Humectants may be the reason why your lips become “addicted” to lip balm because of their ability to dehydrate the skin when used on their own,. When you apply humectants (moisture) without occlusives (seals in moisture) to your lips, you could be making them drier than they were before you applied the lip balm. Thus, your lips feel very dry and you try to combat this by using more lip balm, which continues this ongoing cycle. While humectants can provide a temporary plumping, smoothing, and hydrating effect, they are unable to repair damage to your skin’s protective barrier, which is the root cause of excessive dryness and flaking.
To avoid this problem, only use lip balms that contain both humectants and occlusives. A few examples of occlusives are:
- Argan oil
- Borage seed oil
- Olive oil
- Jojoba oil
- Safflower oil
Shiny lips can attract UV rays to your and cause dryness and increase your risk of skin cancer, so also use a lip balm with an SPF of 15 or higher.