Lip Service - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Lip Service

Attached to your Chapstick?  Bound to Blistex?  If you can't leave home without it, listen up.  You could have an addiction.

Karen Buckelew says, "as soon as the lip balm wears off I need to put more on."

Karen likes her lip balm, always making sure she has plenty on hand.

Karen Buckelew says,  "whenever I see a new flavor or fragrance that i might like... I jump on that bandwagon."

Does her craving for soft lips smack of addiction? Karen doesn't think so.

Karen says, "you know, it's not something that, you know, really interferes with my daily life or anything."

Dr. Marcia Driscoll says, "I really hadn't heard the word addiction until I googled 'lip balm addiction' on the Internet."

There's a lot of chatter online from self-proclaimed lip balm addicts. But dermatologist Marcia Driscoll says, right now, there's no hard, scientific evidence that it's a real problem.

Dr. Driscoll says, "true addiction is thought of as something that is a physical dependence. That is, that if you take away the lip balm, would the person have a withdrawal syndrome?"

She says the urge to gloss could be more of a 'psychological' dependence - a habit that can start, innocently enough, with chapped lips.

Dr. Driscoll says, "sometimes it's a chronic problem because of an allergy or a chronic irritant exposure."

Ironically, the culprit could be the fragrances added to your lip balm. Switching to a petroleum-based product might help.

Dr. Driscoll says, "these are typically without fragrance and they typically don't contain other irritants like phenol."

If chapping won't heal, see a doctor. There may be something else going on.

Dr. Driscoll says lanolin and sunscreens can sometimes be an irritant to your lips.  Also sun, wind, cold temperatures, lip licking, toothpaste and even dental floss can cause problems.

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