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flaky lips? how to exfoliate lips the right way

Is your pout in need of some lip service?

flaky lips? how to exfoliate lips the right way

Experiencing the dreaded dry, flaky lips thing? So are we. We've all got stories on how those flaky lips came out to play, and no matter how much lip balm you apply, that dryness just keeps winning. So, we can't change the weather, but we can find ways to help alleviate dry flaky lips. How? Exfoliate your lips with a lip scrub. So you can ditch scrubbing the hell outta your lips with a toothbrush - we're talking about ready-made solutions with natural exfoliating ingredients that are not just here for temporary happiness but are actually effective to say bye-bye to every trace of chapping to reveal smooth, pout-tastic lips.


Why do we experience dry, chapped lips?

To transform dry lips we first need to know what's actually causing the cracks and flakiness. According to Dr Katheleen Eusebio-Alpapara, our lips have poor barrier function because they don't contain sebum-releasing oil glands which keep the skin soft and moisturised. This means our lips aren't great at retaining moisture, so when the environment is cold and dry (aka - winter) our lips are more likely to suffer. However, there are several factors that can cause dry lips, they include;

  • Extreme heat or wind

  • too much sun exposure

  • temperature extremes

  • excessive licking of the lips

  • smoking

  • certain medications and supplements which can include vitamin A, retinoids (Retin-A, Differin), lithium (commonly used to treat bipolar disorder), chemotherapy drugs.


Treating chapped lips

Dryness on the lips is common and can be treated with a simple treatment and preventative measure, like the right lip balm and lip scrub. However, in some people it can develop more severely - this is called cheilitis.

Cheilitis can look like cracked skin at the corners of the mouth with several cracks on your lips. If you have this condition, your lips may be dark pink or red in colour, have a lumpy texture, develop ulcers or have white plaques on the surface. If you think this might be you we recommend talking to your GP or dermatologist.


Lip exfoliation benefits

Exfoliating with a lip scrub comes with some serious lip-loving benefits. Dr Eusebio-Alpapara, says the main benefit for anyone to exfoliate lips is that it removes dead skin cells. "Removing the dead cells helps expose the smooth, fresh healthy lips beneath."
Some other benefits of a lip scrub include;

  1. Removes dry skin
    a scrub can help prevent dry chapping lips.

  2. Plumper, softer looking lips
    When you exfoliate lips with a sugar scrub it can temporarily increase blood flow which can give you smooth plumper-looking lips.

  3. Help improve discolouration and dark spots
    Exfoliation evens out lip tone to minimise the appearance of discolouration.

  4. Keeps lips moist
    Using a lip scrub helps reduce the frequency of soreness and flaky skin.

  5. Lipstick can be applied evenly.
    Exfoliating lips helps your lipstick looks better and stays on for longer.

  6. Can prevent dehydration
    Adding lip scrubs to your weekly skin care routine can help prevent lips from becoming dehydrated which may cause swelling, bleeding or dryness.


How often should you exfoliate lips?

It is important not to over exfoliate lips as it can lead to rough, dehydrated, patchy, and dry skin - this means your skin has lost its ability to absorb or retain moisture. So, scrub gentle! You should only lip exfoliate once a week to avoid cell breakage.



Step by step: How to exfoliate your lips

  1. 1. Clean and pat dry chapped lips
    Before working that exfoliating magic on flaky lips ensure they are clean and dry. This means removing any trace of lipstick, lip balm or gloss and following up by patting lips dry.

  2. 2. Exfoliate gently
    Rub that chai sugar lip scrub onto your lips in a circular motion to buff away dead skin. Tip: Be gentle and be sure not to scrub, irritate, or break the surface.

  3. 3. Moisturise:
    Lick or rinse off any access scrub. To lock in and hydrate lips follow up with a thin layer of balm to form a protective barrier.

We recommend:


Good lip care doesn’t end with exfoliated lips.

Exfoliated lips. Now what? After using a lip scrub and lip balm it's important to maintain your routine to ensure your lips remain as soft and supple as possible.

Tips for your lip care

  • Use a non-irritating moisturising lip balm before bed.

  • Apply sunscreen whenever you are heading outdoors. Use and SPF of 30 or over to protect from sun damage.

  • Hello H20! Staying hydrated can help alleviate dryness.

  • Don't pick, lick or bite.
    Licking lips often makes them drier.


Best natural ingredients to keep your lips soft.

Natural oils are packed with essential fatty acids and antioxidants that protect skin from environmental stressors all while moisturising to ditch dry lips and give you a plumper, younger-looking appearance. They tend to moisturise more deeply in comparison to synthetic alternatives.

Our lip scrub and lip balms products use only natural ingredients, including our fave oils and butters listed below - the perfect lip food to keep your lips kissable and healthy.

Jojoba oils

Closely resembling the natural production of sebum in the skin, Jojoba hydrates, balances natural oil production, delivers antioxidant protection, has anti-inflammatory effects and may have some antibacterial properties, and can also help reduce acne. When Jojoba oil is added to sugar lip scrubs it helps the exfoliating ingredient (eg. raw sugar) keep lips smooth by hydrating lips.


Rich in essential fatty acids and Vitamin E, Argan Oil assists in hydrating and softening dry, chapped lips. Its ability to moisturise, nourish, and promote skin elasticity helps regenerate and restore dry skin.

Cupuacu Butter

A hidden gem of the natural ingredients world, Cupuacu is a natural emollient that restores skin elasticity while providing anti-oxidants and hydration. Considered a super-moisturiser due to its water-loving properties as it carries water to the skin making skin supple, soft and more elastic.

Coconut oil

Packed nourishing properties like lauric acid, that seep into your skin. Coconut oil can absorb quickly into the lips, providing moisture to heal dry, chapped lips.

Cocoa Butter

A rich moisturiser, high in fatty acids to deeply hydrate and nourish the skin. Packed with antioxidants to help heal chapped skin and anti-aging.


Kathleen May Eusebio-Alpapara is a board-certified dermatologist who practices both medical and cosmetic dermatology at VE Eusebio Skin Centre.