We’ve all heard the beauty myth: if you over-use lip balm, your lips become dependent on it and before you know it, you’re having to apply the stuff every two minutes or face a dry and uncomfortable pout.
Turns out it is, in fact, a myth. But you can still be addicted to lip balm – and the power that little pot, or tube, has over you could be as strong as cigarettes.
A spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation told Broadly that it’s not the ingredients in lip balm that are addictive; it’s the psychological reward that gets people hooked.
Each time you apply the balm, and enjoy it, your brain gets a hit of dopamine. When dopamine levels begin to drop, that’s when you’ll find yourself reaching for the tube again.
Broadly also spoke to addiction psychologist Nicky Walton-Flynn, who explained how to tell if you’re truly addicted, or whether you just really like lip balm.
Apparently, the key is how it makes you feel. If you find yourself repeatedly applying it when you’re stressed, nervous or uncomfortable, then you could be addicted to lip balm as a self-soothing mechanism.
Looking to cut down your lip balm use? Walton-Flynn recommends avoiding carrying one with you and finding a displacement activity like chewing gum.
But don’t stress about it. “Nobody’s going to die from lip balm addiction,” she added.
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