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Do You Really Need Designated Lip Care? Here’s What the Experts Say

Chapstick, lip scrubs, lip plumpers, special lip sunscreen - there are a tonof designated lip products on the market today, and they all seem great (who are we to poo-poo skincare, right?).

That said, we all know that a lot of products available today are popular more because of marketing than because of their true effectiveness (looking at you, alcohol-based toners), and we’ve all heard the rumors about products like chapstick actually making your lips moredry, not less.

That’s why we couldn’t help but wonder what’s the truth when it comes to lip care? What products actually work and how?

Here’s what we found out.

The Skinny on Lip Skin and Lip Care

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First thing’s first: what’s the deal with lips and do they actually need special care at all?

The short answer here is they're really sensitive - so yes, they do.

The skin on your lips - like the skin on your eyes - is much more delicate than the skin on the rest of your face. This not only makes the lips more prone to short-term irritation - like chapping and lip rash - but also makes the lips one of the first areas of your face to show major signs of aging. This includes things like:

  • Thinning lips or feathered wrinkles around the edges
  • Increased lip dryness
  • Increased susceptibility to UV damage, which can eventually lead to cancer on the lips

Understanding the Lip Care Options Available Today

With that in mind, what are the options available today and how are they supposed to work?

Overall, your three main options include:

  • Chapstick, which is generally used for everyday lip protection and hydration. 
  • Lip scrubs, which aim to gently exfoliate the lips and prepare them for makeup, skincare, and specialized lip treatments. 
  • Lip treatments, which can deeply heal and trap moisture in the lips. 

Which ones you use will depend on your personal preference and day-to-day habits (if you wear a lot of matte lipstick, for example, you might be more inclined to use a lip scrub). That said, no matter what products you incorporate into your routine, it's important to remember that it’s not so much about the form that you choose, but rather about the ingredients that it holds.

Lip Care Ingredients That Actually Work

With all of these, there are a few ingredients that actually work and that you’ll want to incorporate into your routine. These include:

  • SPF: You want to incorporate daily SPF into your lip treatment to defend against harmful UV rays. This can also take the form of antioxidants like vitamin E
  • Lipids: You’ll also want to choose ingredients that replenish lipids and smooth fine lines, including oils like coconut oil or castor seed oil.
  • Moisturizers: In addition to lipids to seal in moisture, you also want designated moisturizing ingredients to draw in water from the surrounding environment. This could be something like hyaluronic acid or even simple water. 

Bad-For-Your-Lips Ingredients to Avoid 

On the flip side, you’ll want to avoid lip ingredients that can contribute to chapping and redness. Specifically, you’ll want to avoid:

  • Fragrances
  • Camphor
  • Phenol
  • Menthol

Fragrances, for one, are known to irritate the skin and contribute to increased drying. In the same vein, camphor, phenol, and menthol are known to cause contact dermatitis. They’re still often included in lip balms, though, because they cause a cooling effect on the skin (and they create a dependency that keeps wearers coming back to these products). The short version? Don’t fall for it (and you can learn more about our no-no ingredients here). 

Ready to get started? You can find all the ingredients you need for lip protection - along with a few extras to provide hydration and healing -- in our Lip Trick Lip Treatment.