Lip Balm Addiction–Is It Real? Are You Addicted?

Though doctors debate whether lip balm is indeed addictive, constant users swear it is. Some admit to applying the salve up to every 10 minutes.


He thought about it all the time.

He had to have it.

If he went too long without it, his need for a fix consumed him.

This wasn’t about drugs or alcohol or cigarettes. Not even checking his e-mail.

Kevin C. was a lip balm addict. A sweaty, obsessed, quivering addict.

So much so that he founded Lip Balm Anonymous.

He’s clean now.

“It’s been about 13 years, six months and two days,” says Kevin Crossman, who will share his full name now that he’s gotten past the shame. “I went cold turkey.”

Crossman is just one of millions who are, let’s just say, quite attached to their lip balm. According to ACNielsen Co., sales of lip balms grew last year to more than $378 million.

Dr. Marcia Driscoll, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at the University of Maryland, says lip balm addiction is real – albeit a bit surprising.

She said she recently asked some residents on her staff about it, and three of them pulled lip products out of their pockets.

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

On Facebook, there are 192 groups dedicated to lip balm, many of them addiction-oriented. They include: “I Think I Might Die Without Lipgloss, ChapStick or Some Form of Lip Balm,” “Lip Balm Appreciation Guild,” “I forgot my lip balm, my life is over!” “I Think I’m Addicted to Lip Balm,” and “Addicted to lip balm like CRACK.”

Balm companies, well aware of people’s predilections, have started packaging the tubes in packs of two or three to capitalize on what’s often an impulse purchase, says Drug Store News.

Crossman, who’s a Web-site manager in San Francisco, says his addiction started with cherry-flavored ChapStick. It tasted good and felt nice on his lips. “It wasn’t very cool to have pinkish lips, but I couldn’t help it,” he says, adding that before he quit, he was using dozens of times a day and that his lips felt naked without it. hit a nerve. People from all over the world have visited it, and although Crossman hasn’t been actively updating it for years, people are still tracking him down to talk about it.

OK, now.  I am not a lip balm addict.  I use it very rarely.  But I was reading someone’s blog this week, unfortunately I can’t remember whose it was,  and she was talking about lip balm and then I just happened across the above article today.  So who’s addicted?  Come on, admit it. There’s help out there for you. It will do you go to let it out.  No holding back. What’s your favorite brand?  I want to know your deepest darkest lip balm secrets.


32 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. JavaQueen
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 19:32:00

    I know exactly what Sleepy Jane is going to say!

    I am a lip balm addict- I have about 5 different kinds in my dresser drawer and I MUST put it on before I go to bed (or my lips will be dry, yuck!).

    Strawberry Kiwi- Lip Smackers, and my FAVORITE is grape Lip Smackers- smells like Grape Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum.

    I have them in my car and I’m constantly applying them. I didn’t realize how much I use them until I read this. I don’t care if it is addicting, it feels good and cannot hurt.

    I sense a lip balm addict in our midst. Well, at least you are right about one thing, it certainly won’t hurt. Ever since I wrote this I have had the awful urge to find some lip balm. But no, I won’t be sucked in by the calling lip balm monster. I will be strong.



  2. Joy
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 19:33:05

    This is just hilarious. First off, this is also my theme thought change the header a few times a week and I did this post but it may have been when you were out of commission. I thought I was at my own site!!

    Totally freaked me out. LMAO!!! Great minds think alike. It was one of my most commented posts too. I really like this theme as I feel there is less scrolling.

    I’ll bet it’s your post I read but I couldn’t remember that it was about lip balm addiction. I just knew I had read a post recently about lip balm. Then today when I was reading our local newspaper online I saw the article that I posted. So basically, I stole the idea from you along with your theme and didn’t even know I was stealing. I changed my theme because I couldn’t get the header to change on my old theme and then I liked this one better anyway. I still couldn’t get the header to change on this theme and then all of a sudden it did. I’m surprised I didn’t leave a comment when I read your post. I usually do. What a dumbass I am. Ha! Ha!


