Lip Balm Addiction

Woman appluing lip balm

Lip balm is the bomb, right? But how many times per day do you swipe your favorite Smackers [lip balm] flavor across your kisser? Think about it for a second.

Now consider this very real picture of the beauty myth, most appropriately coined Lip Balm Addition: you’re driving into work when you come upon a red light. As you apply the breaks everything around you loses your attention. You’re reaching into your purse pocket where you swore you put your Chapstick after the last time you used it. You still haven’t found it when the light turns green, so you start driving, still searching one-handedly in your bag. Your lips are killing you. You give up on your bag and start sifting through your cup holders, door compartments, the armrest. When you finally park, you start sifting through your glove department, until you finally realize that you needed to be at your desk for a conference call five minutes ago. You settle and calm your harsh-feeling lips by dabbing on some hand lotion… it’ll do until you find your backup lip balm in your pen drawer.

The urgent demand and constant use of lip balm is a very real need for many adults. But is it actually an addiction? Whether or not Lip Balm Addiction is a medical condition or a beauty myth has been debated amongst dermatologists and psychologist for quite some time now. We cannot give you a definitive answer as to whether or not Lip Balm Addiction is medical or mythological. We can, however, give you a perspective from both a dermatological and psychological standpoint, and you can make the decision for yourself.

From A Dermatological Standpoint
New York state board certified dermatologist, Janet Prystowsky, states that she doesn’t believe one can be truly addicted to lip balm, but that people who start to overuse the lip moistener, are only setting themselves up for future overuse. Prystowsky explains that when an individual balms their lips too frequently, they are likely to develop a sensitivity to one of the many ingredients in the tiny tube. When this happens, the reaction to the lips causes them to look and feel very much like classic chapped lips. Of course, once one’s lips are chapped, the only thing they want to do is slather them with lip balm. While this might provide a sense of immediate relive, but will only cause the sensitivity to worsen and the reaction to reoccur, which of course will only get temporary relief with a few layers of lap balm. Surely you see the pattern. Dermatologists suggest that one isn’t addicted to lip balm, rather they are experiencing a reaction due to lip balm, and the only way they know how to self-soothe is through the further use of lip balm.

From A Psychological Standpoint
Licensed psychotherapist, Dr. Daniel Mattila, works in New York City, specializing in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and related mental ailments. Mattila believes that compulsive lip balm usage (such as the example discussed at the beginning of the article) doesn’t exactly consummate the typical case of addiction, however, it does exemplify many classic addiction traits. For example hiding, desperation, and tremendous physical discomfort are all traits of addiction, all of which one might experience with when searching for a tube of lip balm. The major difference takes place once one finds and uses the Chapstick. Take for example someone who is addicted to nicotine, they are seeking a stimulating feeling when reaching for a cigarette, where are someone who is reaching for lip balm is seeking a soothing feeling.


By Lionesse

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