Do you suffer from dry, cracked, chapped, or darkened lips? Are you looking for a simple and natural way to get rid of the dead cells on your lips?
Lip exfoliation can help you cure your lip problems. A gentle homemade lip scrub followed by a natural or Ayurvedic lip moisturizer can work as a golden combination. However, you do need to identify the type of skin you have and accordingly use a DIY lip scrub to exfoliate your lips. Also, do not forget to apply a lip balm that contains SPF.
This article elaborates all about what lip exfoliation is, the benefits of lip scrubs and how to choose the right scrub for your lips.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor’s Opinion
“Taking good care of lips, ensures better gut and oral health.”
- Dr. Zeel Gandhi (B.A.M.S), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
What Is Meant By Lip Exfoliation?
Lip exfoliation is the process of removing dead, damaged and chapped skin from your lips and revealing the plump, nourished and fresh lips that you naturally have. The exfoliants used work by scraping off the dead discolored layer of skin on your lips, revealing fresh even-toned skin.
Here, it is important to understand that lip exfoliation is different from face exfoliation. This is because the skin on the lips is a little different from facial skin. Unlike the face, lips do not contain sebum-releasing oil glands that keep them nourished and moisturized.
Also, your unique prakriti defines the health of your lips and the exfoliation and care they need. So, if you have a vata dominant skin type, your lips will have a tendency to get chapped and remain dry all through the year.  Other skin types usually face chapped lips in cold and dry weather and in extremely hot and windy climates. Some people also have the habit of licking their lips frequently, which provides very short-lived moisture to the lips but in the long run, makes the lips drier and more chapped.
1. Is Lip Exfoliation Safe?
Exfoliation removes dry skin from your lips, makes them smooth and nourishes them. It is safe to exfoliate your lips as long as the lip scrub you are using is made of natural ingredients that are not very harsh. Make sure the ingredients suit your skin type and always apply a lip balm after exfoliation.
Benefits Of Lip Scrubs
Your lips are very sensitive to moisture loss and a natural lip scrub helps you to keep them hydrated. Removing the dead skin of your lips brings out new layers, making lips soft, smooth and nourished.  These also help with darkened lips, as well as germ-affected lips.
Here are some ways in which exfoliation can benefit your lips:
The skin on your lips needs extra care and protection from pollution and the sun. Lip exfoliants or scrubs that contain coconut or almond oil, protect your lips from the harmful effects of sun rays, by acting as a natural SPF. As the UV rays of the sun also age the skin around your lips, these natural exfoliants prevent premature aging.
Natural lip scrubs that are sugar-based are a perfect exfoliator for your lips. They scrape off the dry skin from your lips, revealing soft and new skin. Exfoliation also improves blood circulation and promotes the regeneration of cells. As a result, your lips appear to be plump and regain their natural color.
After the lip scrub exfoliates the dead skin of your lips, it is easier for lip moisturizers and balms to penetrate your skin. Your lips soak up all the goodness from the moisturizer.
Wearing cosmetics like lipstick and lip gloss on chapped lips is like a nightmare. Especially in the era of matte lipsticks, lips have the tendency to be even more flaky and dry after using such products. Lip scrubs make the skin on your lips smooth and make it easy for you to apply any kind of lip cosmetic you want.
5. Blood Circulation
Sugar-based lip scrubs promote blood circulation in your lips, which makes your lips look bigger and fuller.
6. Even Tone
Lip scrubs exfoliate the dead, damaged and discolored skin from your lips and bring back your original lip color with an even tone.
How To Exfoliate Different Types Of Lips At Home?
1. Know Your Skin Type
Before learning how to exfoliate your lips at home, you need to know the skin type you have. If you have sensitive skin, it might burn from certain lip scrubs. If you have a vata dominant or dry skin, your lips have a greater tendency to become flaky, itchy and rough and need more hydrating scrubs. If you have kapha dominant or oily skin, you mainly need lip scrubs for exfoliation. 
2. Know The Ingredients
Lip scrubs are usually made of 2 main components, an exfoliant and a creamy or oily base called emollient. According to the National Institute of Health, emollients like coconut oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, cocoa butter, etc, help soften, soothe and moisturize your skin. 
3. Steps To Exfoliate Your Lips
Here is how you can exfoliate your lips from the comfort of your home:
Step 1: Take a small amount of your chosen exfoliant like sugar, cinnamon, coffee grounds, chopped oatmeal, finely grounded almonds, etc.
Step 2: Take a generous amount of emollient or moisturizing base like honey, natural oils, shea butter, nut butter, petroleum jelly, etc. Dab a piece of cotton or clean cloth into it. Make sure the cotton is all soaked up by the emollient.
Step 3: Once your cotton is all soaked up, dip it into the exfoliant and make sure the entire piece is covered with the exfoliant.
Step 4: Soften your lips by adding a little water to them and then gently rub the lip scrub coated cotton on your lips. If you have relatively drier or delicate lips, avoid using cotton pads and use your fingers instead. Gently keep scrubbing in a circular motion until you feel the dead skin peeling.
Step 5: Clean the extra scrub from your lips with a clean piece of cloth.
Vedix Tip: Use a lip balm that contains SPF 30 or higher and one or both of the sun-protective ingredients like titanium oxide or zinc oxide.
