Carmex was one the earliest lip balm in the world. It yielded very good results which promoted more and more people to use it repeatedly. This lead people to believe that chapstick is additive.
Addiction happens when people try to fill in emptiness in their life with a substance or activity like drug and alcoholic. They numb the senses and slowly over power the user and create a physical dependency on it. But with chap sticks there is not psychological components attached. As the chap sticks do their job of immediate relief from dry and chapped lips, people generally want to use it more and more. Those who live in west use sun screen and in the south use skin moisturizers to avoid and skin dryness respectively. So when these are not additive, chap sticks too isn’t.
But some people tend to apply and reapply chapstick several times a day which looks likes addiction. This is not really addiction but a compulsion to keep the lips moisturized when they dry out. All lip guards include emollients to soften the skin and a waxy base for waterproofing. But they other substances like lanolin which natural emollient derived from wool. Lanolin is very gentle on the skin and a neutral ingredient. Wax is also neutral and repels water but feels a little odd when applied on the skin. Some products use camphor as a soothing agents and some alcohol for preventing the lips from drying. The medicated chap sticks contain camphor.
Camphor and alcohol are the culprit ingredients. While they are effective ingredients they have a tendency to evaporate with time. Most balm manufactures only highlight the moisturizing abilities of these but don’t speak about the drying out aspect at all. When chap sticks with camphor or alcohol are applied on the skin an instant relief is felt due to the natural micro fissures and cracks being up by the emollients like camphor and the wax coat repels water. But after a while the camphor evaporates and the wax gets absorbed the skin. This leads to a need to reapply lip balm frequently. This is misjudged as addiction. But unless the use of such products is discontinued at the earliest, it could turn into a habit difficult to break.
To ensure to not to get into the vicious circle of applying and reapplying chapstick or to get out of the circle, it’s a must to read the ingredients on the chapstick. If it contains camphor or alcohol, it better be discarded and look for chapstick with natural ingredients. These would be a little pricier but would last longer and would require application every few hours.