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12 Steps and Testimony of Recovery

Lip Balm Anonymous encourages those seeking help to attend our meetings and speak with others in recovery. The close, personal, contact that our meetings provide allow people seeking recovery to internalize and see their problem for what it is. We also hope you will find inspiration in our testimony of recovery.

Return vistors can go straight to the new testimony.

Lip Balm Anonymous members adhere to a set of principles which are listed in Twelve Steps.

  1. We admitted we were powerless over lip balm -- that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other lip balm addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

We also follow Twelve Traditions.

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon member unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority--a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for LBA membership is a desire to stop using lip balm.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or LBA as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose--to carry its message to the addict who still suffers.
  6. An LBA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the LBA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every LBA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Lip Balm Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional.
  9. LBA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service board or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Lip Balm Anonymous Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the LBA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Testimony of Recovery

If you are looking to find inspiration in the success of other lip balm addicts, read the following testimonials. If you would like to contribute your own story, please send email to Lipbalm@kevdo.com. Return vistors can go straight to the new testimony.

Kevin C. is the founder of Lip Balm Anonymous.
When I started to go without, it was hard. After a week passed and the cold shakes and throbbing pain in the lips subsided. After a two weeks I stopped carrying the Chap Stick tube in my pocket. After three weeks I rarely felt I wanted to use, and when I did it was easy to resist. Life became much clearer for me. The whole world seemed to have changed for the better, looking so much like paradise. I think being on the stuff really clouded my judgement. Now, I go though life with a sense of power and clarity that I feel like I can accomplish anything. Sure, it is frightening sometimes, but the strength I feel inside helps me when I am confronted by social use of lip balm.

Jennifer L. wrote us in January 1996 about her recovery.
Hello, my name is Jennifer and I have a lip balm addiction. I never realized how much of an addiction that I had until I spent two weeks in Spain without my trustworthy collection of Carmex. I rely on my Carmex to get me through most any bout with lip or mouth problems. I was in Spain for a week in a half and really didn't think I'd need that Carmex and so I left all eight of my lipbalms at home. There really wasn't a problem until I saw my boyfriend (who came along with me for the trip) at a bar kissing a man from Spain. My heart dropped and my lips dried up and tears welled in my eyes. I ran from the bar to my hotel and cried endlessly throughout the night. Some people eat when they are depressed, some people sleep, some people listen to Barry Manilow, I use Carmex. At that point when I needed it most, it wasn't there for me..... and when I realized how important it was for me to feel that tingly/stinging sensation on my lips I forgot about Tom and started convulsing and talking to myself. I stayed this way throughout the trip until I got home. When I got home I bought three more containers of it and put all 11 on my lips. I can't describe the feeling I got when I had that comfort zone back.... Yes, I am addicted, but is that so bad? In the long run when you compare my addiction to going across the world and kissing a man behind your girlfriend's back, is a slight addiction to Carmex really all that dangerous? Again, my name is Jennifer and I have an addiction to lip balm.

Jennifer L. wrote us again in May 1996 with this update on her recovery!
I thought I'd let you know about my life post-LBA. I did have a huge problem with Carmex (my testimony was first seen on the recovery page).... My boyfriend, Tom and I got back together for awhile after returning from Spain. Things stayed the same and I went through 8-9 containers of Carmex in 2 days time, and Tom and I fought constantly. In fact, in one of our arguments he accused me of loving my Carmex more than I loved him. We were getting no where and were in quite a rut until Alexis (the man I caught Tom kissing in Spain) came back. Tom carried on secretly with Alexis, until I saw the two of them strolling down the road (on my trip back from getting Carmex). I've left Tom, and I've controlled my Carmex addiction. I have been introduced to a new life and am learning more about myself without Tom and without Carmex. I find men are much more attracted to me without the waxy Carmex build-up on my lips. Thank you LBA, I always give your address to my friends and will continue to keep you updated on my success!

At age 14, Heather W. is already in recovery!
Photo of Barney lip balm! I was a lip balm user.
I had every flavor: apple, watermelon, vanilla, Dr. Pepper, Coke, pink lemonade, coconut (I cried when I lost that one) Jellybean, peanut butter, mint, mint chocolate chip, chocolate, milkshake, tropical fruit, mango, kiwi, apricot, apple cider, coffee, fudge brownie, gingerbread, shortbread, Carmex, cherry ice, Chap Stick, cherry, Avon, Soft Lips Sparkle Mint, bubblegum, pumpkin, Vaseline, pineapple, grape, lemon, orange, mandarin AND EVERY OTHER FLAVOR OUT THERE!!!!!!
It all started when my neighbor became an Avon lady. I ordered every flavor there was. I was her best customer.
Then we moved.
So I resorted to Lip Smackers, Liplix, Carmex, Chap Stick, and most of all, Softlips. I also enjoyed the Body Shop and Bath & Body Works. Then one day, I said "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! I AM IN DEBT, I GO INTO WITHDRAWS WITH OUT MY LIP BALM, I NEED HELP! (at least my lips were soft) So just like that I quit. I tossed my lip balms, only keeping a few, for the once a day gloss.
I am now down to a $.99 Barney Children's Lipgloss from Target. I use it only when needed. You can stop. I know you can. My only problem now are the many tubes of lipstick appearing in my house. All shades, shapes and sizes.
OH NO. NOT AGAIN. HELP ME!!!! Let us ban together and get a warning label on these lip devices.

