How to Exfoliate Lips

how to exfoliate lips - dry chapped lips

Having chapped lips is a pain in the you-know-what! Especially when you’re a social person and are embarrassed of the appearance of your lips.

I personally struggle with chapped dry lips, so I feel your pain if you struggle with chapped crusty lips.

I live in a very tropical and humid place and my family lives thousands of miles away in a dry place. When I go to visit them, it never fails - my lips become dry, cracked, they peel and they even hurt a little! It’s no fun. I put on chapstick 542,321 times a day! Ok, not that many times, but you get the point!

For me, chapstick doesn’t help completely. I need something more. So I started exfoliating my lips and found that helped tremendously!

This article is all about how to get rid of chapped lips and how to exfoliate lips to get the smoothest, plump and beautiful lips possible.

You might be asking yourself, why are my lips so dry? So, first I think it’s important to understand what could be causing you to have chapped lips.

why are my lips so dry and chapped? lip exfoliation
image credit: @dr.boker

Causes of Dry Lips

1) cold weather or cold wind

2) hot or dry weather

3) sunburns

4) smoking

5) licking your lips too much

6) dehydration

7) vitamin deficiency (iron or B)

8) possible medical conditions such as autoimmune disorders or thyroid disorders

9) allergies, or even a reaction to a medication

Preventative Tips for Chapped Lips

Instead of learning how to get rid of chapped lips, you might find it helpful to just prevent you from getting them in the first place!

  • Keep hydrated always!
  • Exfoliate regularly (see how to do this below).
  • If going outside, use chapstick with sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
  • At a minimum, apply lip balm or ointment before you got to bed and when you wake up - but also apply throughout the day as you remember to do so.
  • Make sure you use only non-toxic lip balms (no fragrances or flavorings, no menthol, no eucalyptus, no camphor, no waxes).
  • Limit exposure to sun and cold.
  • Don’t touch lips, don’t lick your lips, don't bite your lips, and don’t pick at your lips.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Get a humidifier, this will reduce dry air in your home.
  • Keep objects away from your mouth like pens, jewelry or other metal objects.
how to diy heal chapped lips with exfoliation
image credit: malik skydsgaard

How to Exfoliate Lips

Now, I get to the good stuff. Exfoliation and how to exfoliate lips!

When traveling back to visit family in a dry place, I experience dry and cracked lips often. I found exfoliating to be my saving grace! I do it regularly, before bed and I find that if I do it a few times a week my lips begin to feel normal again - soft, smooth and not cracked or dry and painful.

What is exfoliation?

Exfoliation is a process of scrubbing away dead dry skin using a scrub product (homemade or store bought) and sometimes a toothbrush.

Benefits of exfoliation

  • Removal of dead skin
  • Make your lips smooth and beautiful, even while wearing lipstick.
  • Evens out lip color
  • Helps moisten your lips and prevents dehydration of lips
diy lip exfoliator - homemade scrubs for chapped dry lips
image credit: Photo by SUN STUDIO CREATIVE

DIY Lip Exfoliator - Homemade scrubs

1) First you have to choose a lubricant or an emollient like an oil or balm.  

Lubricant or emollient ingredient options:

  • Oils (Coconut, jojoba, olive)
  • honey
  • lip balm
  • shea butter

2) Next you have to choose an exfoliator, something that will help scrub your skin.

Exfoliating ingredient options:

  • sugar (white or brown)
  • ground coffee
  • cinnamon
  • towel
  • toothbrush
  • store-bought exfoliating tool

You can create your own diy lip exfoliators by combining any lubricant and exfoliator above. I’ve personally used make my own diy sugar lip scrub using sugar and coconut oil and it works wonders on my lips!

Luckily the majority of these are ingredients are usually easy to find in your home already like sugar or oil and even towels and toothbrushes. Making your own lip scrub will be easy-peasy. Literally just pick one ingredient from both of the lists above and make a scrub 1 part emollient and 1 part exfoliator.

Just in case you need ideas - here are a couple of recipes:

Coconut oil and Sugar Lip Scrub

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp sugar (any kind works!)

-- Mix in a bowl.

Cinnamon and Honey Lip Scrub

1 teaspoon of honey

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

-- Mix in a bowl.

NOTE: If all you have is lip balm, you can still exfoliate your lips - just apply some balm to a toothbrush, towel or another exfoliating tool and scrub your lips in a circular motion to exfoliate.
Lip Exfoliating scrub DIY
image credit: Photo by Ashley Piszek

General Steps on How to Exfoliate Lips:

1) First make sure your lips are clean and don’t have any lip gloss or lipstick on them.

2) Next exfoliate using either a store bought lip exfoliator or a homemade exfoliator (a couple of recipes are listed above). Coat the lips, and gently scrub in a circular motion around the lips with your fingers, a toothbrush or a towel.

3) After you’ve scrubbed for a few minutes, you can wipe off your lips to remove any leftover scrub, or rinse with water and dry completely.

4) Your last step is to make sure to moisturize and re-hydrate your lips with lip balm.

Notes on lip exfoliation:

  • Exfoliate 1-3 times a week.
  • Be gentle when exfoliating, don’t scrub to hard as the skin on your lips is sensitive and thin, so be cautious and don’t over-do it.
  • Do it at night before bed for best results - don’t forget to apply lip balm after scrubbing.
  • If you notice you’re causing more irritation than helping your lips, then stop doing it. It could be that what you’re using is causing you issues, so try something else instead. Or it could be you're scrubbing too hard, go softer next time.
how to exfoliate lips simple diy guide
image credit: Photo by Fredrik Ivansson


And that's it, that's how to exfoliate lips and all the other good stuff! This article went through the causes of dry lips, what to use for dry lips, how to heal dry lips, how to prevent cracked lips, how to exfoliate lips, a diy sugar lip scrub and a couple other lip exfoliator options to help get rid of dead skin on lips. I truly hope you find relief from dry lips and will continue to exfoliate your lips regularly for the smoothest lips possible!