Teen Addiction… and Recovery

The saddest part of lip balm addiction is that it ensnares people as young as five years old or even younger. Unlike cigarettes, alcohol, or hard drugs, it is socially acceptable to get your kids balmed. The inherent dangers of such practices are described in this testimony we received this week.

After ten years of a crippling addiction to Blistex, I am finally free.  My name is Sarah and I am fifteen years old.  When I was at the tender age of just five, my poor, uninformed mother noticed that my little lips were badly chapped.

And so the addiction began.

Blistex Lip Medex

Blistex Lip Medex

I can recall several mornings when we were standing outside my house, and I would suddenly exclaim, “Mommy!  I FORGOT TO PUT ON LIP MEDICINE!”  Little drama queen (and addict) that I was, I would proceed to scream, cry, and wave my little pudgy arms in practical hysteria as my dear mother sprinted into the house, grabbed the little barrel of evil, sprinted back outside to her bawling daughter, and applied it to my dependent lips, all before the bus even arrived to take me to Kindergarten.  Over the years, it saddens me to tell you that my addiction only worsened.  Blistex became my constant companion, always ready and eager to soothe my lips (and my soul).  Sadly, I had no idea of the danger of my obsession until my mother happened to inform a friend of hers of how much I adored Blistex.  He quirked an eyebrow and wondered suspiciously, “When she puts it on, does it tingle?”  My mother, of course, had no idea what he could mean by this strange question, and when she relayed it to me, I, too, was oblivious.  Finally, the turning point in my painful addiction:  I happened to Google “dependence on Blistex,” and a world opened up to me.  I discovered that there were two dangerous ingredients in Blistex, Camphor and Menthol (which cause a tingling sensation), that had led not only to a weakening of my poor lips but also to further dryness, thus increasing my want (and need) for the malevolent Blistex.

I was distraught; I had nowhere to turn.  How could I destroy my addiction when it had all but consumed me?

Finally, the heavens smiled upon me:  I stumbled upon Lip Balm Anonymous.  Without your fantastic web site and liberating 12-step program, I would surely be applying Blistex at this very moment!  I just had to write you and thank you for the wondrous new life you have given me!  “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!”

Very Sincerely and with Many Thanks,

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28 Responses to “Teen Addiction… and Recovery”
  1. Danielle says:

    i am soooooo adicted to vaseline, it started about 7 years ago when i discovered how soft it made my lips feel! it has to be with me ALL the time or i have panic attaks! i go though 1 tin in about 2 weeks, its beyond the joke i cant stop using it! it rules my life! i often wake up in the middle of the night 3 or 4 times to apply! i dont know whats wrong with me! :(

  2. MJ says:

    Ok people…I hate to say it…there is no addiction to lip balm as far as addictive ingredients…the addiction is PURELY psychologial and the need for constant moisture…yes, this is an addiction in itself…perhaps borderline OCD. I am a user…for as long as I can remember (I’m 35 now) I have been using lip balms. I never use Carmex, Blistex, or any of the balms containing menthol, clove, or any of the minty things, as I find personally it dries me out and makes me chapped faster if I haven’t “used”…I have recently become a fan of “YES To Carrots” melon kind. The reason I am writing right now is because in the last week, no matter how many times I put some on (literally every 3-5 mins), my lips are burning, feel dry, and now have little red burning spots on the top and bottom. I do NOT lick my lips…if they feel dry, I use a balm. I wish I didn’t have to but I know when I have tried to stop “using” a balm, I can’t deal with the dryness and burning for much longer than an hour and have to put more on. I am trying to find a serious hydrating glop to put on them so I can try to lower the amount and then hopefully use none…but we are talking probably 15 plus years of using different balms hundreds of times a day! It’s so bad, I have probably 30 tubes around the house…about 3 in my car, if I am out for the night and I forgot one, (which is a rarity) I will stop at the nearest store, gas station, pharmacy, convenient store, etc to purchase a new one…I cannot leave anywhere without one. Therin lies the “addiction” …if my lips didn’t feel dry all the time, I wouldn’t use any balms. Sooo…people coming to this site may think that there is a physical addiction (other than the physical need for soft, non-dry lips) there isn’t. Its the psycho in all of us.

  3. sarah says:

    i have that 2, MJ and Danielle
    if u find a cure, plz comment here again, telling me wat 2 do.
    many pple r disturbed by how much i put on.
    they hasnt been a second in my life when i didnt have it on(except when im in the water!) for over 2 years!!

