Health or Habit?
By Lise Waring
It seems there’s two types of people: Those who use lip balm and those who don’t. Underlying the argument for either side are often claims of “lip-balm addiction.” But, is there such a thing?
In the mid-1990s, the manufacturers of Carmex, the popular lip treatment packaged in the small round container with the yellow lid, were accused of creating an addictive product. Rumors spread that Carmex was using ground fiber glass to cause chapping and ensure further need for their lip balm. According to www.snopes.com, a myth-debunking website, these allegations are false. Carmex follows FDA restrictions and was simply created in 1936 by a man with cold sores. The ingredients, mostly menthol, camphor, alum, and wax, do pack a pleasurable rush to the kissers, but not one capable of causing addiction.
When Dr. Sharon Grundy, owner of Telluride’s Mariposa Medical Spa, was asked about the possibility of lip-balm addiction, she quickly retorted, “I don’t believe it. Lip balm is not like Afrin nasal spray, which has a rebound.” Grundy reflected further that “dry, crusty lips are the result of dehydration.” To conquer chapped lips, Grundy recommends exfoliation using a simple mixture of granulated sugar with an essential oil or Vaseline. Rub this concoction into chafed lips and follow up with lip balm. Grundy’s preferred lip balms contain an spf of 15 or 30-lip cancer is no myth-and natural essential oils.
Dr. Andrew Weil, a world-renowned leader, pioneer and author in the field of integrative medicine, recommends calendula for chapped lips. Calendula is extracted from the ornamental marigold flower and is available in oil, tinctures and lip balms. Weil says to look for products that contain at least a 10 percent extract of Calendula officinalis. Additionally, if you sunburn your lips, calendula may expedite healing and offer relief.
Pleasure seems to be at the root of the lip-balm controversy. The bottom line is that lip balm feels nice. If you use it, your smackers become accustomed to being moisturized, and if they’re lucky lips, sun protection is part of the package.