We received this as a comment on one of the other blog posts but thought it was so nicely written it deserved more attention. Thanks to Mary P. for the testimony.
I am a 53 year old mom and grandmother that finally quit cold turkey from using Blistex Medicated Berry lip balm. I had used it for many years. I had two in my purse (in case one got lost), one in my night stand, one in the bathroom drawer, one always in my pocket, one on a tray in the kitchen and even two in the living room. They were everywhere like rabbits.
My lowest point was having to stop at Walgreen’s because I was on my way to a wedding and discovered I did not have any in my purse. We had to make a quick detour to buy some. I bought 10 of them, and had to carry them in my purse all day, so they would melt from the summer heat in the car.
I was aware that I was always whipping out my Blistex Medicated Berry balm after every meal, and anytime my lips felt dry. A year ago, my younger sister encouraged me to just quit, but I was not ready yet. Finally, after Christmas I was fed up with needing lip balm about four times an hour. At that point, it was not relieving the dryness any more, no matter how much or how often I applied it.
On my own, I decided “Enough is enough!” I went cold turkey and stopped using the lip balm completely. I told my husband what I was doing for his support. After about two days, my upper lip was so dry, it was getting a crack. I resisted putting on more of that lip balm, knowing I would be right back in its’ grip. I did use a drop of unscented hand cream on the lips just once before I went to bed, to help heal the lip crack while I slept. After that, I was fine. If my lips felt terribly dry, I did not lick them, but touched a bit of water to them. This may sound gross, but another thing that really helped….a few times I used the grease off my own nose to soothe the dry lips. I figured it is my own natural chemical, and would help. It did. Now, I am free of Blistex Medicated Berry lip balm for about 3 weeks now! I am so proud that I licked this problem! I don’t use any product on my lips anymore, and am doing just fine!
I am here to say that…folks…don’t listen to detractors that laugh-off your addiction to lip balm. It is an insidious addiction that is very hard to comprehend or appreciate unless you are a lip balm addict. I also want to add that I was addicted to Carmex (little white jar with the yellow lid) when I was in my early 20’s. I got off that when my first child was born because I wanted to kiss my newborn. Years later during a conversation, I learned that my mother-in-law’s sister (who was a nurse on the other side of the country) told me that she too once upon a time was addicted to Carmex. I thought I was alone with that problem. Somewhere on the web, I read that Carmex is called “Crack for the Lips.” It was made to dry up cold sores and has drying agents in it. Carmex was as hard to stop as Blistex Medicated Berry Balm.
If you are a lip balm addict, you can quit if you are ready to do so. I went years and years before I just got fed up with the routine. It will happen suddenly, and if you are reading this, you are searching for help. I think there is a market driven industry that loves if you continually use their product. I was shocked to read about the little girl that applied crayon to her lips at school when she realized she left her lip balm at home. Remember this mantra…if you don’t start, you don’t have to stop. If you are addicted, you are stronger than you know! Sign me…lip balm free! So long Blistex! All product into the trash where it belongs.
A fairly even-handed view of lip balm addiction has just been published by Modern Chic Magazine. Author Gabrielle Blue sums it up this way:
No company wants to be the first to admit their product is in any way harmful or addictive, and for all we know the lip balm industry is innocent. But as lip balm addicts continue to grow in numbers, develop support groups on Facebook and unite to kick the habit on sites such as Lip Balm Anonymous, it’s getting harder to believe there’s no truth to their claims.
Blue also got some plum quotes, including one from Carma Labs, makers of Carmex. “We are addictive,” says Mike Pietsch, vice-president of sales at Carma Labs. “We’re addictively good.” Talk about playing up the addictive legend for fun and profit! Meanwhile, Paula Begoun , author of “The Original Beauty Bible” says of “medicated” balms such as Carmex, “‘Medicated,’ however, is at best a dubious term.”
Read more: three-part expose at Modern Chic Magazine, The Lip Balm Addiction.
I really did not think I had a addition until I took the quiz because I am on Accutane and if I don’t put any on for a few hours my lips crack and bleed and I have always had dry skin on every wear except my face (which is extremliy oily) with on exception my lips which were usually dry and I have dandruff because of a dry scalp and a rash becuse my skin is so dry (this started two day affter going on Accutane) and I usually forget to put any on until they crack but I put it on a lot and if I lose mine I just have to buy another and I put it on no matter were I am except on stage.
So do I have a addition or not?
Addictions of all types are not uncommon in the performing arts, so your question is important and timely. The good news is that your acne should fade as you age out of your teenage years, making your skin much more moist and less susceptible to dryness and cracking. But, given the issues, it is probably best to talk to your dermatologist about your problems with your acne medicine.
Are you addicted? Well, your rambling description might be signs of being “out of it” due to your addiction, or might just be poor grammar. It sounds like you use lip balm only when your lips are really cracked and dry, and once they return to normal you stop using. That would lead me to believe that no, you are not addicted at this time.
Today someone offered me some lip balm, I said no, it’s addictive in my experience. They seemed surprised. I explained why I thought so. I figured I’d look around on the net too, seeing what others thought about this. Of course, came across this site and many others dealing with the issue. I was surprised not to see anyone mention the reason I had. Now, I didn’t read your whole site, or every site of course, so maybe I missed it.
The idea about the drying chemicals makes sense. But, I think there’s even a more simple reason that could apply to all brands. Back in high school my biology teacher said that when you continuously apply oil to your skin, such as with balm, the oil glands will eventually stop producing the normal amount of oil. It may take several weeks of discontinued use for things to return to a more normal state.
I think this idea explains the addiction very simply. Stopping the balm cold turkey, of course, leads to a burning discomfort. The discomfort and misunderstanding of how long it may take to heal could lead to a quick reapplication, just keeping the glands dormant.
Maybe you already knew this, I just don’t get why I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere on these sites.
It certainly is as good a concept as any we’ve seen. Now, if we could only confirm you teacher’s hypothesis…