  3. teeni
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 19:47:26

    Uh-oh. I just bought two of Burt’s Bee’s Lip balms – actually one may be a gloss, so I’d have them in time for the dry winter weather. Could I be addicted? I really don’t like those waxy ones though. Blehhh.

    I used to sell Burt’s Bees lip stuff. It was my best seller. When sales reps used to come to the store they would always leave samples. I have a lot of lip balm. If you want great organic chemical free products go to They are the best, especially their “Tired Old Ass Balm”


  4. Hannah
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 20:14:39

    How funny! I use lip balm, and have several different brands & flavours, but I wouldn’t say I am an addict 😉

    I doubt that anyone is actually an addict. Some people just like moist lips!!


  5. sheng
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 20:20:03

    I only have one, strawberry, but I do not use it as often as I want to, I definitely am not an addict to it, besides, I don’t feel comfortable having anything pasted on my face. 😉

    I don’t like stuff on my face either. I have never worn make up or lipstick. I go for the natural look.


  6. Red
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 20:35:42

    I am so not addicted. Never use the stuff.
    And me lips are soft and kissably smooove!

    Red, I’ll bet your lips are very soft and moist and I bet your old man just loves them.


  7. thebeadden
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 21:42:07

    I don’t use it. Though I probably should. I’ve always been meaning to try the Burt’s Bee’s stuff. I think I will.

    My customers all loved Burt’s Bees. Much better than the drug store stuff.


  8. Peter Parkour
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 00:19:59

    On the rare occasion I need to use something, I use Carmex. Whether the lips be crusty or I feel the onset of a fever blister, Carmex seems to do the trick for me. However I do not use it on an on going basis, because I have ALWYAS believed it to be addictive. Not addictive to me, addictive to my lips. It has always been my belief that if you give your lips something all the time to keep them soft and supple, it only stands to reason that they will come to need it. So when you say “it can’t hurt to use it” no it doesn’t hurt to use it, but to quite cold turkey could be painful. Beware of bloody cracked lips. :mrgreen: You have been warned. 😉

    I actually agree with you completely. I think your body adapts to these things and then needs them. It does seem that the people who use it a lot always seem to need it a lot.


  9. odette
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 02:06:32

    i’m not addicted to lip gloss, but i always have one stashed close by for when the weather wreaks havoc on my lips. since i decided to throw away my stuffs with weird chemical ingredients, i am still looking for an organic product as a substitute. thanks for the recommendation on burt’s bees, that’s a funny name, “tired old ass balm”, because some days that’s how my lips feel! i will check on that website!

    It’s a great website. I used to sell all their products and everyone loved them and they had no chemicals. I used to give “Tired Old Ass Balm” as Christmas gifts.


  10. Hay
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 05:14:30

    Not addicted, mostly because it’s hard to find animal product free balms (most have bees wax or something). But Mer sent me a yummy grape Buddha Balm which I LOVE!

    Buddha Balm is perfect for you. I always had trouble finding bees wax free lip balms to sell especially in the early days of my store when there wasn’t as much out there to choose from.


  11. Just a Mom
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 11:25:45

    I am not a lip balm addict I use carmex usually after I already have chapped lips! I have started to put sun block on my lips when we go out on the boat which has helped a great deal!

    My youngest daughter, who is 9, is a lip balm addict. She has one in her pocket, one in her book bag, one on her night stand and probably about 10 in her bathroom! She prefers strawberry flavored.

    I think it’s a good idea to use some kind of sunscreen on your lips. When my daughter was young I used to give her all the lip balm samples I would get from sales reps when I owned my health food store. She had dozens of them.


  12. Joy
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 12:16:15

    No Joan, your not the dumbass, I am. Who clicks to go to someone else’s blog and thinks they’re at their own??? Only I could “get lost” while clicking!! I thought I took a wrong turn. I think it’s funnier than I can say. I LOVE your new look.

