What to Do if Your Lips Are So Dry That Your Lip Balm Stops Working

If there was a contest for the world's flakiest lips, I would win. My lips crinkle up at just the thought of turning the central heating on, and don’t even get me started on how this cold weather is completely ravaging them. And while I’m rarely seen outside of the house without at least three lip balms on my person at all times, it might surprise you to hear that a buttery balm isn’t the product I have developed a full-blown dependence on. In fact, that title goes to its rather underrated cousin, the humble lip scrub.

Yep, my lips get so flaky that not even the richest lip balm can help. You see, when your lips start to go dry and flaky, the problem isn't just that they lack hydration—it's that your skin isn't working fast enough to shed the dead skin cells at its surface. In other words, cell turnover is at an all-time low, and you're left with dull, flaky skin just clinging on for dear life.

This is where lip scrub comes in. The best lip scrubs are grainy little pots or sticks of balm speckled in exfoliating particles, which are more often than not sugar granules. A quick rub with the fingertips and the scrub sets to work on those peeling layers of skin, dislodging any dead skin cells and boosting circulation, which has the added benefit of making lips look fuller.

As most lip scrubs are built on a base of oils and butters, they nourish lips in the process too—and as there's no dull, lifeless skin masking the epidermis, it has a much easier job injecting that hydration back into lips. Try using one pre-lipstick and you'll soon see what a difference it makes. Having been disappointed by so many lip scrubs that lack any real oomph, I've made it my lifelong mission to uncover the ones that really make a difference.