Goodbye Lip Plumpers—This Summer is About Healthy and Hydrated Lips

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It's the smaller parts of our bodies that we tend to forget to care for during the summer months—like the eyelids, elbows, or lips. In addition to using sunscreen to protect our skin from harmful UV rays, it's essential to keep all parts of our body (both inside and out) ultra hydrated, by drinking water and using moisturizer. But how do we keep the most sensitive parts of our skin, like our lips, safe from the summer heat? Here, Whitney Bowe, MD, shares her tips on keeping your lips feeling healthy and looking luscious this summer.

  1. Stay away from products with plumping agents. We all know today’s trend is plump lips, but ingredients like menthol and camphor sting⁠—a telltale sign you’re having a reaction to it. Additionally, products like these do not contain nourishing ingredients to lock in moisture so can cause drying of the lips. 
  2. Instead, seek out nourishing ingredients to provide immediate relief from dryness and long-term moisture. Shea butter is the fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree, which grows naturally in West Africa. It’s a key hydrator but also has proven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and it is rich in Vitamin E, which helps protect against environmental stressors. Bowe loves lip balms that are made with shea butter and have been shown through testing to lock hydration and moisture into your lips, like the Eos Pure and Free Lip Balm.
  3. Stop licking your lips! Our skin has a thick stratum corneum to keep it protected, but our lips do not, so they are more prone to dryness and irritation. If you lick your lips, you are going to experience even more chapped irritation—it’s a vicious cycle because your saliva evaporates and causes you to keep licking to avoid the drying sensation. Saliva also breaks down the delicate tissues and compromises the barrier. Think about what happens when you put a saltine cracker in your mouth. Even without chewing, it will become soft. That’s the saliva in your mouth slowly digesting the cracker into its building blocks. You don’t want saliva to eat away at your lips, so try not to lick your lips!
  4. Apply lip balm after eating or drinking to lock in moisture. Also apply it right before bed. If you sleep with your mouth open, you are going to dry your lips out even more, so I recommend that my patients apply a bit of lip balm right before bed. Apply your balm just outside the borders of your lip line as well because it’s the outer perimeter of your lips that is often chapped. Another tip is to try to avoid those matte, or long lasting lip stains. Those tend to be very drying. If you do use them, make sure to prime the lips first with a hydrating balm!


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