Addicted to lip balm - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Addicted to lip balm

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Madison (MedStar) -- Do an Internet search for "lip balm addiction" and you'll get a lot of hits.

  And now doctors are responding to the idea that there is such a thing as an addiction to products like Chapstick and Blistex.

  Karen Buckelew said, "as soon as the lip balm wears off I need to put more on."

  Buckelew likes her lip balm, always making sure she has plenty on hand.

  She added, "whenever I see a new flavor or fragrance that I might like, I jump on that bandwagon."

  And Karen doesn't think her craving for soft lips speaks to addiction.

  "You know, it's not something that, you know, really interferes with my daily life or anything," she said.

  Doctor Marcia Driscoll said, "I really hadn't heard the word addiction until I Googled 'lip balm addiction' on the Internet."

  There's a lot of chatter online from self-proclaimed lip balm addicts.

  But dermatologist Marcia Driscoll says, right now, there's no hard, scientific evidence that it's a real problem.

  Doctor Driscoll also said, "true addiction is thought of as something that is a physical dependence. That is, that if you take away the lip balm, would the person have a withdrawal syndrome?"

  She says the urge to gloss could be more of a psychological dependence - a habit that can start, innocently enough, with chapped lips.

  "Sometimes it's a chronic problem because of an allergy or a chronic irritant exposure," said Doctor Driscoll.

  Ironically, the culprit could be the fragrances added to your lip balm.

  Switching to a petroleum-based product might help.

  Doctor Driscoll added, "these are typically without fragrance and they typically don't contain other irritants like phenol."

  If chapping won't heal, see a doctor.

  There may be something else going on.

  Doctor Driscoll says lanolin and sunscreens can sometimes be an irritant to your lips.

  Sun, wind, cold temperatures, lip licking, toothpaste and even dental floss can also cause problems.

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