Ask the Addict: 16 year old addict

AQ writes:

I am 16 years old and am currently trying to quit chapstick for good. I had used chapstick for about 8 months before trying to quit. I made a plan for me to try and quit. On Monday, I could use it 4 times, Tuesday 3 times, and so on until I disallowed myself to use it all day. The first 4-5 days were incredibly tough, but progressively after that it began to get better.

Then it ceased to improve. Almost all day, I feel like I need to lick my lips, for my lips need the moisture in order for me to function. Seems crazy, but it’s true, and I cannot stand it. It has been 4 weeks and 2 days since I last used chapstick. For a little context, I used the blue Blistex cans dubbed “chemical pots.”

I sir here in sheer agony, lips incredibly uncomfortable. Although my lips are uncomfortable, they do not crack or bleed. This is very odd. I cannot stand it. What do I do?

It sounds like you’re on the slow road to recovery. It isn’t easy, and you’ll need to take it “one day at a time.” Getting together a chapter in your high school may be a way to build up a community of friends who can help each other.

The Forty-Year Addiction and Blistex DCT

Hi Kevin,

dctI love your website.. Just brilliant. I always thought I was alone with this addiction.

I started using when I was 13 years old. I am now 53! Forty years of slathering grease on my lips. I started with simple Blistex chapstick and  gradually moved on to the heroin of chapsticks: Blistex DCT (not a stick, it’s a little pot of chemicals). I have chapstick everywhere…. Several in my purse, my nightstand, my desk…. I have to use it  every couple of hours during the day and once or twice in the middle of the night. A few times I left home without it, panicked, turned around and drove back to retrieve my stash.  I worry about running out so I stock up. Most retail stores have stopped selling this DCT brand (my chapstick of choice)  so I have to order it on line from amazon. I have about 20 tubs at the moment.

My husband teases me about my chapstick use and doesn’t believe it’s an addiction. My family look at me strangely when I whip out my goop at the dinner table. My friends think it’s just nerves… But I know the truth: I am terrified of withdrawal. Why? I went through withdrawal twice years ago and it was a nightmare. I sensed my chapstick use was excessive so I thought it was time to break the habit. I tried to stop cold turkey. To my horror, each day my lips got drier and drier and cracked and bled and shriveled. They looked and felt awful.This went on for 2 weeks and did not get better. So I finally gave in. I stuck my finger into the blistex pot, scooped some lifesaving goop and slathered it on my painful lips. Instant relief! All symptoms disappeared. I felt normal again.

Since my terrible withdrawal experience, I tried to switch brands. Something more natural from the health food store. They don’t work! Only DCT does the job.

I just wanted to share my story to emphasize that this addiction is real and can last a lifetime. Although I am fearful about trying to stop again I may try your 12 step program. Thanks for creating the website.. I had a good laugh and then here I am fessin’ up!


Sent from my iPad

I’m glad you found something on our site humorous, though I’m not sure what that would be. But, your story certainly illustrates the long-term dangers of using lip balms.

Blistex DCT is yet-another product in a long line of addictive products. Billing itself as “Daily Conditioning Treatment for Lips”, the product oozes addictive propaganda from it’s website. Some balms try to hide their addictive properties by saying they should be used when lips are chapped, but not DCT. The website text reads in part “DCT keeps your lips in perfect condition every day of the year, in all climates, through all activities.”

In other words, once you start you’re hooked! For the rest of your life! Think we’re joking? Have you forgotten Debbie’s story and her 40 year addiction?

Debbie’s story about only feeling “normal” while taking lip balm is not uncommon, especially after such a long time of usage. Given that weaning and cold turkey don’t seem to be effective, I’ve referred Debbie to a local LBA chapter where she can get the help she so desperately needs.

Step by Step, but not the 12 Steps

Think lip balm addiction isn’t a serious problem in our schools and with our kids? Think again.

Hi, I’m 15 and have been gradually getting more addicted to lip balms for the last 10 years. It has come to the point where I can no longer go 20 minutes with out the need to apply lip balm. I find your site very supportive, however there is no advise on how to quit lip balms. Please could you post a step by step method on how to stop, opposed to your current 12 step program that does not help the user stop their addiction.

Thank you for the help the LBA has already given me and I hope I will be able to post my story when I quit in the optimistic future.

Yours sincerely, Alfie S. (addict)

Our Recovery page lists three methods: Cold Turkey, Weaning, and the 12 Steps. The first two don’t really lend themselves to the step method you’re asking for.

  • Cold Turkey Step One: Stop using
  • Cold Turkey Step Two: there is no step two.

Weaning inherently has a step process, but this will differ quite a bit from person to person.

There’s a reason by the 12 Steps exist. For some people that’s the only way to overcome their addictions to lip balm. It doesn’t work for everyone, though, which is why we do mention these other techniques. If you have any other ideas, just leave a comment below.

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,