The Scary Truth About Lip Plumper Gloss

A plump, pouty set of lips is all the rage right now, and there are several options to achieve the look if you didn’t happen to be born that way. Many of us who would prefer to avoid filler injections or other surgical options feel like we might be making a safer choice by buying topical treatments instead, like lip plumper gloss. But what if our assumptions about these being safe and side-effect-free are false? Many lip plumpers have ingredients like ginger, cinnamon, wintergreen, capsaicin, or menthol, and while these all sound like super safe ingredients, most of which you can even eat, it turns out that your skin may not be as happy about them as you might imagine (via She Finds). 

These ingredients work to plump your lips by intentionally irritating the sensitive skin of your mouth. When your skin is irritated by something, your body rushes blood to that area to help heal what it perceives as an injury. While yes, this means your lips will look plumper, it’s because they’re swelling up in response to something your body really doesn’t like. If you use these plumpers regularly, this irritation can cause issues like rashes, peeling, or over-drying. Not a good look!  

How to plump your lips without irritation

If using a lip plumper gloss on the daily isn’t a great idea for your skin, what can you do instead to encourage a fuller, plumper pout? Board-certified dermatologist Michele Farber told She Finds that you should focus on hydrating your lips. While it may not give you the same instant results of an irritant, it is better for the health of your skin and is also a way to ensure plumper, healthier, younger-looking lips in the long term. Keeping your body well-hydrated is also very important (we all know how cracked and thin our lips look when we aren’t drinking enough water). 

Another great idea is to use nourishing lip masks. And when you feel you must reach for a gloss that claims it can plump your pout, opt for one that contains peptides, moisturizing oils, or even collagen, rather than the irritants in other types. Not sure where to start? Byrdie has compiled a handy-dandy list of its favorite glosses, and some options contain exactly the ingredients you want, like Maybelline New York Lip Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid and ILIA Balmy Gloss Tinted Lip Oil.  

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