Can I become addicted to lip balm?

Lip balm is made to soothe chapped lips, but could you become addicted? Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images

Imagine this scenario: You're driving down the highway, and your lips are hit with a harsh, dry sensation, as though they're terribly chapped. Unable to find a lip balm in your bag or glove compartment, you pull over at the first gas station to buy one. Or maybe you're hurriedly walking down the street, late to work or class, but have to make a pit stop at the pharmacy because you have nothing to moisten your lips, which are uncomfortably dry.

Constant use of lip-moistening products is a very real part of many people's lives. There is debate, even among dermatologists, as to whether lip-balm addiction is a valid medical condition [source: Associated Press].

Support groups -- like online communities -- are out there if you think you have a lip-product problem. Lip balm manufacturers also face criticism for marketing their products to children by incorporating tasty, fruity flavors.

Of course -- just as with many other substances that are considered addictive -- you can use lip balm and not have a problem at all. A number of factors can cause chapped lips, including cold, sunny or windy weather. Personal habits, like breathing through your mouth or licking your lips too much, can also cause chapped lips.

Sometimes situations that cause chapped lips can't be avoided -- it's not as though you're going to stay inside all day just because the weather could dry out your lips. When you do need a lip balm to treat chapped lips, some products are safer than others. Read on to learn about what ingredients to avoid when choosing a lip balm.