Lip balm ‘addiction’ – how does it arise?

Many questions about lip balm addiction have been received in response to an online article Jan Magazine. Below we provide more information about this phenomenon.

Your lips are like the divas of your face; they give character to the lower part of your face. Full and well-hydrated lips evoke a sense of health, youthfulness and sensuality.

However, the skin of the lips is fragile and considerably thinner than the skin of the rest of the face. The upper horny layer (stratum corneum) of the lips is 4-5 times thinner than that of the rest of the skin. Although the lips do not contain pigment cells, sweat glands or hair follicles, there are (ectopic) sebaceous glands present, also known as Fordyce spots. These sebaceous glands produce a skin oil that protects the lips from drying and other influences. This is critical to keeping lips healthy and well-hydrated.

What is the cause of lip balm addiction?

It’s more of a lip balm dependency, there is no ingredient in a lip balm, like nicotine in cigarettes, for example, which is physically addictive. Due to the unconscious excessive use of lip balm, a dependency can arise.

There are different triggers and different factors. Earlier mentioned, the lip skin is very thin. Because the stratum corneum consists of 3-4 layers, the skin barrier function is poor and the capacity to retain moisture between the stratum corneum layers is low. This makes the lips dry out faster.

There are triggers or stimuli such as weather influences ( sun, wind and temperature fluctuations such as indoor and outdoor temperature in the winter period, can irritate or dry out the lips even more. Smoking and certain medications can also cause dryness, making the lips flaky and dull in color. Smoking and certain medications can also cause dryness, making the lips flaky and dull in color.

Due to this, the low hydration capacity of the lips, triggers that make the lip skin more irritated, people consciously or unconsciously try to counteract this by moistening the dry lips with saliva. The digestive enzymes present in saliva and evaporation of saliva cause the lip skin to dry out even more. This leads to a vicious circle, which eventually provokes and maintains what is commonly referred to as ‘addiction’.

How long does it take to get rid of this addiction?

In general, the ingredients that can cause lip irritation disappear from your lips fairly quickly once you stop using the balm. Moreover, if you are conscious not to constantly moisten your lips with saliva, you will find that you will quickly get rid of this “addiction. It’s important to take good care of your lips, and our new lip care product can help you do just that!

What does lip balm do to your lips?

Primarily, it is intended to form a sealing barrier to combat dry lips. However, the question is whether the occlusive effect of a lip balm makes the sebaceous glands in the lips ‘lazy’. It is possible that the closing effect of a balm temporarily slows down oil production in the sebaceous glands. There are no known studies on this. It is known that as we age, sebum oil production generally decreases, causing us to slowly dry out.

Lip Balm Addiction
Lip Balm

Are there lip balm ingredients that are good for your lips?

There are very few studies that have properly investigated the treatment of dry lips. Vaseline is a widely used ingredient in cosmetics, including lip balm. Vaseline is water-repellent, occlusive and the advantage is that it does not cause skin irritations or eczema. Nadeel van vaseline is dat het zwaar aan kan voelen en deze sensatie kan een trigger zijn.

The lips need more. In addition to a good occlusive effect, preventing moisture loss from the lips, you also want to retain and attract moisture. Ideally, a “breathable” lip moisturizer that both attracts and retains moisture.

Which species would you recommend?

There are certain ingredients in lip balm that cause lip skin irritation. Preferably an unscented balm with as few added ingredients as possible, which feels light on the lip skin, does not irritate or cause eczema, attracts and retains moisture in the lips. That’s a lot of wishes.

There are some substances that come close to these expectations. Ingredients such as ceramide, shea butter, sunflower oil (which is suitable for the skin), jojoba oil, dimethicone, hemp seed oil. For ultraviolet (UV) sun protection for the lips, look to the combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. This combination protects against both UVA and UVB sun rays and is hypoallergenic.

Which ones would you avoid?

Lip balm have different ingredients, especially especially fragrances such as menthol, peppermint and spearmint oil, cinnamaic aldehyde, citrus, eucalyptus, anethole and L-carvone.

Lip Balm Addiction Mint Spearmint

This can your prompt to “taste” the fragrances that make your lips come into contact come with your saliva with as consequence that the lips further dry out.

Also canUV filters (oxybenzone, octinoxate), castor oil, ricinoleate, gallate, lanoline, salicylzuur carmine, oleyl alcohol, sesame oil, stearates and colofonium.

Lip balms contain various ingredients, including fragrances such as menthol, peppermint, spearmint oil, cinnamaldehyde, citrus, eucalyptus, anethole and L-carvone.

Although these fragrances can add a pleasant taste to lip balm, it is important to note that tasting these fragrances can bring your lips into contact with saliva, which can lead to further drying of the lips.

In addition, ingredients such as UV filters (oxybenzone, octinoxate), castor oil, ricinoleate, gallate, lanolin, salicylic acid, carmine, oleyl alcohol, sesame oil, stearates, colophonium and shellac (dye) can cause lip irritation or even lip eczema.

It is essential to be aware of the ingredients in lip balms and choose products that are gentle and hydrating to the lips without harmful additives. Our new lip balm is specially formulated to nourish and protect your lips without irritants for comfortable and healthy lip care.

While you are here

A common problem is dry skin (in Greek xerosis cutis). The causes of this are inclement weather conditions, low humidity due to air conditioning or heating, frequent showering and use of soap. In addition, various physical conditions such as kidney function problems, a slow thyroid gland, heredity (such as atopy and ichthyosis vulgaris) and certain acne medications such as isotretinoin can make the skin drier.

In a mild form there is often only flakiness without complaints, but in addition to flaking you can also develop redness, a tight feeling and even eczema (asteatotic eczema). More about: Xerosis cutis

Picture of Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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