels in their blood drop between cigarettes which makes them feel agitated, so the next cigarette soothes their nervousness. This imprisons the smoker in a diabolical cycle where nicotine is the only solution to the problem it creates. Although lip balm doesn’t pose the health risk that cigarettes do, many people swear they’re addicted to the waxy substance because of the same principle: it cures the problem it creates.

Lip balm also has ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction such as beeswax, paraben, and lanolin. Many lip balms have flavors and fragrances that cause itchiness and swelling. So, as you can see, the one product that’s supposed to soothe our lips is making them dry, cracked, and irritated. Although lip balm may not cause physical addiction like alcohol and cocaine, it can trap the user in a frustrating cycle of reapplication.

If you’re addicted to lip balm, here are some ways to break the habit according to Lip Balm Anonymous.

1.) Wean yourself off slowly -- It’s more time-intensive than the cold turkey method but it does have a much higher success rate
2.) Drink plenty of fluids -- This will keep your body hydrated
3.) Avoid visiting extremely dry or cold environments -- This will prevent unnecessary chapping
4.) Stop licking your lips -- To prevent dryness
5.) Be patient -- Breaking the habit can take a few weeks

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