Brian D. writes:
I would like to thank you for helping me overcome my addiction to Chap Stick.
I started using Chap Stick when I was eight years old, after I suffered a case of impetigo. I started carrying a Regular-flavored tube wherever I went. I would apply about every hour, after every meal, before I went to bed, etc.
Although I didn't feel my addiction had an effect on my relationships with others, it bothered me internally because I knew it was ridiculous. I wanted to quit, but no one was pushing me to do it, and I didn't know how. But after a girlfriend complained that I was re-applying Chap Stick several times while we were making out, and the stickiness and smell bothered her, I came to work the next Monday and did a web search on "Chap Stick Addiction." I found your web page and was inspired to finally do it.
Quitting was actually much easier that I expected. Within two weeks, the outer layer of my lips finished peeling and a fresh, softer layer remained. Although I still use lip balm before I go to bed and after I wake up, I am proud to say that after 20 years of constant use, I no longer carry Chap Stick!
My thanks to you and rest of the folks that maintain the LBA Web site.
P.S.: I would like to make one recommendation -- that you put on the Recovery page a description of how to wean yourself off lip balm, like how to gradually reduce the number of applications, when to expect peeling to occur, etc. Not being a spiritual person, I would have enjoyed this information more than the Twelve Steps.
You've done it yourslf, Brian!

Cindy M. hopes others will join her in recovery!
I am nineteen and have been a Chap Stick user for about ten years. It all started with those strawberry flavored slide top balms...I got a few in my Christmas stocking and was hooked. I flirted with all kinds of brands but my favorite was Lip Smackers, especially Fruit Punch and Peppermint. For a hardcore fix I turned to straight Mentholatum. I couldn't go anywhere without it; I always had some in my purse, pocket, glove box, everywhere! Early this spring I was in my college's library talking to a friend. I realized I had forgotten to bring a tube with me, and I told her that I would have postpone our study date and return to the dorm to get some. She looked sharply at me and growled, "You're addicted, aren't you?" I denied it, of course, but she gripped me firmly by the shoulders and made me admit that I was dependent on those beautifully fruity, waxy cylinders. She then began to relay her own tale of addiction and recovery. She told me that years ago, she had quit cold turkey to kick the habit. Fearfully, I asked her what had whappened to her lips after being denied moisture. She told me that it wasn't pretty; they had cracked and bled painfully for a month afterwards. But now she was free of the dependence and she hadn't looked back since. This was a pivotal point for me, as I had never met anyone before who had successfully dropped the habit.
Three weeks ago I, too, quit cold turkey. Cleaning out my house, I found about thirty tubes of balm. It's been tough, especially in the car with the horribly drying air conditioning, but I am clean now and am learning to cherish my newfound independence. I no longer have to pat down my pockets before I leave the house and grope pathetically in the nooks and crannies in the car for a tube. Nor do I reek of sickeningly sweet fruity scents or the medicated smell of Blistex.
It took some courage, I'll admit. The first step was the hardest, and I'm still taking it one day at a time. Sometimes I long to smear Vaseline or that delightfully goopy Body Shop apricot-flavored concoction all over my dry lips. I know, though, that one misstep and I'll return to the Lip Smackers ball and chain. It has been extremely satisfying to learn that others share this strange addiction; no one has taken our problem seriously until now, and those of us trying to quit were left without a support network to aid us in our endeavors. I hope my story inspires others to give it a shot, and perhaps together we can take action against the greedy companies that have encouraged our dependence.

Laura N. is temped to fall off the wagon!
I'll tell you what I think about the big surge in lip balm usage: it started in the mid-70's, and musicians were the pushers. As an innocent freshman at the University of Montana, I'd only owned a couple tubes of Chap Stick in my life, and they were reserved for dry winter times. But suddenly, all around me, I began to notice that all my fellow band and orchestra members were carrying little white pots of an unknown substance. The yellow-lidded pots were in pockets, in horn cases, backpacks, and sitting on music stands in full view! I didn't think too much of it until the French horn next to me casually offered me a "hit". Yep, it was Carmex. Sure, I'd been raised to be a "good" girl, but it seemed innocent enough. And everyone in the music school was doing it, right? Trying to look cool, I took a tiny dip with my pinky... and my life has never been the same.
I've tried 'em all: Blistex (too mediciny), Chap Stick (come on, where's the punch), even a fancy Melaleuca Sun Seekers (actually pretty darn good), but when it comes down to it, I still crave the Carmex. I haven't used Carmex in several years.... however, my spouse just brought home a tube of it from a camping trip. As I type this, my lips are starting to burn at the thought of it. Will it still have that same rush, that same soothing, cooling.... oh dear, I better go...

Lois G. is starting her recovery!
I found your LBA page while I was looking for info on Chap Stick. I thought it was fabulous. At first I thought it was to good to be true, it must be a joke. I told my friends about the page and they said I had a lip balm problem and I should join. But, I have always occasionally used different forms of lip balm. But it didn't become a problem til last year.
My obsession started in August of 1996. I was 15 and had finished my freshman year of high school. I am a member of the school band and I was at band camp. It was in Indiana and it was close to 100 degrees. I was using sunblock but didn't even think of using sunblock for my lips. I suffered the consequences. My lips got severely burned. On the last day there I woke up with a strange sensation in my lips. I got out of my bed and said to my friend, Kristie, exactly how big are my lips?" Over night my lips had swollen to an enormous size. I couldn't play my trumpet that day- my lips felt horrible. To ease the pain one of the chaperones gave me a little milky-white tub of Carmex. At the time I had no idea Mrs. Z. was a lip balm dealer. I applied it and it felt like heaven. The tingly relief was wonderful. I tried to give her the tub back- she told me to keep it. From then on I was hooked. I spent a few months using all different brands. Then I settled in to my three favorites- Carmex, Chap Stick original and Chap Stick medicated. I apply Chap Stick every half hour or so. Recently my friends have tried to help me kick the habit by going cold turkey. They would take my tubes of Chap Stick and refuse to give them back. The pain was unbearable. After ten minutes I would break down and start begging for my Chap Stick. One day they wouldn't give it back. I had to go through lunch, a macro and a bus ride home without lip balm. That was 160 minutes of torture. I have considered going to a professional for help, but first I am going to try your twelve steps. My obsession has be going on for almost a year. I spend so much money replenishing my stock and I want to stop. I hope the LBA can help.

Amy S. wants to stop.
I saw this page today for the first time and I am absolutely amazed!! When I tell people I am addicted to Chap Stick, they laugh at me. I explain how serious it is and they laugh even harder. It is so nice to know other people share the same love for lip balms as I do. So, here's my story...
I began using Chap Stick frequently while wearing braces when I was 13. When I was 18 I went to an allergist to see if he could help me break my Chap Stick habit. Unfortunately, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his own Chap Stick and said that if I find a way to stop, then I should let him know the secret too. At age 20 I realized that this addiction was not just mental, but a physical need as well. While away in college, my friends repeatedly made jokes about my addiction. They noticed that I carried several tubes of Chap Stick with me at all times. One night they went through my purse and took all 4 of them out and hid them. They found 3 in my car, 2 in a jacket, 3 on the countertops in the dorm room, and 2 with me. All of them were then gone. I thought I would go along with their prank and prove that I did not NEED Chap Stick. After a half hour I became agitated. After an hour, I was furious! My lips had turned bright red and started to become puffy. Finally after an hour and a half, they gave them all back to me. I couldn't put enough on to make my lips feel better. The swelling went away after a while.
I am now 26 and have been to 2 other doctors about this addiction. They have both told me to switch from Chap Stick to Vaseline. I found that no brand of lip balm works like Chap Stick does. I really can't use anything else. The addiction is so bad now that I use it about every 15 - 20 minutes, and I usually do it twice in a row. I wake up during the night to put more on. In fact, a roommate in college told me that she saw me reach over to the tube on the nightstand, put in on my lips, and put it back, without moving my head. She said I was still asleep!! That actually scares me to think about.
Sorry for the length of this letter, but I really need help. I am tired of using so much and never feeling like I have enough on. It is so bad that my lips hurt if I don't constantly put the waxy stuff on. I would like to kick the habit, but I don't know what would be the best way to do it. I am afraid to go through the pain and swelling, what if I can never stop??

Emily B. has a pot-luck of balm.
My name is Emily B. and I am 17 years old. I was just surfing the Web when I stumbled upon this page. I was amazed to find so much information about Chap Stick addiction. Well, as I am typing right now, I am applying Burt's Beeswax lip balm. But it is not the only one that is near me. I have a pot-luck of lip balms including various Body Shop flavors, Natural Glow clear raspberry, many flavors of Lip Smackers, and many more. I have a special bag totally devoted to Chap Stick. I keep it in my backpack and use it very frequently. Often times I create new flavors of Chap Stick by taking a little bit of one flavor and adding it to another. Not too long ago I tried to stop my addiction to Chap Stick. It was successful for a couple of months and now I am back again. I was so relieved to find this page. And, with the help of LBA, I am sure I can kick the habit. Thank you very much for the support.

Saira is a Lip Smacker addict.
I must admit, at first, Lip Smackers seemed like a dumb idea, who would want to put fruity gunk on their lips ? I didn't like the idea but I bought one anyway.
I loved it. I put it on my lips about 30 times a day. But I didn't just apply it, I drenched my lips in Lip Smackers. Sometimes it took me 10 minutes just to do one lip. And after I bought one I couldn't stop. I went to the store and bought every Lip Smacker I could find. I now own 57 Lip Smackers which cost me about $150. The Lip Smacker company is very clever, they have created Lip Smackers on necklaces which makes it impossible to not apply it. I am not proud of my addiction, but I WILL overcome.

Gunilla was forced into recovery!
I'd like to tell you my story about the dangers of lip balm addiction. I was on holiday in Australia two years ago, and after a three-day trip in a desert, my lips were cracking, full of blisters and extremely sore. I promptly went to a pharmacy and showed the sales person my lips and asked her for "the best you have". She then sold me a small tub of Blistex with SPF +15 for AUS$5. After two days my lips were back to normal, and I am still very grateful for that. I know that my lips would have healed by themselves, but it would have taken much longer. The problem was, I couldn't stop using Blistex. When the tub was finally finished and I was back home in Sweden, in a Godforsaken little town where you can't buy the aforementioned product, I nearly went crazy! I tried every other lip balm I could get my hands on, but since Blistex is so powerful (what do they put in it??), nothing helped. I just had to get used to the idea that I had to do without it, and since then I have never used any kind of lip balm, not even lipstick. So now you know, all you poor sufferers out there, you CAN get rid of your needs, just like I did!

Emma S. did it!
I just want to thank Lip Balm Anonymous for helping me to stop lipbalming. I had realized for a long time that I had a problem before I first saw your site. I have been on your mailing list for some time now, and now, finally I have succeeded to quit lipbalming. I am happy to know that there is many more people out there with the same problem, and I am very proud of myself that I have managed to quit. Thank you!

Jonathan S. has strong opinions about his recovery methods!
It's amazing how many people wrote in to condemn your site as a "waste of space." You suppose at the top of the
Hate Mail page that many are closet balm addicts. I suggest that they are not at all addicted to Chap Stick, and thus do not understand what it means to be addicted. They do not have the insight to see lip balm addiction from another's point of view, nor from the point of view of addiction counselors. Many wrote about how they use lip balm once in a while, so it can't be addictive; others wrote about how they use a twelve-step program for another type of addiction. I was incredulous that the latter type of hate letter existed, given that those using a 12-step program have admitted their addictions and should understand what it means to be addicted to something. Only an insensitive jerk would tell an alcoholic that they are stupid, and that if they don't want to drink, they should just not purchase any alcohol. While the intoxicative effects of alcohol cause many more problems than the application of lip balms, the definition of addiction does not change from one substance to another. Obviously none who wrote in have experienced the frustration of needing lip stuff badly, not being able to concentrate on anything but the discomfort of cracking lips and the taste of red-raw chafed skin. The occasional users who wrote in remind me of occasional drinkers who tell alcoholics that it's okay to drink if you only have a little, once in a while. Wake up! Addicts' brains work differently when it comes to the substances they are addicted to; non-addicts must understand this and respect anyone attempting to recover from an addiction. Twelve-step program users of all people should understand that.
To the fellow from the Blistex company who wrote indignantly that the main ingredient was Petrolatum, what he called "wax" (actually it's important to note that that particular type of wax is derived from Petroleum, or what we non-chemists call "Crude Oil"), the fact that the main ingredient is a commonly-used one does not mean it has any less potential to cause addiction. Just because "it's only wax" doesn't mean it can't be bad for us. Moron. I suppose he was probably saying "it's only a harmless leaf" in the tobacco heyday of the 1950's.
I am non-religious, and resent a serious addiction being addressed by prayer and devotion to god. What I hoped to find on your site were facts. You see, I quit lip balm cold-turkey about three days ago. A friend of mine mentioned that it is the wax in Chap Stick that causes the moisture receptors in your lips to send a stop signal to the moisture-releasing agents in the skin of the lips (actually that's not quite what he said; I am a biologist and added my own interpretation, though not at all thought-out). I asked if he had heard whether ceasing to apply wax to the lips would allow them to begin producing or releasing their own natural moisture again, and he hesitantly said, "Uh, yeah." (He's not addicted, obviously.) So I turned to the Web to find an answer to my medical questions. Finding your site, I thought that I had my answers. But I found no real scientific information, just some vague quotes; in fact, your "Is lip balm addictive?" page sarcastically puts the word "experts" in quotes. Well, why don't you have any real information? (because scientific studies have been suppressed by the balm companies--ed.) And what about the theories that we need to drink more water, and that lip balm causes lips to stop producing their own moisture? And what about sun protection? Having been addicted to lip balm for over ten years, I have never had to worry about lip sunscreen; now I worry that I can't put anything on my lips for fear of starting my addiction over again. Will lotion-based sunscreen have the same effects as lip balm? Come on. Give us some real information "instead of asking God for help," as Mr. Acland wrote. I don't suppose you'd advocate prayer without medical attention for heroin addicts; don't insult lip balm users by offering religion instead of information.

Wayne K. stopped by changing his diet!
I have suffered from chapped lips for a very long time, 35 plus years. I can remember going to the mountains when I was a kid. Up in the thin dry air my lips would immediately dry up and start to crack. After a couple of days, they would be all scabs and quite painful.
Not only did I get chapped lips, I would get sores in my mouth whenever my lips got very chapped or when I would bite my lip or somehow otherwise cut my mouth inside.
I have used various lip balms most of my life and have had several different ones recommended by various doctors.
About a year ago, when I was having an extremely serious case of chapped lips I went to another doctor. This was the first time any of the doctors actually took the time to discuss the problem with me. The others had just told me to use one lip balm or another. After some questioning he suggested that my diet was too acidic. As many years as I had suffered with this problem that sounded to easy. But I was desperate, I immediately cut out everything I could think of that was acidic. Things like coffee, oranges, lemons, tomatoes, colas, salsa, etc. He also suggested that if I did eat something acidic, I could eat a Tums or one of the other antacids to help neutralize the acid.(IT works) All these things are acid related.
Within 1 day my lips were better. I hardly needed any lip balm at all. I have since added a few acidic items back to my diet but my consumption of lip balm has dropped drastically. A tube that used to last a week now lasts for about 2 months.
I think that some people really do have a problem with chapped lips that is not an addiction and to them I would definitely suggest trying a little diet modification. I really miss really spicy food but to not have chapped lips and sores in my mouth is well worth it.

Jill R. is weaning herself from the balm!
Thank you for creating the Lip Balm Anonymous page - it inspired me to make the effort to wean myself from Chapstick for which I will be eternally grateful. When I initially pondered whether or not to send this testimony, I was a tad hesitant, since it basically recommends a particular brand of lip balm, but this is a success story.
I'm a thirty-five year old woman who, until recently, had been a Chapstick addict (since I was nine years old!) My aunt gave me a stick of it when she saw how chapped my lips got after swimming, and wham! I was hooked. When my mom caught me using it, she took it away and my lips proceeded to get very red, very chapped and very bloody. I started to buy it on the sly and hide it. After a while, I forgot that at one time I had never needed it - all I knew was that it hurt when I stopped.
Finally, after coming across this web site last October, I decided that I'd make the effort to quit. I stopped using Chapstick and my lips did exactly what they did twenty-five years ago. After several weeks of agony, I was about to go back to Chapstick and resign myself to being hooked forever. However, I came across a petroleum products- free lip balm, which I thought might be easier to wean myself from, so I gave it a shot. It immediately took care of the chapping and bleeding and I continued to use it throughout the winter (since during some winters my lips chapped even when I used Chapstick profusely - this balm kept my lips from chapping, though.) My new plan was to stop using it in the Spring.
Well, I'm happy to say I was successful. I stopped using it in mid-March and about three weeks later, after some relatively mild chapping, my lips were back to their old selves. The weaning-off process for this product was MUCH easier than with Chapstick. I have no desire to use lip balm and my lips feel fine. My dependency is over - Huzzah!!
On that note, I'd like to include the brand name and info for the balm I used to wean myself from the evil petrolatum-based stuff. This is not a promo; I don't work for this company - however, if this product helped me it might help others in the same boat. It's at least worth a try.
The balm is called Lip Healer and it's distributed by Essence of Nature in Los Angeles. There is a phone number on the tube (800-421-6175) - I'm not sure who you'll get at that number, but perhaps you can use it to find out where they distribute this product. I picked it up in Trader Joe's.

Sean G. pulled the monkey...
A few years ago, a friend traveled to Rome for a month. When she returned, she brought five tubes of Labello Rosa into the country. At that time I was on a skin medication called Accutane, which dries out your body within an inch of your life. Well, my lips were in bad shape, and my friend -- after hearing how I tried every lip balm on the U.S. market -- suggested I give her favorite product a try and gave me a tube.
It was all downhill from there. I ran through that tube and coaxed a second out of her. Fearful of running out, I rationed myself, but sometimes binged with careless abandon. Then, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, two friends were travelling to Venice in a month's time. I nagged them, phoning them several times a week just to leave the name Labello on their answering machine. My conversations revolved around this miracle elixir. I grew more fearful and anxious as the amount of balm left in the tube got shorter and shorter. It took longer and longer to twist it up to the surface. I prayed I wouldn't run out before their return.
I guessitmated that I had a one-day supply left when they returned from Venice -- with 15 tubes in tow. I was off to the races. Did I mention that the reason I had begun my torrid love-affair with Labello no longer existed: I had stopped taking Accutane, and my lips had reverted to their normal state. But I was hooked. I greedily applied this Italian miracle five, six, ten, fifteen times a day. It was bad. It was ugly. I loved it.
I found out that one of the editors I was working for at the time was travelling to Rome. I begged her to bring me back as many tubes as she could carry. Two weeks later, she stopped by my desk and handed me a brown paper bag containing ten tubes of Labello Rosa. I was in heaven. I went home and arranged my stocks. Secure in the knowledge that I was well-supplied.
I turned my friend Clare onto to this stuff. I estimated I had at least a three year supply and planned to travel to Italy to get more when supplies ran low.
But then something happened. The Labello train derailed. And I know this is going to sound weird...but here goes.
I believe that my use of Labello gave me IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) -- and if it is not responsible, then it at least made the problem worse. When I got sick with this annoying syndrome, I was still using Labello the way Christian fundamentalists use the Bible to berate how amoral America is. But one day, I had to go out and, feeling very ill, was distracted. I forgot to take my Labello. By the end of the day, I felt fine. The annoying churning in my stomach and the pain in my gut had subsided. When I got home that evening, I greedily lathered my lips with my savior. And shortly thereafter, I felt very ill. A lightbulb went off over my head. The next day, I intentionally went out without it. I had the same reaction, I felt fine the whole day, but when I reapplied it that night, I felt sick.
Now, since I like to think of myself as a rational, intelligent being, I told myself that it was psychological, that it couldn't be the Labello. Then, one day several weeks later, my friend Clare called to say she, too, was feeling ill. She described her symptoms, the same as mine. And then I remembered my Labello test. I quizzed her on her use of the balm, and she reported that she had been using it a few times during the day.
I asked her to try the same test I had run through. She did, much to the same results. By the way, I put the Labello in a drawer that day. I have not used the stuff since then. Neither has Clare, and her situation eventually reverted to occasional flare-ups. Our common friend, the one who gave me my first tube, no longer uses it either. She began getting nausea after applying the balm, but it stopped once she stopped using the product. And she was never a heavy user.
Has my IBS gone away? Pretty much, but I do get occasional flare-ups. I try to stay away from all lip balms, period. And I find I don't need them anyway. Has anyone else mentioned stomach cramps or nausea or diarrhea in connection with lip balm?
Here's the lowdown on Labello Rosa: Ingredients: Polydecene, Paraffin, petroleum, Polysobutene, Ceresin, Cyclomethicone, Isopropyl Palminate, Camauba, Synthetic Beeswax, Lanolin Alcohol, Palmitic Acid, Coprylic,/Capric/Linoleic Triglyceride, Tripalmitin, Jojoba Oil, Saqualine, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Citric Acid, Lecithin, Glycerol Stearate, Glycerol Oleate, Fragrance. Manufactured by Beiersdorf SpA Milano
I had thought of having this stuff tested to see if there was something the F.D.A. would not allow, but I had forgotten about it until a friend sent me your link. Not knocking the Italian health authorities but they aren't the F.D.A., if you know what I mean. If you like I can send in my remaining stock of Labello, since all it does is take of space in my drawers. I had thought of passing it out to people I knew to do a blind test of the stuff, but that struck me as too evil to follow through with, thinking as I did about it.
Well, that's it. Thanks for the excellent and entertaining site.
Happily pulled that monkey off my lips!

Doug M. writes:
Thank you LBA, for creating this page, and all the hard work that goes into maintaining it. I can't tell if your page is fully serious, joking, or some clever combination of the two, but I can tell that it has helped me. I was a Blistex addict for over 10 years. I secretly wondered if the stuff was OK or if I was addicted to it or not, but discounted the notion. I am just like the other hundreds of people that write in to you, I had lip balm stashed EVERYWHERE. I was never without it.
Then I found your page. At first I laughed out loud, thinking this was a hoax. Then I began to think that it could be true. I did nothing about it for about 2 or 3 weeks, feeling fearful of the impending discomfort at leaving my lip balm at home. But then I decided that I must take action. I could no longer sit by and let myself be ruled by the little plastic tube.
I gave it up, all at once. I haven't used it for over 2 months now. (oops, I did break down ONE night before bed, and slathered a light coating on my weary lips.) At first I carried it around in my pocket, but refused to use it. Then I graduated to leaving a tube in my office, but not using it. I can remember the day clearly, when I decided to go to work without my lip balm. Can you believe that I had NEVER gone anywhere without my lip balm for over 10 years! What a relief!
I am so happy that you posted this page. My lips are so much better now that I am not addicted to that stuff. I truly do thank you for helping me kick the habit by having this page available.

Marc M. applies the 12 Steps:
I'm a lip balm addict named Marc.
I hope this page is not a joke. I am finding out that lip balm addiction is a serious problem. I got hooked when I saw somebody at my church whip out a canister of Carmex and balm away. My own lips felt dry and I felt embarrassed about how they looked. I loved the smell of  Chap Stik and have on occasion used that, but this time I went and got some Carmex.
I loved the tingly sensation that it gives and the odor is intoxicating. I wonder if Carmex has any chemical in it that would make sniffing it the equivalent of sniffing glues or some type of cleaning fluid. At first, I didn't think it was a problem, but thanks to your site I was able to look back and see the insanity of my situation. First, I stopped using Carmex and vowed that "Just For Today" I would stop and everyday I would make that vow. People don't think about this being problematic, but it's insane to keep getting up from my desk to go to the restroom and check my lips because I think they're getting dry AGAIN. And then even if they aren't dry, I put some more on.
I made a decision to apply the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps to my obsessive/compulsive balming. Balming is just a symptom of a much greater problem. The problem in many cases is rooted in a negative self-centered attitude in which someone looks at themselves as being less-than and focuses on some aspect of themselves to find fault for being less than "perfect." Another source of the problem might be the fact that some of the products have some mood-changing, mind-altering effect, however minor. I'm thinking about those who apply the stuff to the nasal area as well as the lips. Still others might be caught up in the grip of the tingly feeling that Carmex and others produce when first applied. Many balmers are probably plagued by other addictions and obsessive/compulsive disorders as well as any number of psychological maladies.
Recently, I've had the pleasure of carrying the message of LBA to those who use unsuspectingly. I was giving a friend a ride and he pulled out some Carmex. I didn't say anything then, but when he pulled it out less than a half-hour later, I mentioned this website and the fact that he was using again in a relatively short period of time. He was surprised, but he thought about it even though he still put some on.
Thank you for providing the public with this valuble information. It is truly crazy to live life being controlled by the need to do anything...even balming. Thanks for letting me share!

Ellie was determined...
I'm one of the lucky few who managed to quit using lip balm. (I was addicted to Softlip - the one manufactured to appeal to women) I only realised it was getting way out of hand when I stumbled upon your web page. From that day onward, I was determined to quit, and I did.
Thank you for heightening awareness of this evil industry. My only regret is that your web page has been listed under "Humor", and therefore does not do your cause justice, since people may not take what you propose seriously.

Lisa M. started at age 12!
Hi! Just wanted to write with my experience to see if others could maybe benefit from it.
I visited your page several months ago in the throes of a major addiction that had lasted over 20 years.
My first lip balm, at age 12, was one of those enormous Bonne Bell tubes, bubblegum flavor. I later snagged one in chocolate mint. I vividly recall how much I loved my Bonne Bell tubes - they were the greatest thing since sliced bread! Looking back, I think I know what the problem was. My parents didn't allow us to drink colas or eat candy, so the flavored lip balm was a substitute for the sweet treats I craved but couldn't have.
It wasn't long before I was dependent on the stuff. If I didn't smear it on every 20 minutes or so, my lips would immediately become dry and raw feeling. If I waited much longer, I could count on having the top layer of skin peel off and deep, vertical cracks appear. Quite painful and not pretty.
Through the years I tried almost every brand; had a major Carmex addiction for awhile, but always went back to Bonne Bell. I'd wait until the after-Xmas sales and then snap up dozens of the candy cane tubes full.
I didn't even think of it as an addiction until I saw your page. Since then, I've realized how much this interferes with my life and have made a sincere effort to quit. I liken this to smoking - my mother has a four-pack-a-day habit. I always figured it must be real pain to have to be holding a cigarette at all times (she lights her next one off the end of the previous one), or to have to find an ashtray wherever she goes or a place to set the cigarette down when she needs both hands for something. Well, the lip balm addiction is just as bad. Gotta have the balms around at all times, and stop whatever you're doing to apply it constantly. So there it was - I was just as bad as my continuously smoking mother!
Two months ago, I switched from flavored lip balms to plain petroleum jelly. I realized the alcohol and acid present in most regular lip balms was only worsening the problem. I bought a gigantic tub of Vaseline and filled three small jars with screw-on caps. I keep one in my purse, one on the bedside table, and one next to my computer. Realizing a major contributor to chapped lips is licking them, I try to stay constantly aware and keep from doing this.
At first, I used the Vaseline as often as the regular balm. But gradually it became less and less necessary. Without the gratifying coolness of Natural Ice, or the yummy flavor of Bonne Bell, I'm not nearly so motivated to use just for a pleasant sensation. I am proud to say that by sticking to Vaseline only and being very careful about licking my lips, I am currently applying only five times a day or less. I use it after I brush my teeth (the toothpaste really makes my lips sting) and after showering (when I put face lotion on anyway due to the drying effects of hot water). I realize I'll probably never be able to leave the house without having the Vaseline with me, but I'm no longer a slave to it as I once was. And I'm very proud to say that I'm able to go for six to eight hours at a time now without using. I'd like to urge everyone to try the plain Vaseline - exclusively - and see if it doesn't make a difference.

Cathy W. is starting her recovery!
I can't believe I'm writing this message-- people who are actually going through the same agony I do. Where do I start? I am a 29 year-old homemaker with two wonderful children, ages 2 and 7 months. I have a happy marriage to a wonderful man. Sounds like a pretty happy life, except for one problem-- I have been addicted to lip balm since I was 12 years old-- That's right- over half of my existence I have lived my life around my lip balm addiction. I feel crazy writing this- of course, the only people who understand and know that this is not a joke is my family.
It started pretty innocently. When I was growing-up, lip balm was huge!! Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers was a favorite of mine, as well as all of my friends. I had one of the biggest collection around. A few months later I noticed my lips were drier than usual- Lip Smackers didn't even help them (not that they ever did). I discovered Blistex Mint lip balm- that did the trick. Little did I know (especially at that young age) it was probably the worst mistake I have ever made in my life. Soon, I was completely hooked. For so long I never really knew why I had to have a tube on me everywhere I went. Putting Blistex on my mouth was the very first thing I did in the morning and the very last thing I did before going to bed-- It still is.
It wasn't until I was about 19 years-old and in college did I ever start thinking that I could actually be addicted to this stuff. My mouth (the corners of my lips, in particular) started to become very susceptible to various infections- mostly yeast infections. Pretty disgusting, I know. I've used every fungus/disinfectant cream known to man- sooner or later, they always come back- they still do. The first time I was diagnosed with my first yeast infection on my lips, I confided to my dermatologist that I suspected I had an addiction to lip balm that I thought probably contributed to my problem. I showed him my tube- and he told me to quit immediately. I thought, "Yeah, I can do that. I'll just quit". I didn't even get past the first day.
Well, since then I think I've tried to quit using Blistex maybe two or three times, always with the same results-- horribly swollen, blistered lips, infections in the corners of my mouth- not to mention the horrible cravings, anxiety and mental anguish that sometimes seem worse than the physical side-effects. Like I've said before, I've lived my life around my addiction. I can't think of a single important moment in these past 17 years when I didn't have my Blistex- when I met my husband, vacations, my wedding, you name it. I actually went through labor and the birth of my children with that stupid tube in my hand the whole time!! My husband is very understanding-- he has made many an emergency trip to the drug store to pick-up a new tube if I've run-out because I had been careless in keeping track of how much I've used (which, by the way is probably about 4-5 tubes in a month.)
It hasn't been until the past year that I've actually accepted the fact that I'm addicted to this product. I will always have the scars on my mouth (from recurring infections) that will be a reminder of my addiction. Very few people outside of close family and friends know about this- I've heard all the jokes and my mother begs me to quit practically every time I see her- but I don't know how. I don't know if I'm ready to, yet. I have a lot to handle just taking care of my two babies-- I don't think I can handle what I would have to go through.
I used to think that being addicted to Blistex was no big deal. At least it wasn't cigarettes or alcohol, right? But I think of how many times I've had to cancel plans I've had because I was too embarrassed to see people with my mouth infections- or have literally torn apart my house when my I've mis-placed my tube of chapstick- or that in the back of my mind I am constantly aware of my need for Blistex. Now I'm angry. I believe the Blistex company (as well as other lip balm companies) were and are well aware that their product is addictive, but will not put a warning on the label for such a possibility. These companies need to be responsible for ignoring this problem. This is a product that anyone can buy and use. In my case, being a child when my addiction began, this is most dangerous. The other day, I saw my husband's 5-year-old niece using the same exact brand of lip balm which I now need to use several times a day. I couldn't believe it. This needs to stop.
I was pretty much at the end of my rope when I first found your website. Well, last weekend I went to a health-food store. There, I found an all-natural lip balm by the name of Chap-Mate. I read the ingredients- all natural. The only "medication" in it was tea-tree oil. I bought a natural peppermint flavored one (closest thing to my beloved Blistex). Well, it's been only 5 days and my mouth has not felt this great in YEARS!! Within literally hours, the redness and swelling disappeared! The cuts in the corners of my mouth healed- and funny- after many attempts of switching brands in order to try to quit-for the first time, I didn't crave Blistex!
I'm trying not to get my hopes up. I've tried quitting before only to go back after a week or two- but this time I really think I've found something good. I find that I don't need to use lip balm half as much as I did before. Hopefully in a few weeks I will be able to cut down even more. I realize that switching from an over-medicated brand of lip balm to an all-natural lip balm isn't exactly quitting, but I do feel that it is a step in the right direction. Chap-Mate is about a dollar more expensive than Blistex but worth it for me!!
Just thought I'd pass on the information. Maybe it could help someone else in the same situation. I'm starting to believe that there is a way to stop this crazy addiction.
Also, just a quick note to all of those "I Hate Lip-Balm Anonymous" people- This is not a joke- people really get addicted to this stuff. Just because you aren't personally experiencing the problem, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I mean, hey- I've smoked before, experimented with drugs, and drink socially- yet, I have never ever come close to being addicted to these things. Yet I know that there are so many people that are and who go through torture everyday because of it. I also have heard of people addicted to sex and gambling and food- which is unimaginable! However, I am not so arrogant as to say these addictions don't exist just because I don't have any of them. I know this isn't the Jerry Springer website and I don't want to cause trouble but I do feel it necessary to tell these people to mind their own business. If reading this website amuses you- great. But please, if you feel compelled to write and enlighten us with your "infinite wisdom"- don't bother. Follow your own advise and "Get a life". If you aren't addicted to lip balm or don't know anyone who is- this website isn't intended for you, anyway.

