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The question

I recently caught a snippet of a TV talk show about 'lip balm addiction.' Is that a real affliction? I use lip balm a lot, but I wouldn't say I'm addicted. How would I know if I was?

The answer

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If you use a balm more than three times a day, carry more than one in your purse and keep various balms in multiple places, you're probably dealing with an addiction. Here's the thing: When your lips are covered in synthetic ingredients, they feel moisturized and protected, yet their cells don't have a chance to turn over and renew. So, once your lips feel dry, you probably simply reapply your lip balm and your lips never have a chance to repair themselves. It's a vicious, waxy cycle.

Switching out your balm with one that contain all-natural ingredients, such as Burt's Bees Sun Protecting lip balm (which contains coconut oil and shea butter for natural, soothing moisture), should help you kick the habit. Also, make sure to drink lots of water and add foods that are rich in vitamin B2, such as almonds and cheese, to your diet.

Bahar Niramwalla is a celebrity makeup artist and beauty specialist on The Marilyn Denis Show on CTV. Have a beauty question? E-mail

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