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Lip Balm Addiction: Real or Imagined?

It may not be as detrimental to your health as smoking a cigarette or taking drugs, but the cost of lip balm addiction is real, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Lip balm addicts spent more than $378 million last year, according to ACNielson Co.

“It’s been about 13 years, six months and two days,” said Kevin Crossman, of how long it has been since he last used lip balm. “I went cold turkey.”

Crossman is founder of Lip Balm Anonymous. There are other groups dedicated to the ‘illness,’ such as Facebook’s “I Think I’m Addicted to Lip Balm.”

In fact, Dr. Marcia Driscoll, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at the University of Maryland, told the newspaper when she polled three colleagues about the addiction, all three of them pulled lip products from their pockets.

“This might be more common than I believe,” she said to herself.

Nature can take a toll on delicate lips—the wind, sun, cold air, dry air and cold air can cause chapped lips, she said. And, if you are a female who wears lipstick, glosses and moisturizers to begin with, Driscoll said you are a prime candidate for lip irritation.

Driscoll said people with irritated lips should avoid lip balms with phenol, lanolin, parabin or anything that has a fragrance, as they may seem soothing at first but will be irritating in the long run. It’s the irritation that may cause users to become dependent on lip balm.

She added that old-fashioned petroleum jelly is as good as anything to prevent and sooth chapped lips and will not lead to dependence.

Click here to read more from the Baltimore Sun.