6 Tips To Kick Your Lip Licking Habit
Stopping a lip licking habit can seem quite difficult. Especially when the dry chill of fall weather hits, you may find yourself continuously licking your lips to replenish moisture. As refreshing and relieving licking your lips may be in the moment, lip licking actually accelerates dryness due to the makeup of your saliva. Licking your lips leads to dryer and chapped lips and in turn you may find yourself continuously applying chap sticks, lip balms, or licking your lips compulsively.
Lips are very sensitive and vulnerable to the elements as well as saliva. Lip licking not only makes your lips dryer faster, the habit may also lead to more serious concerns. Licking your lips constantly can lead to a condition known as lip licker’s dermatitis or perioral dermatitis. This is a rash characterized by a red and scaly ring around the lips.
Lip licking can be common in both adults and children. If you or your child have developed a habit of lip licking, it is important to find the root of what is causing the compulsion. Talk with your child to get a better understanding of why they are licking, as this could be due to self-soothing, anxiety, or dehydration.
Read on for some tips to help you or your child kick the habit of lip licking.
- Stay hydrated- If your lip licking is due to dry or chapped lips, you may be dehydrated. Fill up a reusable water bottle and be sure to keep hydrated throughout the day. Your skin and your lips will thank you
- Keep it glossy - Apply a lip balm as needed throughout the day to prevent dry lips and heal any damage. Pay attention to ingredients though, as not all lip balms are created equal and some ingredients in lip balms may even be contributing to your lip licking woes. We suggest looking for fragrance free and unsweetened varieties as you will be more tempted to lick your pout if it tastes of vanilla mocha or cherry. Ingredients like menthol and peppermint may also cause your lips to dry out more and cause chapping. Opt for ingredients such as lanolin, vitamin E, or petroleum jelly to help the healing process.
- One bad taste a day.. - Opt for a lip balm or chapstick that has an unappealing taste to help kick your lip licking habit. Tastes like lanolin or medicated ointments may provide the extra incentive to stop compulsively licking. Read our article Stop Chronic Lips Licking With Flavor Free Lip Balm to learn more.
- Opposite action - When you feel the urge to lick your lips, try opting for an opposite or different action instead. For instance, when you notice you are about to lick your lips, take a sip of water or put on some balm or lipstick instead. You can do anything to create an interfering action that prevents your tongue reaching those lips. Eventually you’ll have created a new habit to replace your lip licking one.
- Identify your triggers - While for some, lip licking may be due to needing to moisturize dry chapped lips, for others this may be a sign of stress, anxiety, or other compulsory triggers. In children, this may be a form of self-soothing. Pay attention to what is happening or what you are feeling when you feel the urge to lick your lips and identify what, if anything, is causing the stressor. Once you have identified your stressors, you can create an action plan on how to manage your habit.
- Seek professional help - If your lip licking habit cannot be minimized by any of the above tips, there may be other factors at work. Compulsive lip licking can be seen as a psychological disorder. Consult with your or your child’s doctor to determine what is the best course of action to get rid of a lip licking habit.