8 Tips to Stop Licking Lips: Complete Guide

8 Tips to Stop Licking Lips Complete Guide

Constantly licking your lips can be an unconscious habit that’s tough to break. While licking your lips may seem harmless, the truth is this habit can lead to dry, cracked, irritated lips. The good news is that with the right strategies, you can kick the lip licking habit for good.

Understanding Lip Licking as a Habit

Before diving into how to stop, it helps to understand why people develop the lip licking habit in the first place:

  • Temporary relief: When your lips feel dry, licking them provides momentary moisture. This relief reinforces the habit.
  • Unconscious fidgeting: Lip licking can act as an unconscious fidget or self-soothing behavior.
  • Triggers: Stress, anxiety, dry air, or chapped lips can trigger sudden urges to lick your lips.
  • Oral fixation: Some people develop an oral fixation linked to lip licking. This could originate from thumb sucking or other oral habits as a child.
  • Hypersensitivity: Increased sensitivity in your lips can cause you to lick them more frequently.

Recognizing these underlying causes are key first steps toward breaking the habit.

Problems Caused by Excessive Lip Licking

It may seem harmless, but chronic lip licking can lead to several problems:

  • Chapped, irritated lips: Frequent licking strips away protective oils, causing soreness and irritation. Licking dry lips just exacerbates the issue.
  • Swollen lips: Constant licking can cause swollen, puffy looking lips.
  • Dry mouth: Excessive licking stimulates saliva flow, drying out the mouth.
  • Bad breath: A dry mouth becomes a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria.
  • Cracked, peeling lips: Licking creates a cycle of wetting and drying that cracks the lips.
  • Cold sores: Cracked lips are more prone to painful cold sore outbreaks.
  • Dental problems: Enamel erosion and tooth decay can occur with chronic dry mouth.

Breaking the lip licking habit is essential for gaining relief from these issues.

8 Tips To Help You Stop Licking Lips Habit

Licking your lips is a common habit many people do without even realizing. But constantly licking your lips can lead to dryness, irritation, and even infection. Breaking the lip licking habit takes effort but is doable with the right strategies. Follow these 8 tips to successfully stop licking your lips.

1. Identify your triggers

The first step is understanding when and why you lick your lips. Pay attention to identify your specific triggers. Common triggers include:

  • Feeling lips are dry or chapped
  • Nervous habit or boredom
  • While concentrating such as reading or working
  • When anxious or stressed
  • As part of a ritual like when applying lip balm

Keep a log for a week writing down each time you lick your lips and what you were doing. Seeing your triggers on paper will help you recognize patterns.

2. Use lip balm strategically

Carry lip balm with you and apply it when you feel the urge to lick. Picking at and licking dry lips makes the problem worse. Using lip balm prevents and treats chapped lips while satisfying the oral fixation.

Look for moisturizing balms with ingredients like:

  • Beeswax or petroleum to seal in moisture -Shea or coconut butter for hydration -Hyaluronic acid to attract water -Dimethicone to create a barrier

Apply balm before triggers hit to protect your lips proactively. Reapply after eating, drinking, or licking.

3. Drink more water

Dehydration is a major cause of dry, chapped lips. Make a point to consume more fluids, especially water:

  • Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day for easy sipping.
  • Drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning and with each meal.
  • Set reminders to drink water hourly if needed.
  • Infuse your water with fruit or herbs for flavor.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol which can dehydrate.

Properly hydrating your lips from the inside out will minimize the urge to lick.

4. Use a lip scrub

Gently exfoliating lips removes dead skin and allows moisturizer to penetrate better. Try this:

  • Make your own scrub by combining 1 tsp sugar with a few drops of honey or coconut oil.
  • Apply a thin layer of the scrub to lips in a circular rubbing motion.
  • Rinse off and apply lip balm after.
  • Use a lip scrub 1-2 times per week for smooth results.

Exfoliated lips feel soft and hydrated, reducing the need to lick away rough skin.

5. Try bitter-tasting lip products

Applying unpleasant-tasting substances on your lips trains your brain to avoid licking. Options include:

  • Lip balms or glosses containing bitter citrus oils
  • Peppermint or cinnamon flavored lip products
  • Clear nail polish as a temporary barrier layer

Having a bitter taste on your lips makes you less likely to keep licking them. But check for allergies first.

