The INSIDER Summary:
• A lot of people think they can get “addicted” to lip balm.
• A dermatologist says that’s impossible.
• But you actually might be allergic to the balm.
The Internet is littered with dramatic tales of lip balm addiction — dispatches from people who get trapped in an endless cycle of applying balm to chapped lips, only to need more and more and more to keep their skin quenched. Blogs and articles offer tips on how to break lip balm addictions, while self-diagnosed addicts turn to online forums to ask for help weaning themselves off of their lip moisturizer of choice. There’s even a website called Lip Balm Anonymous.
It all sounds a little too crazy to be true, right? That’s because lip balm addiction is a complete myth, according to New York City — based dermatologist Melanie Grossman, MD.
“Sometimes people come in and they say to me, ‘You know what? I keep using lip moisturizer and my skin feels dryer. I’m getting cracks around my mouth.’ And they say, ‘I keep using it. I’m using it constantly and I feel l ike I’m addicted to it,'” she told Business Insider. “And I say, ‘You know what? That may mean you’re allergic.'”
Contact dermatitis — the scientific name for what happens when something touches your skin and causes a rash — is extremely common, and it’s often caused by ingredients in cosmetics like preservatives and fragrances. Even 100% natural products that seem safe can trigger these reactions.
“It’s not that your lips need more and more. You might have a sensitivity to the ingredients in the product, which is making your lips feel more irritated,” Grossman said. “So that it might be just that you need to change the product.”
But if changing to a new brand doesn’t help, Grossman said, make an appointment with a dermatologist. A pro can help you figure out whether the lip balm is causing the problem, or whether it’s something else.
Whatever you do, don’t believe the “addiction” scare stories you see online.
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