Chapstick Addiction: Getting Lippy About Lip Balm

chapstick addiction 02 imgIs chapstick addiction real? Many websites have an opinion about the answer to this question, some calling it an “urban legend”, and others offering advice for the afflicted. Is there a definitive answer to this question? In an age where we seem to be rather “addicted” to television programs and other media documenting not only drug and alcohol addiction, but also gambling addiction stories, sex and relationship addiction, love addiction recovery, and video game addiction symptoms, is it going too far to suggest that chapstick addiction is a serious problem, and that we should be weary of the lip balm that we reach for to keep our kissers soft and supple?

Addiction Definition

The truth is that we humans can get addicted to a great variety of substances and behaviors, including, yes, reaching for chapstick. The key to determining whether or not anything we do has shifted into the realm of addiction, is by defining exactly what addiction means, and clarifying the difference between dependency and addiction:

Addiction refers to persistent compulsion, that may involve a substance or simply a pattern of behavior that has two components:

Physiological: addiction shares with dependency a physical component – if an individual who is addicted to something goes without their vice, they experience unpleasant physical symptoms of withdrawal.

  • One of the most poignant examples of this physiological component is demonstrated in the case of heroin addiction symptoms, oxycodone addiction symptoms, and symptoms of addiction to any opiate. If someone who is addicted (or dependent) on heroin, oxycodone, or another opiate, goes more than half a day without their drug of choice, physical symptoms including hot flashes, sweats, shivering, shaking, and severe diarrhea develop quickly. All addictions involve the release of feel-good neurotransmitters – chemicals in the brain responsible for controlling states of the body and mind – such as dopamine, when the addictive behavior is fulfilled, and disagreeable symptoms related to disruptions in normal neurotransmitter activity in the absence of the subject of addiction.
  • Though lip balms do not contain ingredients that directly affect the release of neurotransmitters like cocaine and heroin do, chapstick addiction has a distinct physiological presentation as well – if someone who has developed a chapstick addiction goes without the item, their lips become dry and flaky. There are ingredients in brands like chapstick and Carmex lip balms that can induce these symptoms, especially when they are used in excess. At the end of this article, healthier alternatives that moisturize lips without presenting the possibility for physical withdrawal are given.

Psychological: Addiction is unique from dependency in that it involves an additional psychological component – not only is there usually an underlying mental reason why people use certain substances or repeat certain behaviours, but if they do not do so, they experience unpleasant psychological symptoms, depression and anxiety being the most common. In the case of chapstick addiction, anxiety is most often the psychological response that an individual will experience in the absence of their lip balm. 

Why is Chapstick Addictive?

Chapstick addiction is not only caused by the satisfying feeling of having freshly moisturized lips. Popular lip balm brands including chapstick and Carmex contain ingredients that cause the aforementioned physical withdrawal symptoms – drier, irritated lips. The same way that cocaine side effects, like a stuffed up nose, cause a cocaine addict to use more of the drug to relieve their clogged sinuses, creating a vicious cycle, chapstick’s ingredients cause side effects that keep users reaching for that tube of lip balm.

The biggest culprits of chapstick addiction are the inclusion of alcohols in the ingredients of this and other popular brands, including menthol, which creates a tingling sensation, propanol, and phenol. Alcohols dry out the skin, and our lips are composed of particularly sensitive layers of skin. Another common ingredient that has the same effect is salicylic acid. If these products are compulsively applied, the need to use them will increase dramatically because of their content. 

What is the Cure for Chapstick Addiction?

Just as the first step to curing cocaine addiction is to stop using cocaine, the primary way to cure chapstick addiction is to stop using chapstick. This doesn’t mean that you have to stop moisturizing your lips – three excellent replacements for chapstick that will do the job without drying them out, all of which are natural, are:

  • Shea butter
  • Beeswax
  • Coconut Oil

This video demonstrates how to make homemade, organic lip balm, that includes some of these ingredients:

Ditching your chapstick for one of these healthy alternatives will set you on the fast track to curing your chapstick addiction.

Originally posted 2013-01-08 11:05:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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