After ages, you’ve got your hands on your favourite new lipstick. Just when you're about to try it on, you realize your lips are chapped and dry? You still go ahead and glide it on. Result: The smooth lipstick settles into the cracks of your lips!
Alas! Chapped and dry lips aren’t just a woe during winters. It persists because you’re skipping out on an important step - exfoliating your lips.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to exfoliate lips for a smooth and soft finish.
Why Is It Important To Exfoliate Your Lips?
Sometimes, coating your lips with lip balms or oils isn’t enough to cure constantly chapped lips. Exfoliation is crucial for the dead cells to disappear and for fresh layers to appear. It helps maintain a healthy and smooth pout.
1. Dead Skin Removal
The skin on your lips is very thin, which makes it very sensitive and prone to damage. Products cannot penetrate the skin when there is a build-up of dead cells. Exfoliating helps remove the upper, dry surface of your lips to resurface the healthier layer.
2. Helps Hydrate Your Lips
One of the key reasons to exfoliate your lips is getting rid of dry skin. Once you exfoliate the dead layer away, you will be left with lips that are hydrated and does not dry out easily.
3. Smoothens Out Your Lips
There must have been a time when you swiped on lipstick on your chafed, dry lips. If you have, you know you dislike that clumpy and flaky effect. Exfoliating will prep and prime your lips and leave a smooth and even surface to work with, which creates a smoother lipstick application and allows longer stay.
For the best results, moisturize after exfoliation and wait for an hour before you apply lipstick.
4. Neutralizes Discoloration
Exfoliation is an effective technique to get rid of those pesky dark spots, impurities and neutralize lip discoloration. When you exfoliate lips with a toothbrush and Vaseline or any other medium, the darker areas which linger around get scrubbed off with the dead skin. This leaves lesser spots with every round of exfoliation.
How To Exfoliate Lips - The Best Ways?
Exfoliation is a simple technique. It involves an exfoliant which is a coarse-grained ingredient made from minute solid fragments designed to remove the dead skin.
Lip scrubs are an easy way to exfoliate your lips at home. You can indulge in an enjoyable and fun process when you create a lip scrub at home using the most basic ingredients. Alternatively, you can get your hands on a store-bought ready-made product.
Exfoliating lips with sugar and olive oil or coconut oil is a concoction you can put together in minutes. Exfoliate lips quickly and subtly by combining a pinch of sugar with your preferred lip balm. This works well and saves plenty of time.
If not, you can cherry pick from an assortment of household ingredients based on your personal preference. The idea is to fuse together your favorite exfoliating ingredient with an emollient/moisturizing agent and you’re good to go!
DIY Homemade Lip Scrub
Your favored lip balm
Petroleum jelly (Vaseline)
Oils (jojoba, coconut, olive, etc.)
Sugar (white/ brown)
Towel or toothbrush
1. If you’re making an exfoliator at home, then take around a tablespoon of your exfoliating ingredient.
2. Next, add in your emollient. The quantity entirely depends on the ingredients you’ve chosen.
3. Mix it all together.
4. Before you apply the mixture onto your lips, wipe off any product residue. Then wet your lips with water to soften it.
5. Dip your choice of tool like a toothbrush or scrubber into the mixture and apply it onto your lips in a small circular motion.
6. Whether you exfoliate lips with a washcloth or any other means, don’t brush or swipe on too harshly. This will overly strip your lips.
7. After 2-3 minutes of exfoliation, wash off the leftover product with water or wipe off with a soft cloth or tissue. Next, lather on a moisturizing lip balm of your choice.
8. If you’re using a store-bought product, then follow steps 4 through 7.
Adding flavor, like a dash of cocoa powder or a drop of pure vanilla extract, gives your exfoliator a lovely fragrance.
How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Lips?
The general consensus is you will benefit from exfoliating your lips one to three times per week.
Whatever you do, you mustn’t over exfoliate. You should start with once a week and work your way up to three times a week if needed. This entirely depends on how much lipstick and other products you use through the week.
