Chapped lips?

Hi everyone,

I've used chapstick for a long time now, at least ten years. It would go everywhere with me and if I didn't take chapstick or some form of lip moisturizer, my lips would start to feel dry, tight, hurt and feel generally uncomfortable.
Well for about 5 days now I've not used any form of lip moisturizer and my top lip is fine, my bottom lip however is very dry. tight, hurts and has plaques of dead skin sitting on top.  I have not touched my lips with any form of moisturizer, have not licked them or bitten them and have been drinking a lot of water (but have always anyway).

My question is, is it possible for lips to become dependent on moisturizers and chapsticks?

I have read on a Beauty Brains post previously that it is possible, but then I keep reading conflicting views including Paula Begoun's website which claims it isn't possible,


  • I forgot to mention that I converted to using Vaseline about a month ago to keep my lips from chapping but it still seems if I do not apply it once every hour, my lips become dry and start to hurt.
  • Like you said, we do think it's theoretically possible:
  • Interesting. If you're getting addicted to lip balm because it's slowing turnover of lip cells (at least, that's my understanding), then would lip exfoliation help prevent the problem? Would the removal of skin cells from exfoliation send the signal to the basal cells to generate new skin cells, thus counteracting the effects of the lip balm? 
  • Exfoliating does trigger cell turn over so in some sense I guess you could say it counteracts the lip balm.  
    edited February 2016
    Ok so to update, It's been over a week now and I've only applied Vaseline and moisturizer to my lips after showering and once before going out. I found I had to exfoliate my lips a lot to remove the dead skin, and now they're very sore, dry and tight feeling. When I don't exfoliate them, they are flaky, dry and covered in dead skin. Not a good sight.

    Is there anything I can use sparingly in the meantime to relieve my lips?
    How long on est should it take before my lips stop drying up and leaving a layer of dead skin? Should I be applying Vaseline or a lip moisturizer before sleeping?

    My end goal is to end my constant need and dependence on lip balms, but I'm wondering if my lips will ever reach a point where they stop hurting, feeling dry and flaky all the time.
  • I'm just curious - where are you? Someplace very dry and cold? (Or are you lucky enough to be in the sunbelt?)
    edited February 2016
    I'm from Australia ;) (Western Australia to be exact). We're in summer at the moment- so as you can imagine, it's sometimes humid but mostly hot.
  • Ah, I'm sure all that sun isn't helping either. I wonder if an SPF lip balm would be better for you. 
  • Summer and winter is the worst time for my chapped lips. Recently I've been using a little bit of Aquaphor. I've tried so many other lip balms and nothing else has helped.
  • No, it is not possible for the lips to become dependent on moisturizers or chapstick. there‚Äôs no physiological addiction in your skin or lips where
    there are regulators that require more and more product in order to
    maintain proper moistness.
  • I'm now using an SPF lip balm now when I go out (though I rarely see the sun anyway except when I go in and out of the car really).

    Unfortunately we don't have Aquaphor in Australia (or at least I haven't seen it in chemists around here). Not sure if there is something similar.

    I am wondering if I have an allergy to some ingredient in lip balm? I found that when I first quit using it, my lips were badly chapped, skin peeling off every 2-4 days (only on the top half of the  bottom lip strangely) and they felt like they were burning. It's been a month now and I only apply a few times a day now and generally finding my lips feel almost "normal" again. I find the top lip though is in better condition to the bottom lip. The bottom lip still feels a bit rough, sometimes peels a bit and now has quite prominent vertical lines as compared to before. (??)

    The other possibility is that I'm having a reaction to something in the toothpaste I was using. I'd get a bit of the foam on my lips while brushing and would sometimes find after my lips would look more red and swollen. I've switched to an SLS free toothpaste and so far my lips have seen some improvement. Once I've used the tube, I might switch back to see if the symptoms arise again. Could very likely be the peppermint/menthol etc causing the reaction maybe?
  • It certainly could be the peppermint/menthol. It sounds like changing toothpastes has helped as well. 
  • I use an spf lip balm by Aveda, lip saver.  I find it very moisturizing and the spf is helpful.
  • I never found chapstick that moisturizing, personally.
  • CCC, I wonder if your lips are just going to be dry, the way someone's skin can be just always dry and always in need of moisturizer. If so, it's not a bad thing to always be needing lip balm, or moisturizer. Skin, and lips, can naturally get drier as we age and maybe you are noticing that effect.
    I wonder why your dry lip problems are only on your lower lip? 
    When I had chapped lips and perioral dermatitis, I found out it definitely was due to mint in my toothpaste, and now I use a kid's toothpaste, Tom's of Maine Silly Strawberry, which has no mint. I use the one with fluoride, which thankfully doesn't cause me any problems.
    I hope your lip problems are still getting better!
  • "The best thing to do for dry or sore lips is to regularly apply a lip balm containing petroleum or beeswax. You may need to try a few different products before you find one that works for you. Choose a balm with an additional sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 to help protect your lips in the sun."
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