What Is a Lip Serum and Do You Really Need One?
Dry, chapped lips are uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. While we have piles of lip balms, lip scrubs and lip masks to help keep our lips moisturized, we are admittedly new to the lip serum game. Recently we’ve wondered if we should be adding them to our routines. To help us figure it out, we tapped NYC-based board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Hadley King, and Josie Holmes, esthetician at Skinney Medspa.
What are the skin-care benefits of a lip serum?
According to Dr. King, lip serums, like facial serums, are designed to provide efficacious ingredients to help improve the appearance of your skin. Some serums combine hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin to help with dryness, peptides for boosting collagen and retinol to help with the appearance of dark spots and fine lines. For example, the SkinCeuticals Antioxidant Lip Repair is formulated with antioxidants to fight the signs of environmental damage while the Fresh Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy is formulated with acmella flower extract to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
What’s the difference between a lip serum and lip balm?
Think of a lip balm as the equivalent to a facial moisturizer. “It may contain humectants for hydration and it should also contain emollients and occlusives to help seal in moisture,” says Dr. King. Holmes adds that the majority of lip balms are designed to create a protective barrier on your lips to prevent transepidermal water loss whereas lip serums are designed to provide deep replenishing moisture.
Do you really need a lip serum?
Lip serums are great to use if you notice you’re using lip scrubs and masks and aren’t seeing a noticeable difference in moisture, says Holmes. “The serums are very effective as the hydrating ingredients penetrate deeper into your skin’s surface.” Dr. King adds, “if you like the benefits of using a serum for your face, then it's reasonable to consider those benefits for your lips as well.” She also says that because many of the ingredients for lip serums and balms overlap, you can use them together or find multi-purpose products, like the Maybelline New York Lip Lifter Gloss, which is made with hydrating hyaluronic acid while providing lips with a fuller and lifted appearance with a high shine gloss.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn