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This post was updated and republished May 2, 2019. It was originally published July 18, 2017.
We all know someone that uses lip balm not just once in a while, but often. I mean, like puts it on every hour or so. And if you don’t know someone with a Chapstick dependency, then you probably are that person!
That was me. For as long as I could remember, I always had to be wearing lip balm or my lips burned, felt naked, and that they were drying out so quickly they just might fall off my face.
If I needed lip balm and couldn’t find it, I would panic. If I left my house and accidentally left it behind, I would either turn around and go back home to get it or stop somewhere to buy more.
Needless to say, I was addicted to lip balm.
I did lots of research on how to overcome this addiction and so many results I found said basically the same thing: that there is no such thing as a lip balm addiction. At least that’s what I read from many professionals.
But for those of us who have been through it, we know better. If it weren’t real, then we wouldn’t feel as though the world was going to end if we couldn’t find our lip balm. And then feel so much relief as soon as we put it on!
I did come across an interesting website that had many other lip balm-addicted people suffering just as much as me: www.lipbalmanonymous.com. Reading others’ stories about the same issue was very comforting. It is good to know you’re not alone (although truth be told, I was not the only one I knew personally that suffered from this “non-addiction.”)
A year or so ago, I decided I had had enough. I was tired of always having to make sure I had lip balm with me. I didn’t like the feeling of panic if I lost it or forgot it back home or being tethered to this ridiculous little object.
And so I set out to break myself of this habit. I was skeptical at first about whether or not I could do it because without it, I was so unbearably uncomfortable. Plus, I had heard that when you stop using it, your lips can become very dry-looking and scabby. (I wasn’t sure about showing up to work that way.)
But I needed to try. And so this is what I did:
Step 1 – I wanted it
I have learned that to change a habit (most of the time), I must really want it. If I don’t, I am never going to take it seriously or have the willpower to stick with it.
I assume this is the same for most people. You won’t see results until you absolutely know that you want to make a change in your life and will do whatever it takes to make it happen. I was done with lip balm.
I WANTED to do this, and so I knew I could not fail.
Step 2 – I said goodbye
I handed my husband all the lip balm I had and told him to do with it whatever he wanted. I knew I (most likely) wouldn’t run out to the store to buy more so I just needed them out of my sight and somewhere I didn’t know about. I’m pretty sure he threw them all away even though I asked him to hold on to at least one, just in case. Smart guy 🙂
Step 3 – I drank lots of water
Part of the reason someone needs lip balm in the first place is because their lips are dry. So I drank a lot of water to help combat this. As much as I could, I was careful not to let the water touch my lips (advice I had read on www.lipbalmanonymous.com), because moistening lips by water or by licking them just worsens the issue (and on that note, I also tried my best not to lick them anymore than I had to). If you have to, drink through a straw.
Staying hydrated can help us all feel better in so many areas, and it definitely helps dry lips.
Step 4 – I used Coconut Oil
For the first few nights into my journey, I put coconut oil (similar to this one) on my lips while I slept. Although this could seem like a crutch or like I was just using something in place of lip balm, it helped to heal my lips as I slept, whereas lip balm only seemed to give me temporary relief and never actually heal my lips.
It is my opinion (maybe a fact and I don’t know) that they put ingredients in lip balm that actually dry out your lips after a while instead of helping them.
Step 5 – I waited
At first I often wanted to reach for my lip balm (actually if I remember correctly, I may have “forgotten” to give one tube to my husband, you know, in case of an “emergency”).
When I wanted to reach for it, I would usually drink some water and distract myself. I knew that applying lip balm even once as I was trying to quit would be a step backwards. And by the grace of God, I never did! I fought it.
And with each passing day, it got easier.
It has now been a year and I am happy to report that I am still lip balm free!
The process of quitting actually went much smoother than I had thought it would and it only took 4 or 5 days until the physical need went away.
My lips never turned super dry or scabby. Perhaps this was due to the coconut oil, which I only needed for a few nights.
Every once in a while my lips do start to burn again and I feel a need to put something on them to help (this is just a part of life for most of us regardless of any lip balm addictions). In these instances, I usually put some lotion on and call it day.
I don’t look at this as any kind of step backward. These moments are rare and usually when I’m dehydrated. Sometimes we need to do something at the time to ease how we’re feeling, and that’s okay as long as it is not unhealthy and doesn’t get out of hand. What I wanted was to rid myself of sheer panic whenever I realized I didn’t have my lip balm on hand and the constant, physical need of applying it, and I succeeded. I truly believe the more you use it, the more you need it.
I wouldn’t necessarily advise anyone to never use lip balm. I know it can be very important, especially during winter time. I would just advise others to use it as sparingly as possible and to pay attention to how much they’re actually putting on. If it seems like it could be turning into a constant need – run away! Figure out another method to ease the suffering. Perhaps some lotion or coconut oil could help to heal your lips if the lip balm is not doing that.
Some may wonder what the big deal is about being addicted to lip balm, as there are far more worse things to be addicted to. That is true – it’s not like it’s a life or death matter. But why not do away with a habit that adds some discomfort and annoyance to your life? There’s just no reason for it!
I am so much happier now that I don’t have to always make sure to have lip balm on hand, that I can spend a day at the pool not thinking about how uncomfortable my lips are the whole time, and that I don’t have to worry if I’m wearing something without pockets and nowhere to carry my lip balm.
I feel much more free and can now focus on more important things!
If I quit the lip balm, you can, too! And oh yeah, I finally threw away the tube I had “forgotten” to give to my husband 🙂
Are you trying to quit a lip balm addiction? Have you already gotten over this habit? What methods did you use? Your experience can help someone else!
Update: During the winter months I do tend to use lip balm quite a bit. At first this made me nervous but I have been very careful with it and no longer worry about it turning into another addiction. As previously mentioned, I drink a lot of water when I notice myself reaching for Chapstick more often. And that really does help!
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