Prevention posted "10 Best Lip Scrubs to Buy In 2022, According to a Dermatologist" featuring Dr. Purvisha Patel and Visha Skincare.
Since lips that go unexfoliated are more likely to dry out, Dr. Patel recommends gentle products with natural granules, like Visha Skincare Sugar Shrink Body Scrub.
Smooth and soften with these expert-approved exfoliators.
Zero: That’s how many oil glands your lips have, which is why you constantly feel like you're having to reapply your lip products. To help, exfoliator and lip balm are a pair just like shampoo and conditioner—one cleanses, the other conditions for a smooth, shiny finish.
When your lips are dry, the skin can crack and leave open fissures that can get easily irritated or even infected, explains Purvisha Patel, MD, a Tennessee-based dermatologist and founder Visha Skincare. “We are constantly moving our lips when talking and eating, so cracks can happen more easily in non-exfoliated skin,” she says. Alas, you need to exfoliate!
How to choose and use the best lip scrub or exfoliator
Read the label: Natural granules, like salt and sugar scrubs, can be gently used to buff away dry skin. However, Dr. Patel warns against artificial microbeads due to their environmental impact. In addition, “crushed shells such as walnut and apricot pits could actually cause more micro-tears on the lips, and therefore are not recommended.”
Ingredients like coconut oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, beeswax, lanolin (unless you’re vegan), and pure petrolatum help coat and protect exfoliated skin, she adds.
Use the right technique: “The muscles of your lips go around the mouth in a circular fashion, so lip exfoliation is usually done in a similar circular motion, following your pout and moving outward,” says Dr. Patel. “A back and forth motion can also be done when exfoliating the upper and lower lips separately.”
Using cold or warm water is fine, but stay away from super-hot temps. “Hot water causes vasodilation and increased circulation to the skin of the lips, which can lead to inflammation and swelling after exfoliation,” says Dr. Patel.
Follow with a balm: “Look for the above ingredients in lip balms to use after exfoliating,” says Dr. Patel. “I recommend the Neutrogena HydroBoost Lip Treatment since it has hyaluronic acid to help heal and hydrate lips.” She also suggests using a humidifier to help keep the air, and therefore your lips, moisturized.
Don’t overdo it: Like the skin on your face, you don’t want to over-exfoliate your lips. For best results, Dr. Patel recommends exfoliating your lips once a week, unless you’re in extreme weather (hot or cold), in which case using a lip scrub twice a week may be necessary.
Check out a few of Dr. Patel’s favorite lip scrubs and exfoliators below, as well as a few Prevention.com picks.
1 BEST OVERALL
Fresh Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator
This lip scrub contains simple ingredients but feels incredibly luxurious. Brown sugar crystals buff away any flakes or uneven texture, while jojoba oil and shea butter offer a dose of hydration. The result? Smoother, softer, plumper lips that feel just as great as they look.
2 BEST VALUE
e.l.f. Cosmetics Lip Exfoliator
Dr. Patel recommends this budget-friendly lip exfoliator because it’s infused with grapeseed, jojoba, and avocado oils, as well as shea butter for added nourishment. The best part? It’s so easy to use. Simply swipe it across the lips as you would a traditional lipstick and instantly feel the difference. We love the brown sugar option, but it’s also available in mint and cherry formulas.
3 RAVE REVIEWS
FENTY BEAUTY Pro Kiss’r Lip-Loving Scrubstick
Dr. Patel recommends this product due to its easy-to-use applicator. Simply swipe it over your lips as you would a lipstick for quick and gentle exfoliation. Because it’s packed with coconut oil, shea butter, jojoba oil, and vanilla extract, this sweet scrub does an excellent job moisturizing the lips, too.
4 Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Conditioning Lip Scrub
If you’re looking for an ultra-gentle exfoliator that leaves your lips feeling nourished, look no further. This lip scrub from Burt’s Bees works both ways: Exfoliate normally by massaging into the lips or leave it on as you sleep to condition lips overnight. Enriched with honey crystals, testers love the product’s ability to buff away dead skin without feeling too harsh. Plus, it smells great and costs less than $10.
5 Sara Happ The Lip Scrub
This luscious scrub contains a powerhouse trio: exfoliating sugar, a variety of oils, and petrolatum (an emollient that seals in moisture) to leave lips feeling smooth and soft. It’s also available in four delicious shades—coconut, pink grapefruit, sparkling peach, and vanilla bean to ensure a true pampering experience.
6 Dior Lip Sugar Scrub Sweet Exfoliating Balm
If you’re looking for a luxe lip scrub, you can’t go wrong with this option from Dior. It gently exfoliates, but also keeps the lips looking and feeling plump since it also acts as a moisturizing, tinted balm—a true 3-in-1 product. The rosy tone looks natural on any skin tone, and the slightly sweet scent is definitely an added bonus.
7 Visha Skincare Sugar Shrink Body Scrub
This do-it-all exfoliator comes straight from Dr. Patel’s own skin care line. Formulated with pure sugar cane crystals, avocado oil, and cold-pressed grapeseed oil, this scrub feels amazing on every part of your body—including your lips. Use it in the shower as an all-over exfoliator, or concentrate on your lips after your morning cleanse.
8 Bite Beauty Agave+ Weekly Lip Scrub
Massage this rich scrub onto your lips to cleanse, exfoliate, and hydrate all at the same time. Thanks to its unique combination of natural enzymes, sugar, and squalene, flakes will easily melt away without irritating the skin. Pair it with the Bite’s Agave Lip Mask (named one of our top lip balms!) for an extra dose of moisture.
9 Too Faced Peach Lip Scrub
“This product has a thick, rich formula that contains moisturizing oils, such as jojoba and coconut oil,” says Dr. Patel. This lip scrub offers some top-notch physical exfoliation as well, thanks to the addition of sugar. Oh, and you’ll basically want to eat it, because it smells like peaches and cream.
10 L’Occitane Delicious Lip Scrub
Soften chapped lips with this nourishing lip scrub from L’Occitane, which is rich in vitamins C and E, pomegranate extract, and pomelo oil. A little goes a long way, so take a small dab, apply to dry lips, and perfect your pout with an exfoliator that smells and looks just a great as it performs.