Are lip scrubs actually bad for your lips?

If you’ve ever experienced chapped or dry lips, it’s likely you’ve considered investing in a lip scrub in addition to that trusty lip balm you use on the daily to get your lips looking smoother and feeling softer than ever. “Lips see so much damage from talking and eating and environmental changes,” New York City plastic surgeon Lara Devgan told Allure. And that’s exactly why so many people use lip scrubs regularly — to undo any damage and get their lips in tip-top shape. But are lip scrubs actually bad for your lips?

If you’re not careful, lip scrubs could actually be doing more harm to your lips than good. “Lip scrubs can be damaging to the delicate mucosa of the lip; they can cause a little bit of abrasion, micro-injury, and even some bleeding if you’re not careful,” Devgan said. “If you’re too rough with exfoliation, you can get hyperpigmentation, and your lips will look a little more brown than pink,” she added. 

It's important to take a break from all lip products every now and then

Instead, we should be taking a break from lipsticks and lip products altogether when our smiles are suffering. According to Devgan, it’s as simple as opting for a gentle product like petroleum jelly while your lips recover. “The best way to stop the chapping cycle is by taking a little holiday from products,” Devgan told Allure. “No scrubs, no lip licking, no colors or glosses, just a simple emollient product like a hyaluronic acid serum or petroleum jelly.”

If you are looking to incorporate a gentle treatment into your lip care after taking a break, Devgan recommends trying a lip peel once a week rather than a lip scrub. “Glycolic and lactic acid are nice for creating a light peeling effect,” advised Devgan, so look for these ingredients when shopping for one. 

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