Can You Use Chemical Exfoliants On Your Lips?

Can You Use Chemical Exfoliants On Your Lips?

Much like damage the skin on our face can encounter daily, our lips can suffer in the same way. With exposure to UV rays, dryness from cold weather and other damage caused by incorrect care, or rather lack of it all together.

Lips scrubs have been a very popular product for treating the lips, but with the increase in chemical exfoliants making their way firmly into, almost, everyone’s skincare routine, it was only a matter of time before we started seeing some questions being asked about whether you can use chemical exfoliants on your lips. We’ve had a little dig around reckon we have some answers for you.

Can I use AHA BHA on my lips?

The skin on your lips has only three to five cellular which is very thin when compared to the 20 layers typically found on the rest of the face. This therefore means that not all AHAs are ideal for using to exfoliate the lips as they will be too potent, however there are a couple popular AHAs that work wonders which are the following;

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is the safest to use on the lips due to the fact it has a large molecule size, meaning it cannot penetrate the skin too deeply and cause irritation or other damage. You will also find that lactic acid is hygroscopic meaning it pulls in any moisture in the surrounding area helping to keep the skin on the lips soft and hydrated. Any concerns with pigmentation to the lips are also helped by lactic acid and you will see a reduction in the pigment of the area.

Mandelic Acid

Though mandelic acid is not as gentle as lactic, it has the best results when it comes to pigmentation. The downside to this acid is you are likely to experience some light flaking of the lips, however, luckily it is very manageable. 

Glycolic Acid

This acid is highly effective at delivering the best results, however, glycolic acid is one that should be used with extra caution due to it having the smallest molecules and therefore able to absorb into the skin the furthest. If you plan on using glycolic acid in your lip care it is best to seek the advice of a trained professional to ensure the acid is not too potent for your lips.

Salicylic Acid 

Salicylic acid is the most used BHA, and unlike other AHAs mentioned, this acid is oil-soluble with a smaller molecular size. This means it penetrates further into skin, which can cause some unwanted irritation, especially on with the skin on our lips being considerably thinner the rest of our face. Many experts advised to avoid using salicylic acid to exfoliate the lips, but instead opt for other acids. 

What can I use to exfoliate my lips?

There a number of ways you can exfoliate your lips, the most popular being the following;

  • Homemade lips scrubs
  • Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air
  • Using a damp flannel to rub away any flakiness
  • Using an old, clean toothbrush to exfoliate the lips
  • Using a shop bought lip scrub
  • Using a chemical peel that has been specifically designed to exfoliate your lips

Any of these options will help you gain a smoother and nourished pair of lips, however, in recent years some of the popular lip scrubs have shown to be too harsh on the delicate lip skin and using them should be done with some caution. Here are a few tips to ensure your lips remain healthy after being exfoliated.

  1. Remember to Be Gentle

The skin on your lips is a lot more delicate meaning it can become damaged easily. It is always a good idea to remain as gentle as possible when using any form of lip exfoliation. If you find your lips to be sensitive try using an at home recipe for a lip scrub that includes sugar, honey and coconut oil. The particles will be a lot gentler on the skin and won’t cause any skin irritation or damage.

  1. Protect Your Lips

The skin on our lips can suffer from the same damage as our face, sun exposure being a main cause of pigmentation to the lips. If you are heading out then protect your lips by using a moisturising balm that contains an SPF.

  1. Don’t Over-Exfoliate

Over exfoliating the lips will create a knock-on effect to the health and overall appearance of your lips. Exfoliating just once a week will be enough to keep them feeling soft and supple.

  1. Don’t Forget to Moisturise

Much like moisturising the face after exfoliating, it is vital to do the same for your lips. Apply a nourishing lip balm after exfoliating to protect the skin, you can also try an overnight lip mask or oil to help allowing you to wake up in the morning with soft, supple lips.

Do lips exfoliate themselves?

Lips are made from mucous membrane, which is a special type of skin that is quite different to the skin found on the rest of your body. It is a lot more delicate and thinner which doesn’t experience any build-up of dead skin cells. This also means lips do not exfoliate themselves, however, can suffer from dryness, chapping and other damage. This can be treated with some care with lashings of protective lip products and gentle exfoliation once or twice a week, avoiding too much as this can cause some damage.

How long should I exfoliate my lips?

This depends on which product you use and how much pressure, for example, if you are wanting to gently exfoliate the lips with a natural, homemade scrub you can work the product onto the lips for about 5-10 minutes. If you add harder pressure than about 1 minute would be the right amount of time.

Try and avoid harsh scrubbing as this can cause the lips to become sore, chapped and damaged. If you are worried you will be too heavy-handed then opting for a lip peel or similar product would be the better choice, remembering to follow the instruction on the packaging and allowing the alpha hydroxy acids do their work.  

Can I peel my lips?

There has been a rise in lip peels and exfoliating oils in recent years. This is mainly due to the fact that these products are gentle on the skin and highly effective at removing any flakiness, dry patches and rough texture to the lips. Every lip peel product is different however and you should always ensure you are using the product correctly, one other point to remember is to avoid using a lip peel on lips that are cracked or chapped with any cuts in them as this will cause a lot of stinging and irritation.

Can I use lip scrub daily?

To get the best results from using a lip scrub is by applying them once or twice a week dependant on how dry and flaky your lips are. If you were to exfoliate your lips every day you will start to cause some severe damage to the skin. Chapping, micro cuts and even pigmentation are the results of over exfoliating your lips. If you are wanting to speed up the results and give your lips a healthier looking appearance than applying an overnight lip treatment oil or mask 2-3 times a week will help hydrate the lips.

I hope any questions you may have about chemical exfoliates have been answered in today’s blog post, but if you have any more than please join us over on our Instagram.

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