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Lip Balm Addiction Is Real — Here’s How to Avoid Drying Out This Winter

How often do you find yourself reaching for the lip balm in your purse to moisturize your parched lips? It’s especially common in the cold winter months with harsh winds making matters even worse. It’s easy to feel like you’re addicted to this particular beauty product, which something several people actually believe the cosmetic industry is doing on purpose with common ingredients like menthol and salicylic acid. There’s even a website called Lip Balm Anonymous where strangers share their high level of dependence on the moisturizing product. But is “lip balm addiction” real?

The answer is yes, but the ingredients aren’t directly to blame. McGill University in Canada explained how it’s more of a behavioral addiction than any company actively trying to get us hooked on their balm. The university compares frequent lip balm use to people who become addicted to things like shopping or the internet. Our lips are particularly vulnerable to this addiction because, “[they are] four times thinner and lacking protective sweat and oil glands like the rest of our skin.” 

Another major factor that can cause overuse of lip balm comes from the flavored options. When we like the taste of the balm, we are more likely to lick our lips throughout the day — which, of course, dries them out faster and requires more and more applications of the balm to soothe them again. This can quickly turn into what seems like a never-ending cycle. For this reason, McGill University recommends purchasing a flavorless product the next time you restock on balm.

Another helpful way to make sure your lips stay hydrated even in the frigid weather temperatures is by using humidifiers throughout your home to keep the air from drying you out. This will help the rest of your skin stay quenched, too. When wandering outside your home, try covering your mouth with your scarf to block the weather from wreaking havoc on your sensitive lips. Now you no longer have to panic on days when you realize too late that you left your balm at home.

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