Years ago, cigarette makers admitted that they deliberately manipulated their cigarettes in order to make smokers more addicted. Then we found out that certain food additives, such as MSG, artificial sweeteners, and salt, make you hungry for more food. Now we have to ask: Is it possible that lip-balm makers have made their products addictive?
Well, if you've ever noticed that you have to reapply your lip balm every few hours, you might be on to something.
While the word addictive might not be entirely accurate, new research suggests many lip balm products actually make you want to use their products more.
According to New York-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, some lip balms contain ingredients that might irritate your lips and cause them to become dehydrated. And dehydrated lips prompt you to add more lip balm. The result is an endless cycle of applying lip balm, drying your lips, and applying more lip balm.
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It would be bad enough if that were the only problem with lip balm. But there's more. Most lip balms use petroleum jelly and other ingredients that create an "occlusive barrier." This barrier causes your lips to produce less natural moisture. So your lips stay dry. The lip balm simply soothes the dry feeling and makes your lips feel moist. But underneath, they're screaming for moisture.
If you want to really moisturize your lips, you need to avoid lip balms that contain petroleum jelly, salicylic acid, menthol, or fragrance. These all can irritate and dry out your lips. Some dermatologists recommend using lanolin. But lanolin has its own problems. Lanolin comes from sheep wool. It's a natural product that can be safe if it's harvested properly. Unfortunately, many ranchers dip their sheep in pesticides, which gets passed on through the wool. And some people are allergic to wool alcohol, which is a component of lanolin. If you develop contact dermatitis after using a lanolin product, you may have an allergy to wool alcohol.
A simple way to avoid all of these problems is to use a lip balm that uses sunflower seed oil, extra virgin olive oil, rose hip seed oil, and hemp seed oil. These oils give your lips a breathable occlusive barrier that doesn't cause your lips to dry out. These oils are similar to your own body's oils, and they don't cause your lips to stop producing natural moisture.
You can get all of these and other natural healing ingredients in Système 41's Hydrating Lip Therapy. It actually works to remoisturize your lips so you don't have to reapply the lip balm as often. Dry air, sun exposure, and pollution have a way of drying out your lips anyway. You don't need your lip balm making it even worse.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND.