Breaking a difficult addiction

Lip balm. Yep – lip balm. I first started using little pots of Carmex lip balm in high school when I started to have enough disposable income for little luxuries like that, and I’ve used lip balm of one form or another ever since. I still recall a conversation with my brother in law many years ago about it, and about how he doesn’t use it after having fought through his lip’s addiction to it. At the time I thought, well, it is odd how so many people including me are addicted to it, but…why stop? And I didn’t, until this month.

At a recent physical I asked my doctor about a little growth on the edge of my lip which had slowly been expanding. I had thought it was some kind of cold sore, and had been treating it accordingly, but instead of getting better it had been getting worse. It took her half a second to diagnose it as a case of the harmless “Perioral dermatitis,” and she prescribed a prescription ointment and the use of any acne cream with salicylic acid in it. A couple of weeks of that combination and it was all cleared up. Meantime I had read a bit about possible causes, and a few studies drew a relationship between paraffin, lip balms, and outbreaks of this, so as a precaution I dumped the lip balm when I started the medications.

A month later and me and my lips are still here. It was a little tough the first week but since then, I rarely even think about it. They do occasionally get dry, especially after eating salty foods, and then I crave the lip balm, but I’ve done fine without it so at least for now, I’m sticking with it. There are plenty of lip balms without paraffin, but I figure if I can do without, why do with? I’ll check back in if I end up caving in when winter comes and things get tougher on the lips.

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