Opinion: Lip balm addiction

POSTED: 11/29/11 7:14 AM

Our lips are sensitive and they suffer from for instance excessive exposure to sunshine and from chronic infections. The lip’s epidermis consists of protein threads and several types of fat. The balance between these components determines the lip’s ability to retain fluid.
To battle irritation and dry lips many people use a lip balm. That seems innocent enough, but the makers of the web site Lip balm Anonymous, or LBA, say they know better. Lip balm is addictive, anonymous witness statements on the site suggest. In our climate lip balm is the weapon of choice against dry lips.
The experts – surprise, surprise – do not al, agree with each other on the subject. Pieter-Jan Coenraads, a professor in dermatology at the National University of Groningen’s medical center says that people who start using lip balm to battle dry lips without dealing with the underlying causes, incorrectly blame the balm for the fact that their complaints remain.
Labello-producer Beiersdorf, the market leader in the lip balm segment, sent the Volkskrant an overview of the ingredients in its lip balm. The product contains several fatty substances and also oil. Coenraads says that the oil makes the balm spreadable. A suitable oil-type locks in water and is therefore above suspicion, he says.
The LBA website contains tips to get rid of the lip balm addiction. Easy does it, because users who stop abruptly seem to suffer days and sometimes weeks of burst lips.
Coenraads suspects that the constant use of lip balm is triggered by the users’ behavior. For instance, lip balm could cause users to lick their lips more frequently, especially when the balm has a flavor. When skin gets wet, dries and gets wet again, dehydration occurs quickly.
The dermatologist says that this fact is easily established by doing a test with one’s hand.
The vicious circle of applying lip balm, licking one’s lips and applying more lip balm, the newspaper concludes, is the result of what goes around in someone’s head.
In that sense, we’d like to add, frequent lip balm users are indeed junkies.

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