What You Need to Know About Lip Balm

Lip balm is a wax-like substance you apply to moisturize and ease pain caused by chapped or dry lips. Due to thin skin, lips are vulnerable and usually display signs of dryness before other areas of the skin. Lip balm helps protect lips from dry air, wind, and cold temperatures. Seems simple enough, right? In reality, lip balm has both advantages and disadvantages, which you need to know!

The Advantages to Applying Lip Balm

Besides relieving chapped lips, lip balm provides other benefits. After applying lip balm you may notice a glossy effect, which many find alluring. Furthermore, lip balms come in a variety of different flavors and pleasant scents.

The Disadvantages of Applying Lip Balm

Like many other products, lip balm has a few significant drawbacks. First, you may notice chapped lips. Yes, believe it or not, lip balm can actually worsen lip chapping. If a brand contains an allergen, it will cause a lip rash that mimics chapped lips. In actuality, the rash is an allergic reaction; which looks and feels like chapped lips. Some lip balms contain ingredients that actually make lips drier such as phenol, menthol, and salicylic acid. If you want to avoid this effect, don’t use products with notorious lip allergens such as Citrus, Mint, Tea tree, Eucalyptus, Camphor, and Lanolin.

Additionally some lip balm products contain potentially dangerous chemicals. When you buy lip balm, be sure to read the list of ingredients on the package. Some brands contain dangerous ingredients such as paraffin, petrolatum, dyes, and phenol. Instead, try substituting these brands in favor of products containing safer ingredients.

Finally, there is a risk of possible infection. Continuous use of a product may lead to contamination. While many people apply it in a manner like lipstick, some prefer applying lip balm with their finger. This allows bacteria and germs on your hands to gain easy access to your mouth, which can affect your health. You can avoid infection by changing your products, and washing your hands before applying lip balm to your mouth. Furthermore, always switch out your product if you’ve recently suffered from a cold sore.

Can You Become Addicted to Lip Balm?

While people may not develop a physical addiction to lip balm in the same manner as drugs or alcohol, many develop a psychological addiction to it. This “addiction” results from an allergic reaction because lip balm contains several ingredients that can cause sensitivity or irritation. Think for a second, do you notice that you seem to need lip balm more when you use it? The allergic reaction more or less causes a never-ending cycle of application. Try hypoallergenic lip moisturizers such as shea butter or Vaseline if you want to break your habit.

Are You a Lip Balm Addict?

If you’re worried about becoming addicted to lip balm, ask your self these questions.

  1. Do you apply lip balm frequently?
  2. Do you need carry lip balm with you at all times?
  3. Do you have a stash lip balm hidden in places such as your bedroom, your desk, your car and your bathroom?
  4. Do you spend a lot of money on lip balm?
  5. Have your friends and family commented on your excessive use?
  6. Do you become nervous if you aren’t carrying lip balm?

If you answered “yes” to more than half of these questions, you may have an addiction. You should wean yourself off the product, or use lip balms containing different ingredients.

For more information about lip balm products and methods to reduce symptoms of dry lips, contact the experts at Short Hills Dermatology today!

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