6. Fidget with alternatives

Find other outlets for the oral fixation behind your lip licking. Some choices:

  • Keep hard candy or mints on hand to suck on
  • Click a pen cap open and closed
  • Chew gum when you get antsy
  • Sip tea or coffee for comfort
  • Chew on a plastic straw instead of your lips

Trading lip licking for another oral fidget can help satisfy the underlying urge.

7. Use reminders

Put up physical reminders not to lick your lips. Ideas include:

  • Sticky notes on your desk, mirror, etc. saying “don’t lick”
  • Rubber bands around your wrist you snap when tempted
  • Alarms on your watch or phone every hour
  • Trackers, like dotting a calendar each lick-free day

Seeing reminders in your environment will disrupt the mindless habit.

8. Get treatment for underlying issues

See your doctor if your lip licking is linked to skin, mouth, or mental health issues. They can provide targeted treatment like:

  • Prescription ointments for severe chapped lips
  • Anxiety medication or counseling for stress licking
  • Allergy medicine to minimize discomfort

Controlling any medical issues causing your urge to lick is key.

Here is an example habits tracker you could use:

Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat

Dealing With Relapses in a Positive Way

Breaking any habit takes time. You’ll likely experience relapses where you revert back to lip licking temporarily. To get back on track:

  • Don’t beat yourself up or get discouraged. Lapses during habit change are normal.
  • Analyze what triggered the relapse, such as stress or a chapped lips flare-up. Identify how to better prepare next time.
  • Refocus on your motivation and the benefits you’ll gain by breaking the habit for good.
  • Ask your support system to help keep you accountable if you relapse into old patterns.
  • Stick with your prevention tactics and healthy substitutes. It takes repeated practice to form new habits.

Stay positive, troubleshoot what went wrong, and recommit to your goal of stopping the lip licking habit for good. Consistency and diligence are key.

Maintaining Success Long-Term

Once you’ve curbed the lip licking habit for a significant period, make sure you stay vigilant with these tips for ongoing success:

  • Continue using lip balm and drinking plenty of water daily as prevention.
  • Keep oral substitutes like gum or hard candy handy for distraction when struck with sudden urges.
  • Carry lip balm everywhere as your new go-to for any lip discomfort. Apply it liberally.
  • Use relaxation and stress reduction techniques to manage your triggers.
  • Ask friends and loved ones to keep encouraging you and hold you accountable.
  • Notice and celebrate when you experience victory over an urge. This positive reinforcement helps the new habit stick.
  • Remind yourself regularly why you’re determined to stop lip licking for good.

Staying committed to these strategies makes it easier to leave the lip licking habit in the past for good.

Stopping Lip Licking Habit FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about curbing chronic lip licking:

What causes compulsive lip licking?

It can result from dry lips, oral fixation, anxiety, sensory issues, or unconscious fidgeting. Identifying your personal triggers is key to stopping it.

Is licking your lips bad for you?

If excessive, licking can worsen chapped lips, cause irritation, mouth dryness, bad breath, and increase infection risk. It’s best to break the habit.

How do I stop licking my lips all the time?

Use lip balm, drink more water, avoid triggers, satisfy oral urges safely, employ tactics like bitter balm or biofeedback devices, and practice healthier alternatives.

How can I heal my lips after years of licking?

Use thick ointments and waxy lip balms continually throughout the day. Drink lots of water. Gently exfoliate flaky skin weekly with a lip scrub. Avoid re-licking habit.

Why do my lips feel like I have to lick them?

Frequent licking dries your lips out in a vicious cycle. The temporary wetness when you lick keeps tricking your nerves that they need moisture. Breaking the habit allows true healing.

Learning why you compulsively lick and how to curb it can help you finally heal your lips and boost confidence. With diligence, you can successfully stop this habit.


While it may seem harmless, chronic lip licking can damage your lips. But with the right strategies, you can overcome this stubborn habit. Identify your personal triggers, employ prevention tactics, find healthier substitutes, and stay motivated through occasional setbacks. With consistent effort, you’ll start experiencing the benefits of moist, healthy lips you don’t have to keep licking. Break the cycle for good and you’ll gain confidence knowing you conquered this habit through self-discipline and perseverance.

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