4. DIY Home Scrubs For Your Lips
1. Honey Sugar Lip Scrub
If you have dark patches on your lips due to the accumulation of dead cells, a honey sugar lip scrub is perfect for exfoliating your lips. Sugar contains glycolic acid that protects your lips from harmful toxins present in the environment.
Here is how you can make this scrub at home:
- 3 tsp granulated white sugar,
- ½ tsp essential or natural oil
- ½ tsp honey and
- ½ a lemon (avoid the lemon if you have damaged or sensitive lips)
- Pour the sugar, oil and honey into a bowl.
- Add the lemon if it suits your skin.
- Mix everything together and make sure the sugar is well coated by the oils.
- Scrub your lips in a circular motion for 2-3 minutes.
- Leave it for a while and wash it off.
- Apply a nourishing lip balm after you wash off the scrub.
2. Toothbrush Lip Scrub With Lip Balm
There are mixed opinions about using a toothbrush on your lips for exfoliation. Most people consider toothbrushes to be too harsh for the lips. Dr. Cynthia Cobb, a faculty member at the University of Louisiana says, that gentle brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush is not harmful unless you have damaged or extremely delicate skin.
All you have to do is:
- Use some warm water to wet your lips.
- Spread a thin layer of any exfoliant that is less harsh or granulated.
- Take a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently scrub in circular motions.
- Wash off the scrub with lukewarm water.
- Apply a lip balm immediately after and keep applying in intervals.
3. DIY Lip Scrub With Lavender
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
- Few drops of lavender oil
- 1 tsp dried lavender leaves
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl and take it on a spoon.
- Wet your lips with warm water and apply the scrub and gently rub with fingers.
- Rinse it off with warm water. 
Problems such as eczema, premature aging, dryness, acne, oily skin are often caused by unbalanced pH levels of the skin and lavender balances the pH levels of the skin.
4. Cucumber Sugar Scrub With Basil
- ¼ cups granulated white sugar
- ¼ cup cucumber finely chopped
- 3- 4 basil leaves
- ⅓ cup of any natural oil of your preference
- Mix all ingredients in a food processor and turn them into a puree. Do remove the seeds from the cucumber.
- Put it into a freezer to thicken the scrub.
- Apply the scrub on wet lips.
- Wash it after a few minutes.
5. Rose And Mint Lip Scrub
- 4-6 tbsp castor sugar
- A handful of dried rose petals
- 1 ½ tsp natural oil of your choice
- Few drops of essential oil for flavoring
- Blend the rose petals in a mixer.
- Mix the blended petals with the other ingredients in a bowl.
- Apply the scrub on wet lips.
- Wash off after some time.
How Often Can You Exfoliate Your Lips?
Doctors at Vedix say that your lips can handle exfoliation 2-3 times in a week. As your lip is the most sensitive part of your face, over-exfoliation can be harmful to the health of your lips. Also, make sure to consult a dermatologist in order to identify the nature of your skin before using any scrub or deciding how many times you need exfoliation in a week. 
Safety Tips To Exfoliate Lips
Even though lip exfoliation is beneficial in various ways, there are some things you need to keep in mind while exfoliating.
1. Over Exfoliation
You should not exfoliate more than 3 times a week. Any amount of over-exfoliation can make your lips even drier and sensitive. Although if you have a Vata dominant or excessively dry skin, you should exfoliate even less. This is because the new skin will not get time to grow.
2. Avoiding Lip Balm
The process of exfoliation does not end with a lip scrub alone. Applying a lip balm with SPF is an essential step. Lip balm locks the moisture on your fresh exfoliated lips and SPF protects them from harmful rays of the sun.  If you are using any kind of lip cosmetic, make sure to apply lip balm at least 15 minutes before.
3. Know When To Scrub
If you have cuts, bruises, bleeding, or sunburnt lips, avoid using a lip scrub or any kind of exfoliant for some days. If you don’t let the bruises heal then exfoliation can cause even more irritation and redness.
4. Avoid Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is not suitable for all skin types especially sensitive skin. Avoid adding lemon juice to your DIY lip scrubs, if you are sensitive to it.
Avoid using chemical exfoliators and try using homemade natural lip scrubs. Homemade lip scrubs do not have a longer shelf life they last for about 6 months but, you can choose how much to make and they are less likely to cause any irritation.
The Last Word
Your lips need a tad bit extra care than your face, as the skin of your lips varies from the rest of your face. Exfoliation is a vital process of taking care of your lips with respect to hydration, protection and care. Follow the DIY tips listed above, and do consult a dermatologist in case you are unsure on how to go about caring for your lips.Know Your Dosha Now
1. The Book Of Ayurveda, A Holistic Approach To Health And Longevity, 1995
2. Lip Scrub
3. Ayurveda The Science Of Self Healing, 2004
4. Transactions of the American Dermatological Association, 1899
5. 7 DERMATOLOGISTS' TIPS FOR HEALING DRY, CHAPPED LIPS
6. Easy Homemade Lip Scrub for Soft pink lips, June 30, 2018
7. Home Remedies to Prevent Dark Lips and Treat Them, Dec 7, 2020
8. Review on Natural Lip Balm, August 2014
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