  4. Britty says:

    I’m 20 and I’ve been addicted to lip balm for about 12 years now. Some people think it’s a joke, but it’s taken over my life! I have trouble going a half hour without applying a thick coat. I realized I had a problem when Target was out of my favorite - the blue Aveeno balm - and I nearly had a meltdown, this caused me to order a case of 35 of them online.
    …About a week ago I ran errands and forgot my lip balm at home. I was only gone a few hours and my lips completely chapped over. I have never felt something so uncomfortable, painful and irritating in my life! I was miserable. I decided to take action on Monday, September 17. I was going to go cold turkey, I cannot live the rest of my life being so dependent on something most people don’t understand. Well, like most, I failed; I have, however, severely cut down in only 3 days. I’ve noticed that especially when I’m at work in a high-stress environment, I find myself weak and running to it every chance I get. I have gone from using lip balm several times an hour to once every couple hours. I already feel like I’ve made a huge step! By only turning to my balm when I’m on the verge of insanity, I have already started overcoming my addiction. It’s possible!!! Keep trying, it can only get better! I hope to have completely kicked the habit within 2 weeks. I’ll take 2 miserable weeks over a constant hassle any day!

  5. Addicted says:

    Gosh, I’m glad I’m not the only one out there addicted to lip balm! I seriously cannot function without it on my lips. Like the previous poster, I need to put it on every 30 minutes. I put lip balm/ gloss on so much that I have to hide putting it on around my family and friends.

  6. Emily says:

    I am a serious addict. I have been for about 5 or 6 years applying every twenty min. or so. My step dad did marketing for a flavored lip balm company and gave me buckets of the stuff. It is all over the place and I never not have one. I am down to the last twenty or thirty and am fearful of was will happen when its gone. Will I be able to keep track of it when I have to buy it and only have one or two. What if I leave it at home and go somewhere that doesn’t have any to buy?

  7. confuzzled says:

    i’m not sure if i have an addiction.. i just use lip balm constantly.. chap stick is a neccesity for me.. i cant go anywhere without it.. im 16 and im confused about how to find out if im an addict or not.. help?

  8. Natalie says:

    I have been addicted to lip balm for approximately 6 years now and I am only 13 years old. It is horrible, I know, but I just get a rush when I buy lip balm and when I use it. I do not think I am addicted though because I can go without buying lip balm for months at a time even if I don’t WANT to. I have somewhere close to 10 chapsticks right now but I am dying to purchase more. I love soft lips even though when it gets in my outh it tastes disgusting. I just love the way that it feels when I glide the balm on to my lips. It makes me feel beautiful even though you can’t really see it. Just the thought of knowing that my lips are soft and smoothe makes me excited to buy more and try the different brands to see which one is the best. It is almost like a competition between brands. Who will win? Chapstick? Blistex? Softlips? Carmex? Aveeno? Chicken Poop? Who knows… but I will NEVER quit lip balm!!!

  9. Grace says:

    I too am addicted. I need a meeting bad. I haven’t used in 6 days now. My lips are dry and cracked. Is there any help for me?

  10. FlyBethy says:

    Oh it’s bad! I fly for a living and for the past twenty years have never been without lipstick, balm or lip gloss at any point during my life. When really glossy, shiny lip gloss came in I moved from a traditional lipstick to gloss full-time. I am of the firm belief that the super gloss formulation “Juicy Tubes” from Lancombe even created a dependency away from lipstick! I cannot even wear lipstick now, within a few hours my lips are bitty and split. I must have 25 Juicy Tubes in every shade and if I am not wearing it I must apply Blistex Relief Cream at least once an hour.

    The feeling of bare lips is unbearable, once when I had my bag stolen I had to use a single portion butter pat till I could get Blistex. I am out of control!!!!

  11. ME says:


  12. Issy and Emma says:

    my friend and I have been users for several years. If one of us forgets we can rely on the other. Without lipbalm we feel sad and deprived and unattractive. Blistex-emma
    help us please!!!

  13. Margaret says:

    YES, I am addicted to lip balm, and I’m fine with it. I see nothing wrong with being dependent on a harmless thing such as this. Think of all the things I COULD be addicted to! Gee, people, give yourselves a break, load up on the tubes, or whatever container you prefer, and proceed to worry about something more important! Meanwhile, time to apply some more probably!