    Actually, I think it’s definitely funny too. It’s also something I would do. I do love this theme though. I also love your Christmas avatar.


  13. betme
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 16:03:49

    I used to be addicted to Carmex. I never went anywhere without it, would stop in the middle of sex to apply more (OK, I am just kidding about that part)

    Now I keep various stuff around, but forget to put anything on my lips except occasionally slathering them with chocolate.

    Oh, I like the slathering your lips with chocolate. I’m sure they have chocolate flavored lip balm too now.


  14. kaylee
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 17:12:02

    Whats lip balm? HELL I dont use them!

    Well, that means you probably don’t need them.


  15. 2lazydogs
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 17:42:00

    Oh boy, okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a lip balm addict. I have several in my purse and several in strategic locations throughout the house. But…it must be organic/natural. No crappy, waxy shit for me. I love Burt’s Bees Lifeguard’s Friend, Chicken Poop (how can you pass up a product by that name?) and Alba’s Pineapple Quench. I think I have a tin of Badger Balm in every room of the house. And, if necessary, I’ll even use bag balm in a pinch. There. I’ve confessed. Phew. I feel so much better now.

    I’m glad you were able to open up to us about your addiction. I’m glad you use the natural stuff though. Badger Balm is a great company. I use to sell their stuff too.


  16. trishatruly
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 17:57:46

    I left something for you over at my place…. 😀 😀 😀 😀

    Thank You , Trish. It’s a done deal.


  17. Emerald
    Nov 13, 2008 @ 20:11:48

    What the crap? Ok, so I used to chow down on the chocolate minty flavoured one, but I was five! Oh, and there was a month or so when I was seven that I applied it every ten minutes, but only because my mom wouldn’t let me wear lipstick and I was totally convinced that I wanted to be just like Judy Jetson.

    You are too funny–Judy Jetson 🙂 The chocolate flavored ones I’m afraid I might try to eat. When I had my store I used to open up the containers of cocoa butter just to smell it.


  18. kaylee2
    Nov 14, 2008 @ 01:43:33

    Joan, I just want to tell you I had a dumbass moment today. I would tell you details! or you may not be able to get the image out of your head 😉

    Oh, I’d love to hear about your dumbass moment. We all have them.


  19. kaylee2
    Nov 14, 2008 @ 01:45:08

    i meanyt i would tell you details but, ` you may not be able to get the image out of yoour head if i do 😉


  20. javajunkee
    Nov 14, 2008 @ 02:30:39

    well now I gotta go by some cuz like Napoleon says…
    ”my lips hurt real bad”! 🙂

    I carry around fingernail polish..does that count? And a sharpie marker for the times I want my fingernails black and done right??

    but yeah cant’ say I do the lip balm thing. My mini me daughter does though.

    I suppose there could be nail polish addicts. I wonder if they have nail polish anonymous? I remember that scene from Napolean Dynamite. Too funny!!


  21. jeanny
    Nov 14, 2008 @ 15:39:26

    Nah..I am not! I have a lip balm always inside my bag and just used it when the weather makes my lips dry.

    Thanks for this very informative article.

    Take care!

    Your welcome, Jeanny. That’s about how often I use it too.


  22. Sandra
    Nov 14, 2008 @ 17:53:55

    You crack me up, Joan. Great post!

    I use lip balm too, but fortunately not addicted to it YET.

    Well, I’m glad your not an addict yet but at least they have groups if you become one 😉


  23. teeni
    Nov 16, 2008 @ 02:55:16

    Thanks for the link, Joan! I love that stuff. I like how they tell you right what all the ingredients are and don’t hide anything. That gives them high marks in my book!


  24. c
    Nov 16, 2008 @ 16:42:53

    i would cut a bitch if i didn’t apply and re-apply my Burt’s Bees Pomegranate lip balm.

