How Peppermint and Menthol Perpetuate a Cycle of Lip Balm Addiction
How many times have you applied lip balm to your lips, only to need another application in less than an hour? The cycle seems to go like this... Apply lip balm (possibly medicated variety), feel cool and tingly relieving sensation for an hour, notice dryness or cracked lips shortly afterward, apply more lip balm, and on and on it goes…
Most of the top-selling lip balms on the market today contain menthol and peppermint, however the Cosmetics Cop, Paula Begoun, says that these compounds do more damage than good.
Begoun purports that lip balms containing peppermint, camphor and menthol perpetuate a cycle of dependency, which leaves lips in often agonizing condition. In fact, according to Begoun, this lip balm addiction is not caused by accident.
Have you ever taken a really good look at the ingredients in your lip balm?
If you’re careful about buying natural products for your skin then you’re leaving the questionable chemicals and synthetics out of your product, however if your lip balm contains menthol, camphor, and/or peppermint you might be signing up for an inadvertent ongoing contract to purchase lip balm!
When applied to the lips, menthol and peppermint feel cool and soothing, but this sensation is in fact due to an inflammatory reaction, followed by a renewed sense of dryness as the top layer of the epidermis is eroded away.
Lip balm users can be left with cracked, chapped, and hurting lips that are actually due to the very ingredients in their lip balm, so they apply more to alleviate the condition. Thus begins the sometimes never-ending cycle of an addiction to a product that is fueling the fire, so to speak.
Environmental and Physiological Factors that Can Make Lip Balm a Necessity
Our environment can be severe at times and many people love those ski slopes in winter. In severe climates it makes sense to apply an emollient lip balm to protect lips from the elements and to keep them moistened.
The lips are more vulnerable to changing environmental factors than any other part of our bodies. They lack the oil glands that the rest of our skin has, making them more prone to losing moisture.
Keeping proper water content in our lips is essential, and a good-quality lip balm can mean the difference between soft, supple lips and ones that are rough and broken.
The best lip balms contain wholesome emollients, not just waxes that coat the lips without actually delivering the moisture they need.
The skin on our lips is thin and transparent compared to the rest of the face. It barely covers the mucous membrane underneath, and water loss on the lips is therefore three to 10 times higher than on any other part of our body. These factors, in addition to climate changes, make keeping lips moisturized and crack-free a recurring challenge.
Stop Licking Your Lips!
When we lick our lips to alleviate dryness, we transfer saliva to them, which eats away at the surface layer of the skin. Some say that the refreshing flavor of peppermint and menthol makes this bad habit even more enjoyable and hard to stop, further supporting our need to apply more lip balm to lips we’ve dried out even more.
Break the Lip Balm Addiction
The cycle of unnecessarily needing to apply lip balm can be broken, if we take the time to carefully analyze the ingredients in a product before we purchase it, and if we are fully aware of the primary reasons that lips become chapped in the first place. Our lips are just one small portion of our bodies, and our entire body temple is best served by knowledgeable care in its everyday treatment.
Dry, chapped lips can be due to:
- Sun damage (this can occur even when it’s cloudy outside)
- Vitamin deficiency (Vitamins B2 and B3)
- Candida Yeast infection
- Overabundance of Vitamin A (normally caused by supplementation)
The best way to keep lips properly moisturized is to:
- Drink lots of water
- Maintain proper health and nutrition
- Get adequate but not excessive amounts of sunlight
- Reduce stress (stress leads to hormone and fluid imbalances in the body, which can cause dehydration)
- Apply a moisturizing lip balm
- Refrain from licking the lips
- Eliminate irritating ingredients from skin care.
There are hundreds of thousands of people claiming to have an addiction to lip balm, and although it sounds comical and lighthearted, the truth of the matter is that having an addiction to anything is self-destructive.
A quick search of the web uncovers sites like LipBalmAnonymous.com, and other Facebook groups and forums where lip balm users seek comfort and advice for their often-serious lip balm addictions.
While loving a product is great, and at Alchemilla we hope that you adore our harmonizing skin care products, becoming addicted to a cosmetic is not our goal for you. Needing to use a product because our bodies are in a cycle of dependency goes against everything that true, innate beauty and Alchemilla Skin Care products, are all about.
So what do we do to comfort dry lips when it’s absolutely necessary, and to break our addiction to lip balms for good?
First of all, when we want or need a cooling sensation, Begoun suggests that we simply drink water.
When environmental conditions are beyond our control, or when we need a little help to bring our skin back to its perfect place of balance, Alchemilla’s Healing Lip Balm
is made with highly purified lanolin and soothing calendula to provide immediate and lasting comfort and naturally keeps the lips’ water content stable, resulting in plump, smooth, comfortable lips.
Our lip balm is free of irritants and, as many customers have discovered, is most likely the last lip balm you’ll ever need. Apply periodically when conditions require it, and at night when lips are prone to dehydration. You’ll be so glad you did!
"The Beauty Bible
", Paula Begoun, Beginning Press, 2002