Although it’s tempting, don’t scrub too hard or use harsh ingredients. If you remember reading earlier, the skin on your lips is thin and sensitive. So any harshness can cause irritation or a wound.
Exfoliating at night and following up with a good quality lip balm will ensure you wake up to smooth, hydrated and plump lips.
Tips And Tricks To Exfoliate Lips?
1. Be Gentle
This point cannot be stressed on enough! Be gentle with your lips. Whether you exfoliate lips using a toothbrush, your hands or a swab use gentle circular movements.
2. Don’t Over Exfoliate
Again, another point that requires repeating. Throughout the article, compelling reasons are present which suggest over exfoliation is bad for you. Stick to once or a maximum of thrice a week. This will remove the dead skin and keep your lips soft and supple.
3. Protect Your Lips
Exfoliation and protection go hand in hand. You need to protect your lips with a good lip balm after exfoliation. A good lip balm with SPF will protect your lips from the sun and ensure it always looks good. This step also helps avoid dark spots.
4. Don’t Exfoliate On Dry Skin
One of the most important tips is to never exfoliate on dry lips. Exfoliating on dry lips will cause redness and irritate your lips. So, how to exfoliate lips then? It’s simple, slightly wet your lips.
5. Stop With Irritation
This is true, especially if you’re working with store-bought products. Not all exfoliators are the same. Some products may contain ingredients like salicylic acid, which irritate the skin if you use it very often. The moment you feel anything out of the ordinary, like irritation or redness, stop using the product.
6. Always Exfoliate At Night
Include exfoliating your lips in your nighttime skincare regime. It gives the skin ample time to heal before exposing it to external conditions like sun, dust, pollution, etc.
What To Avoid When You Exfoliate Your Lips?
Exfoliation is a sensitive business; do it right and your aim of glowing, smooth, radiant and supple looking lips is obtainable. If anything goes awry, you’re left with aggravated, irritated, red and angry looking lips.
For a perfect balance between a clean sweep and exfoliation overkill, here are some precautions to follow:
1. Take it easy. There’s no need to use hard particles or potent chemical peels.
2. After exfoliation, you need to wait for at least sixty minutes before you apply any makeup. You should use a lip balm to settle things down as soon as you exfoliate.
3. Avoid exfoliation when your lips are irritated, peeling and flaky. This does more harm than good. Picking at your lips with a scrub when it’s hurting will create more sores and cracks which may make things worse. Instead, give your skin a break for a week or so and in the meantime use an ointment-based lip balm which will lock in the moisture and help to heal cracks and splits. After it’s healed completely, attempt exfoliation again.
4. Do not use body scrubs on the lips. It takes just a few minutes to throw together a few ingredients from your pantry. In no time you can exfoliate your lips with honey and sugar.
What Happens If You Over Exfoliate Your Lips?
As it turns out, the saying ‘too much is too bad’ holds true here. Over-exfoliating is one of the biggest mistakes you can make, unconsciously. If you’re slathering on exfoliators day after day, there’s a good chance your lips are crying for a break.
Classic signs of over-exfoliation include:
- An increase in sensitivity to other products in your routine
You can experience any of the above reactions from using acids in your exfoliator or an overzealous scrubbing session.
Firstly, stop exfoliating until your skin heals and returns to its texture before overexposure. Here’s recovery 101 for over-exfoliation:
- Stop all forms of external exfoliators until your skin heals.
- Once your skin heals switch to a mild exfoliator and a fragrance-free lip balm and see if this helps.
When Can You Start Exfoliating Your Lips Again?
Encountering some irritation when you exfoliate is not uncommon or unheard. You may or may not experience it. If you do, you need not swear off the stuff forever. Once your lips heal, you can slowly and strategically reintroduce your favorite exfoliators and emollients into your routine.
It can take as short as a few days or as long as a month for your skin to get back on track. Be patient.
If your lip care routine isn’t as extensive as your skincare one, it’s time to start now. Remember, even after exfoliation, the work’s not done. While you’ve successfully gotten rid of dry and flaky skin, it’s important that you care for your lips unrelentingly to make sure they remain moist, supple and soft.
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