  14. i am addicted, i just recently became addicted and im fine with it. ive been semi- addicted since i was little, because i have the gross habit of PICKING the dry skin off my lips, to the point they bleed. i use carmex, and burts bee’s, and i just went thru a pot of carmex in 2 (maybe less) weeks! i just now got a squeese tube of carmex, its better than burts bee’s. i will remember this site if anything gets out of hand. this is my backup support site!

  15. Camile says:

    i am sadly addicted to burts bees. a young aquantince of mine is also addicted to cherry chapstick. we need help. i am planing to go cold turkey in several months, but for now i will keep using my lip balm.

  16. Yo WHAT! says:

    There is NO SUCH THING AS ADDICTION!! It is all in your mind! Just dont get anymore! its called SPIT?!?
    It WORKS its made to moisturize your mouth area! …wtf this is dumb.

  17. kat says:

    I am completely addicted, I dont care what anyone says. My worst chapstick nightmare happened the other day…. I left the house for a long 12 hours of school, meetings, classes, library time, leaving my purse behind and bringing my bag with my books. I got into the parking lot realizing i forgot my chapstick, not to worry i have several tubes in my arm rest…. then as i pulled out my favorite tube of chapstick lip moisture (the blue one) i pulled the top off and the warm now liquid sprayed all over my car (in turn ruining my jeans) the heat of the day had melted my chapsticks into puddles! Now chapstick-less I go to the mini-store on campus to buy a tube for the day, and all they had was carmex…. which i am practically allergic too. I had to sit through 3 classes before I could leave campus go to the gas station and buy a three pack of my favorite brand, So stressful!
    I know its becoming a problem because when i don’t have any on i sit there rub my lips with my sleeve and all i can think about is how badly i need it, I will do almost anything to get my chapstick!

  18. Gimmie a break says:

    I honestly thought this was a joke site. The contents certainly are! There is absolutely no such thing as an addiction to lip balm. It’s called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It’s a ritual to put on lip products, just like someone might have to touch things 3 times in a row, chew food a certain way or put on the left clothes first when getting dressed. I can guarantee if the people (especially teenagers) on here who say about having to have X number of lip products in their pocket or having to sleep with it in their hands will have an anxiety problem of some sort that will be far better treated by seeking help from a counselor. It’s a security blanket effect. The reason the skin on the lips wears out or feels sensitive without lip products on is because the skin on the lips has no sebaceous glands and cheaply made, bad quality skincare or incompatible products/ingredients will aggravate dryness of the skin. It’s exactly the same as using the incorrect cleanser and moisturiser will cause breakouts or dryness, or overly harsh shampoo and conditioner which can strip oily hair of it’s nautral oils making the oil glands over produce oil to try to compensate for the damaging effect.
    As for Kevin C. shame on you for playing on the anxieties of the vulnerable and the downright mockery of the 12 step programme. Your actions are disgusting!

  19. Emily says:

    It really isn’t a joke. I have been addicted mildly for about 4 years, but it got to the point where my lips feels dry if I don’t put it on almost every hour. I saw on Dr. Oz that the continuous application of lip balms causes the dead skin cells to not be able to fall off, which explains why if you stop using your balm for an hour or so, your lips will become dry, crack and peel. I know. This happens to me. It’s not just an addiction to the feeling of it on your lips, or a psychological thing. If you use it enough, it truly becomes a physical addiction. I haven’t used to lip balm more than 4 times in the past 4 and a half days and my lips are continuously thick with dead and dry skin, peeling and cracking if I move my mouth in a certain way. the only way to get over this is just to stop using it. dont apply anything at all, and drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. it can take weeks. but all i know is i dont want to have to keep carrying chapstick around all the time for the fear of the pain of chapped lips that comes if i go hours without. it is embarrasing to go through right now, because my lips look gross. but lucky for me i have a very supportive boyfriend who helps me get through. i seriously can not wait until the day that i am no longer so physically dependent on these stupid tubes of wax, and can save all that money that has been spent!!!

  20. Red says:

    You guys do realize that this letter was probably satire, right?

    I agree with MJ and Gimmie A Break. This is LOL material, and it’s really entertaining until you realize that it may be stopping people with genuine cases of OCD or serious anxiety problems from getting help from, you know, somebody with an actual MD or PhD.

