Is Lip Balm Addiction Real?

lip balm

Technically, there is no way you can get a physiological addiction to lip balm, like you can to a drug. But the ingredients in your favorite tube could be making your poor pout worse.

Generally, lip balms are petrolatum-based, or contain lanolin, wax or silicone that work to seal in your lips, helping them retain their natural moisture while also making them feel smoother. No problem there. Some also throw in extra ingredients, such as fragrances, preservatives, phenol, menthol and camphor. The latter three give that tingly sensation that it’s really doing something. Well, it might be doing something counterproductive. While some people deal fine with these ingredients, other people get a negative reaction, contact dermatitis, that can lead to cracking and drying – exactly the things they were trying to combat. Cue vicious cycle.

Love the tingle of mint or cinnamon? Then you might be doing more harm then good. Look for potential irritants on the label: camphor, menthol, phenol, cinnamon or any other fragrance or flavor, or formaldehyde, which is a preservative that is harmless at low concentrations but sometimes irritating. It’s also released from other preservatives, including quaternium-15, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol, imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea, so steer clear of those, too. To be 100 percent sure there’s nothing to exacerbate dryness, stick to plain old petroleum jelly or beeswax, for a natural alternative.

Finally, you might just be hooked on the way a newly balmed lip feels. If so, anything less than silky feels rough – even if it’s normal.

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