Is Chapstick Addiction Real?

Stacie ContrerasLips Lips & More Lips

Chapsticks And Balms

Dry Lips

Do you ever feel like you just can’t live without your chapstick?  Do you have a stash in your car, your purse, the desk drawer at work?  Can’t be without that slick, silky feeling on your lips?  Well maybe you have what some refer to as a Chapstick Addiction.  As stated below by Dr. Cynthia Bailey in her own blog.

“Lip balm ‘addiction’ is the cycle of allergens in lip balm products causing lip chapping that leads you to reach for more lip balm. The cycle goes on and on to the delight of the lip balm company. As a teen, I was addicted to Carmex and didn’t know it. It contains menthol, camphor, phenol, lanolin, salicylic acid and “flavor”. That is one taunting lip product! As a dermatologist, I would not recommend using a product like this on delicate lips. Lips inherently have a fragile barrier and this stuff goes right through.”

Some people believe that there are ingredients within chapsticks that create an actual addiction. Others believe that these ingredients create issues of dryness and irritation on the lips, causing people to desire that silky feeling that chapstick provides.  In my research of these ideas I came across an interesting idea regarding people’s actual lip sensitivity being due to the toothpaste that they use. Thus creating a need for moisture that people attribute to chapstick.


Toothpaste? Say what? According to Dr. Todd Plott, toothpaste could be another resason for all of your lip sensitivity issues rather than what you are using on them.  Click his name above to read more on his ideas.  Also mentioned in HelloGiggles toothpaste can create many issues including dry lips. It might be worth a try to read the links I supplied and decide for yourself or maybe try changing your toothpaste for a few weeks and test out their theories.  Is it true?  I don’t honestly know, but I have given you info to research for yourself.

Addiction? True or False

So what’s the real story about lip balm addiction?

Perry Romanowski, a cosmetic chemist and author of the book Can You Get Hooked on Lip Balm? says “The truth is that you cannot get addicted to lip balm in the same way you can get addicted to drugs like alcohol or nicotine.”  Our lips do not have sweat or oil glands, causing them to dry out easily and making people feel like they need to apply chapstick more often and causing them to believe they have a chapstick addiction).  Chapstick or lip balm instantly feels good and makes people feel better, but only temporarily as that feeling will where away with the chapstick as it dries out.

So what happens? You reaply your chapstick again and again, essentially drying them out.  It becomes more of a psychological addiction rather then an addiction to smoking or drugs.  Chapstick addiction is similar to biting your nails.  And if you have ever been a nail biter or know one (MY husband) you realize how hard it is to break them of that habit.

“But Stacie, I need my Carmex. I must have a chaptick addiction.” I have heard this phrase many times and although you might be addicted to the HABIT of how it makes you feel, it does not contain anything truly addictive in its ingredients. You are not a chapaholic! Ingredients such as camphor and menthol can be found in Carmex and can actually cause reactions in some people, as well as stinging should your lips be chapped.  Have you ever had a tingling sensation using it?  This is not because Carmex contains ingredients to plump your lips, rather you might be senesitive to the ingredients and having a reaction.

Treatment? STOP using it! According to Dr. Bowe, “Carmex has many irritating ingredients that can cause inflammation in the lip area in people with sensitive lips. These ingredients can cause people to feel as though they need to reapply a lip balm more frequently, so it feels like a chapstick addiction.”

What should you use?

Find products that are good for your lips. One that can both seal in moisture and hydrate as well.  This assures you of delivering moisture to your lips and sealing that moisture in.  Products that contain a humectant, which draws in moisture, and are occlusive, which seals in moisture are your best bet.  So what are examples of humectants and occlusive ingredients?  Hyaluronic acid, glycerin and shea butter are all humectant that draw in moisture.  These are wonderful as they will actually pull moisture from all around, but if not combined with an occlusive ingredient such as beeswax, shea butter, synthetic beeswax or even petrolium they might leave your lips drier.  Excuse me?  That’s right! Drier!

Humectants are made to pull moisture up to 1000 times their weight in water. Think of humectants as magnets that attract water. They pull moisture from the air into the upper layer of your skin or by pulling water from the dermis (the second layer of skin) to the epidermis (the top layer of skin).  If the environment is dry, then where will the moisture be pulled from?  Sealing in the moisture provided and preventing it from evaporating is important, thus occlusive ingredients.  Occlusives act as a barrier to hold  moisture in. Shea Butter is a favorite as it is actually considered to be a humectant, an occlusive and emmolient all rolled into one.  That’s right.  Three in one!  SeneGence actually has skincare that is both a humectant and occlusive, but thats a blog for another day.  My favorite?  Climate Control.

Lip Products that Work

  • SeneGence Lip Balm is of course my favorite as it contains shea butter, algae extract and numerous other essential ingredients made to moisturize your lips. It has both humectants and occlusive ingredients, so it moisturizes and seals in that moisture. It’s cost effective at $20 and made to last. Best of all, like all SeneGence products, it is guaranteed. Need it NOW?
  • Want to really make a dfference in those lips? Pair our amazing lip balm mentioned above with our Lip Polish and you will be amazed at the difference in just a few days. Dry, peeling lips will be a thing of the past in no time.
  • La Mer the Lip Balm, $55 at Saks
    La Mer lip balm? It is said to feel really good and although I do agree with that, its hefty $55 price tag is a little daunting.  Most people will not be racing to the closest Saks to grab theirs today I doubt. The main ingredient is petrolatum, along with a mix of other oils including sesame and eucalyptus, as well as seaweed extracts.  I am not a huge fan as I prefer the SeneGence balm at only half the cost.
  • Homeoplasmine, $14.49 with Prime on Amazon
    Although I can’t say exactly what is in this French product, I have heard that it solves nearly everything chapped. Lips, the cracks you sometimes get on the side of your lips from winter, dry cuticles, and even chapped nipples (the original purpose of this non-sticky balm was for nursing mothers).
  • Grown Alchemist Lip Balm $23 at Neiman Marcus
    This product seems to be one of Instagram’s best-loved lip balms and comes in both watermelon and vanillascents. Compared to most lip balms, it has a stickier lip-gloss feeling that protects the lips from frigid winds (though also has a tendency to trap stray hairs).