Marie is moving on...
My name is Marie and I'm a lip balm addict....Blistex to be exact. I've been searching the net this morning for an outlet store where I could buy it in bulk. That's when I came across your site. I broke down in tears when I read some of the letters you've received from fellow addicts. Until now I thought I was alone in my addiction. Yes, I know I'm addicted...I do have a problem but I didn't realize I could actually find support for this anywhere. I have a new-found hope after finding your site.
I wasn't always a lip balm addict. It's just happened within the last couple of years since I moved to the Midwest. At first I applied balm to my lips a couple times a week, then as the colder weather arrived and my lips became more chapped I found myself using it more often...on a daily basis. Before too long I was clutching a stick of Blistex in my sleep. I would wake up in the middle of the night to put it on my lips. One time I woke up though and I'd lost the stick of Blistex. It had rolled off and under the bed...I had a severe panic attack and started hallucinating...I saw sticks of Blistex dancing in my room...taunting me....getting almost close enough for me to grab and then jumping back and laughing at me. It was awful!! I thought I was going to die! After that I went through therapy and have been on Ativan because of it but that hasn't helped. Nowadays I have it tied around my wrist at all times so that I don't have the panic attacks. When I wake up at night, I know it's there.
I've decided to move south...where the winters aren't so cold. I'm hoping the climate will ease my dependence on lip balm a little bit. I'm leaving behind family and friends but I feel that I have to do this in order to save my life.
I want to thank you for your website. I know I'll come back here often and I'm hoping I'll find the support and courage to overcome. I so much want to live a normal life.
Thanks for listening,
Marie

Jennifer C. is rounding the corner:
Hello, my name is Jennifer Cochen, and I used to have a lipbalm problem. Before I found this website, I would reapply lipbalm on my lips all the time. I couldn't go least 5 minutes without lipbalm. One time, I decided to count the number of times I reapplied lipbalm during my first period class, the total added up to 17 times! I knew I had a problem then, but I denied that I needed help to overcome my addiction. I realised I needed to get help soon, after I took a vacation with my relatives in the Colorado mountains. The really bad part was that I left all my brands of Lip Smackers, Softlips and Carmex at home on accident! As we started to get higher into the first huge mountain we saw, I knew I couldn't last without Chap Stick. Unfortunatly, there weren't any Chap Stick stores in the mountains! I forced my parents to go back 50 miles to the nearest store so I could buy some Chap Stick. Unfortunatly, at the nearest store, they didn't have any Chap Stick! All they had were some waxy candles. I decided to take those. I figured that a substitute would be just as good as the real thing. Fortunatly, the candles satisfied me for the rest of the ride in the Colorado mountains. Once we got to our hotel, I went to the gift shop and bought some real Chap Stick. Thank gosh they had Lip Smackers! Anyway, when I got home from Colorado, I decided to go on the web right away to see if there were any anti-lipbalm websites. Sure enough, I found this website.
Thank you for posting this site on the web. I'm am starting to get it down to one time a day, because of your wonderful words to inspire me.

J.T. uses two tubes...:
I have to tell someone. I can't keep this thing bottled up any longer. I am a lip balm addict...and more! For years I have beeen addicted to lip balm. It has filled a need and become a source of comfort in an uncertain world where the spectre of chapped or cracked lips looms around the next corner. But this winter I took it up a notch. I am a Canadian who commutes around my city of Toronto by bicycle. Winter days can sometimes get pretty blustery here and I would never dream of going out withtout the reassuring bulge of my Labello lip balm in my jeans pocket. But I have found that the wintry blasts can be unrelentingly damaging not only on ones lips but on other parts of one's person as well. And so, to avoid the discomfort of chapping I have taken to liberally applying Labello to, God help me, the head of my penis!! Where will it end? What will I do when Spring arrives?? Now I can't go anywhere without TWO tubes of lip balm (I believe in following strict rules of hygene). Of course, the Labello keeps my penis wonderfully smooth and unchafed but now I have begun to have thoughts of rubbing this devil's lubricant all over my entire body!! I have been ashamed to seek therapy for this obsession but now that I know that I am not alone, that others out there also share my pain, I have gained strength to finally confront my demon.
J.T., Toronto, Ont., Canada.


Last updated on February 2, 2000
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