  21. Ronya says:

    OMG ive been addicted to lipbalm for a year but im not obsessive . I cant go a day with no lip balm but i will go for 5 hours at the most without lipbalm. I have over 80 lipbalms and i like collecting them . Its also because they come in cute lil pink pots and tubes is also why i like them

  22. Teresa Jones says:

    About a year ago (08/2013) I decided to kick my lip balm habit. At the time I was using Burt’s Bees about 6 times a day. Before that I had used petroleum jelly many times a day, had a bottle of it in the bathroom and used it every time I went to go to the bathroom and in the middle of the night. I believe giving up the petroleum jelly was a major step in the right direction (I had used it for over 30 years) and then finally giving up the Burt’s Bees was another step. What I use now is liquid coconut oil that you can buy at the health food store put into empty roll-on perfume bottles I got from Ebay . I glide that over my lips and at least I have something every now and then to moisten them but it has an entirely different feel than the other 2 products because my lips still peel and it doesn’t smother them. Also, I use a product called The Silver Solution gel once or twice daily which contains 24 ppm SilverSol, TEA and a carbomer. It doesn’t actually moisten my lips but I believe it aids in the healing process. Anyway, now that it is a year later my lips don’t look and feel horrible but the bottom lip still peels and flakes off. Yes, I’m still in the healing process from this addiction but I know this is a lifestyle change and worth the effort. Good luck to all of you in recovery. This web site has helped me when I was at low periods when my lips were so chapped and I felt people were starring too much at them, but now they don’t draw that much attention, for which I’m grateful. If you’ve never had to deal with this, you don’t know anything about it and you should keep your opinions to yourself.

  23. zoe says:

    I don’t think its an addiction. I read somewhere that When u use lip balm so many years it destroyed your natural lip wax. without your lip wax you feel dry and need a lip balm for soothe. I have an eczema and i have been suffering from dry lips as long as i remember. I can’t go without my carmex even 30 min. if its a really addiction i think I’m too deep into that. its not about you wanna look good or something. I just simple can’t live without any lip balm. not only my lips feel dry and cracked without balm but also it gets painful and red. I know for some people it sound ridiculous but its just like medicine to me

  24. Kirandip says:

    My addiction I guess began like 2 years ago. I use vaseline because I cant really find the fancy lip balm cuz I live in the UK lol. I take the little pot of vaseline EVERYWHERE I go no joke, the most annoying thing is that I have to put the lip balm around my mouth because I think the skin is so dry. So when I put the vaseline on in public my friends are like “why do you put on vaseline like that?!” And Im like “because I do!!” I really need help lol because I feel like this addiction will last forever. I have to lick my lips and then apply more vaseline like literally rub it on with all my fingers 0-o weird right? Yup. HELP MEH

  25. Lip hydrater says:

    Has anyone else noticed that WATER is a fantastic cure for chapped lips?

    Over many years of chapped lips, I find that the lip balm/chapstik/blistex I put on has only a very short-term effect and if I use that alone, I’m pretty much guaranteed to need it again every hour ad infinitum. A couple of years ago, I realized that the underlying reason my lips were chapped was I was dehydrated.

    It now seems so clear to me: our internal level of hydration directly affects the amount of moisture our bodies can put into skin tissue building, and since lips have some of our thinnest skin with some of the fastest re-building and turnover, it makes sense that they will reflect fairly up-to-date info on our internal hydration!

    So now, when I feel my lips are chapped, my first reaction is to drink a glass or more of water (depending on how thirsty I realize I am!). If I’m still chapped, I may THEN apply my lip stuff.

    Seriously though, most people are chronically dehydrated. Get in the habit of drinking water and REPLACING your LIP BALM with a WATER BOTTLE you carry around. Your body (and lips!) will thank you for it.

  26. Anonymous says:

    This is all bullshit.

  27. Jennifer says:

    I have over 100 lipbalms.
    Over all I spent around £46.00 on revos from USA
    £15.00 on eos
    £70.00 on my babysits all together
    Lip smackers
    Home made
    Lip scrubs

  28. Ainsley S says:

    I have this Chapstick addiction as well. mine just started, I think it had to do with stress. now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always admired Chapstick; but I just have been dependent. I realized it was bad when I was called for an award at school and was super nervous and my first reaction was to reach in my skirt pocket and grab my Chapstick. with great angst I held out, knowing I would be super embarrassed if I couldn’t recieve my award due to me applying Chapstick. but when I got back to my seat I applied Chapstick for a solid 3 minuets. another time was I had just gotten a new Eos and by a week in my friend look at it and said “oh shit dude that’s a lot for it only being one week” and I was really embarrassed! all of my friends think it’s silly if I try and talk to them about this, so someone please tell me how to limit my us of this harmless yet embarrassing addiction.

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