Doctors Downplay Addictive Properties of Lip Balm in New Investigative Report

There’s a new investigative report about the harmful effects of Lip Balm Addiction from PhillyVoice. The investigators spoke with doctors who downplayed the issue:

I don’t think using it makes you use it more. Some like the way it feels and that makes them use it more, to maintain that smoothness.
Dr. Nazanin Saedi

The practical advice on the issue was provided by our own Kevin C. who said that medicated lip balms are designed to dry out your lips. It says so right on the package. And then people will use it more and more and more.

Lastly, representatives of Chap Stick and Carmex denied the claims that their products are addictive. Despite the evidence we see every day on the streets. So sad.

The Guardian Positions Lip Balm Addiction as OCD

A major article chronicling our struggle with sobriety was published today. Are you a lip balm addict? by Morwenna Ferrier includes some interesting statistics, including that the balm industry is now expected to hit £1 billion this year.  Unfortunately, the article describes the affliction as not really an addiction but merely a compulsion.

While lip balm isn’t addictive in the actual, traditional sense because it doesn’t contain ingredients which generally cause physiological dependency – a spokesperson from mental health charity Mind said it’s not something they’ve come across – compulsive application is “a thing” and tantamount to an OCD. As Joel Rose, director of OCD Action, explains “the minute you define it it becomes a thing, the compulsion becomes real”. And if you like to apply lip balm 70 times a day, then you may be displaying compulsive tendencies.

Rose might be complaining that those of us in recovery from lip balm addiction are “playing fast and loose with language”, but when I was using Cherry Chapstick dozens of times a day it wasn’t because I felt a psychological desire to sooth. It was because my lips burned and I felt pain that could only be addressed using lip balm.

Still it’s nice that the Guardian article keenly plays it down the middle and acknowledges that regardless of the reason there’s pain out there for people who habitually use lip balm.

Are you one of those people who applies it multiple times a day? Yes. Do your lips still feel chapped? Yes. And yet do you continue to apply it despite evidence suggesting it’s not helping? Yes. Then you might have a problem.


Columbia Journalism School’s Lip Balm Expose

The very smart students at Columbia Journalism School put together this video about lip balm addition. In addition to a audio quote from yours truly, they also got the Carmex folks to go on the record that their products are not addictive, but according to the dermatologist who was interviewed Carmex does contain drying agents.

Columbia News Tonight: Paying Addiction Lip Service

Guardian Coverage of LBA

At LBA we always appreciate inbound links as a way for people to discover our site and start getting the help we need. It’s just a little unclear if The Guardian’s Libby Brooks is paying us a compliment or not.

A cursory search for cruel and unusual psychological fixations leads to the online forum of Lip Balm Anonymous, a group of self-described addicts for whom the mentholated kick of Carmex and co has proved damagingly compulsive. While keeping in mind that the web abhors a vacuum and adores a parody, it is nonetheless manifest that the internet age is generating access to information, guidance and support mind-boggling in its specificity and sometimes suspect in its provenance for an ever-expanding range of secretive, sad or salacious behaviours. Got troubles? Get Googling.

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