    Literally. Without it, my lips turn into sharp little beef jerkies. 😦

    Also, it’s a habit and i feel weird without it so yeah. i guess i am. But it’s better than being addicted to tattoos or squirrel meet or shopping. Right?


  25. c
    Nov 16, 2008 @ 19:34:09

    i meant squirrel meat.

    God! i hate my typos. :nuetral:


  26. c
    Nov 16, 2008 @ 19:34:54

    And, i spelled neutral wrong. It’s not even Monday yet and already my brain is fired, died and laid to the side. 😦


  27. mrsvierkant
    Nov 18, 2008 @ 09:01:37

    Lip balm addict here… Well, not a severe one anyway. I put it on every morning and evening. Sometimes when I’m shopping. I hate dry lips. Chapstick or burt’s bees are my favorite. My sister in law is a total addict. She applies lip balm constantly.


  28. LuckyMe
    Nov 20, 2008 @ 18:20:41

    I’m a recovering addict. I loved Bonnie Bell fruit flavored lip balms with SPF. I had a stick in my purse, one in my bathroom drawer, one in my car and always a multipack stashed in the kitchen drawer, lest they stop making it.

    Then one day, my lips got……chapped, red, inflamed. I thought I had a food allergy, I finally went to the doctor who found a picture in his medical book of the puffy, red, peeling lips. It looks like you have . . . a . . . FUNGUS!!! I thought he was nuts but I used the antifungul cream on my lips. Ewwww. It worked.

    So now I’m down to two or three swipes a day.

    what the hell is Carmex? No. Don’t tell me.

    I normally don’t use lip balm at all. But I have a confession to make. I was driving my daughter to the boat (she works on an island) this morning and she had some kind of lip stuff in one of the car’s little compartments. All of a sudden my lips felt so dry and I felt I had to use it and I did. Throughout the day I have wanted to use more. But I won’t. I can feel it calling me from the car. There’s got to be another way. 😉


  29. hanna
    Jan 25, 2009 @ 12:58:01

    first of all, if you are an addict, you will know. It all started about 10 years ago with me. it was carmex and only before i went to bed. Now any type of chapstick, gloss, or balm will do. But there is never one moment that I dont have SOMETHING on my lips. Its always in my pocket…even if im at home. It can’t be too far from me and if i ever go somewhere without it (which is rare) i cant think about anything else until i get some. i even wake up in the middle of the night to reapply! I know it’s a safe addiction, but I’m just annoyed by it. I wish I could come up with a way to stop.

    I don’t normally use anything on my lips but after I wrote this post I got a slight cold and my lips got dry. I used some lip balm and almost immediately was using it every few hours. When I realized what was happening I stopped. It took a few days but then my lips got back to normal.

    I guess like any addiction you just have to stop and go through a few days of annoyingly dry lips but I bet if you did that your lips would get back to normal. Good Luck!!


  30. Belinda
    Mar 23, 2009 @ 08:11:36

    There is no standard way for an allergy to begin, and the onset may be sudden or gradual. For a person to become allergic to a substance, he/she must be exposed to it more than once, and generally that exposure is quite frequent. Often, symptoms develop after an unusual stress to the immune system, such as following a severe viral infection.


  31. jayna
    Apr 23, 2009 @ 11:04:36

    Hah I am such an addict. Ecept only bevcause i LOVE the flavoured ones

    currently have lipsmackers in theflavour of; Sprite, vanilla coke (YUM), a bunch of skittles ones, raspberry bannana, grapefruit, fanta, other ones…people keep buying them for me, hah!


  32. Katie
    Jul 30, 2009 @ 21:08:19

    so i was looking at some of these websites and i just found out that im truley addicted to lip blam!My boyfriend and all of my family have tried to tell me i was and i just thought its impossible its just lip balm.right? so i was talking to my mom and she told me that i am truely addicted to it. its very hard to go a day without putting it on atleast 10 timesor more in a day for me.I own more than 5 brands of chapstick and mostly people only own like 1.I hate goin without it its very very ya im a addicted.


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