Walking around Downtown Phoenix, or any desert city, in the hot summer months is not too painful if you keep a couple necessities with you. A bottle of water, sunscreen, and, my personal favorite, lip balm. I’ve developed this habit where I need to put on lip balm almost every time I step out, which is frequently. Is there such a thing as lip gloss addiction?
It’s not technically an “addiction.” It’s more of a game of “cat and mouse” with your body’s natural reactions. Your lips are one of the most sensitive parts of your body and thus your skin cells are constantly drying up and dying. Underneath your many layers of skin cells is the basal layer of skin, which is responsible for creating new skin cells when the old ones have dried up. When you put on lip balm, you basically create a new layer of moisture that traps the underlying moisture in the basal layer. That means the basal layer never gets the signal to make new cells.
Once that layer of lip gloss is gone and your cells begin to dry up again, the basal layer goes into overdrive to replace both the old skin cells and the new ones. The basal layer send a stronger impulse to the brain to let it know it’s going into overdrive which, in turn, makes you more consciously aware of your dry lips and tempts you to use lip balm as a quick fix.
You add another layer of lip balm, it stops the basal layer, and the cycle continues. The more you use lip balm, the more you’ll get hooked onto it.
Treatment? Self-determination. There’s really no fixed solution for breaking a lip balm “addiction”. Try cutting down the number of times you use lip balm daily. Also try switching to a lighter, natural material of lip balm that’s less overbearing on your lips. If you need to use lip balm, only go outside when you need to and go out during the cooler parts of the day (early morning or later in the evening).
A helpful tip I use is applying a fresh coat of lip balm after every class I go to. Since I only have 2-3 classes a day and they’re fairly well spaced out, it’s a nice schedule to live by. A similar suggestion would be to apply a fresh coat every time you’re on break or lunch at a job. Having a routine time to apply lip balm will help you keep track of how often you use it and can help you adjust to using less.
It’s not that using a lot of lip balm is bad. But if you’re living on a small budget, $2.00 a week for a stick of lip balm isn’t exactly the definition of a tight wallet.
A far worse habit than applying too much lip balm is licking your lips. Your saliva is naturally warm to help digest food. Coating your lips with warm fluids literally sucks the moisture right out of them, leading to dry, cracked, and chapped lips. If you have a lip-licking habit, you really have no choice but to switch to lip balm.
Fortunately, summer is nearing its end and the need for lip balm won’t be so dire, unless you live in the desert where every day it’s either hot, windy, dry, or all of the above.