The most common thing to do when one has dry lips is to apply lip balm. Well, I know I do. Lips are a vital part of the face and good care is needed to keep them looking good. If you have dry lips, then you will probably end up applying lip balm every so often to keep them moisturized.
Can this be termed as an addiction?
The use of lip balm every so often? The constant and often use of lip balm may mean that you cannot do without it. Before passing any judgment we look at the definition of addiction. What is addiction? Addiction is a disease which is chronic. It affects the brain reward system. This can be seen by the pursuit of reward or relief by the use of a substance. Another definition of addiction is a state of being enslaved to a habit or a practice which is psychologically or physically habit-forming. Can we therefore say that one can be addicted to a lip balm? Possible cessation of a substance causes trauma. Lip balm addiction is far from this. For lip balm users, it is more of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
There is no confirmed evidence of some of the accusations that lip balms get. Rumor has it that some lip balms do not moisturize the lips. Instead it leaves them wanting for more. Carmex is accused of adding strong acids which cause the lips to dry every so often.
How does lip balm work?
It contains oils that are meant to moisturize the skin. Skin on the lips is formed in the epidermis. In the lower layers of the epidermis. They then proceed upwards and shrink/flatten. In this state, the cells are almost empty and prevent moisture from getting in. This is because they are glued together. The effect of this is that water will be prevented from leaving the skin and other substances from getting in. Cell production speeds up when the skin is dry. At this point cells reaching the surface are not fully matured.
We need to take care of dry skin because it cannot take care of itself. This is where the help of the lip balm comes in. It is worth noting that the use of a balm should help recover chapped lips after its use a few times. If this does not help, then your lips chapping can be due to other factors. Moisturizers are meant to help the skin with making of body oils temporarily. For the lips it does not work like that because they do not make much of their own oils.
Why is it then you need to keep re-applying balm?
Your lips are supposed to feel better after application of lip balm a few times. At times this does not happen to some. Lip balm contains a substance known as counter-irritant. This can soothe the skin for some and for others it may irritate them. Frankly speaking, it does both. Lip balm works by using the nerve system bandwidth to provide a cooling sensation so that you do not experience your muscles soreness strongly. Mostly it does not go beyond a mild irritation. Carmex contains phenol, camphor and menthol which are all irritants. A good option would be the use of natural lip balms. These contain peppermint for the purpose of soothing lips.
When then do you apply balm but don’t get the results you expected?
This may be due to other irritants that are present in the balm. Theses are: Alpha-hydroxy acids and salicylic acid are both chemical exfoliants which may cause your lip balm not to work. Sure they make healthy skin smoother but they provide the opposite of what you want for damaged skin.
The balm may contain ingredients that you may be allergic to. Things such as oils or fragrances. If you suspect this may be the cause, then it is best to switch to another lip balm that is simpler or even still use the ordinary Vaseline. The environment can be another cause for your dry skin. Dry air, lip-licking or even sunlight can be the cause of dry lips.
When shopping for a lip balm:
Be very specific with the ingredients used in making it. Look out for ones that have emollients (they fill in the gap in between cells and smoothen the skin), Occlusive (they are waxy or at times greasy ingredients. They work by forming a barrier on top of the skin to help retain the moisture, Humectants (they help absorb water)