Dermatologist Shereene Idriss Explains Chemical Versus Physical Exfoliants for Lips — See Video


We never thought that we’d say that a deliciously flaky croissant could double as an effective skin-care demonstration tool, but here we are. In the latest installment of Allure‘s Skinfluencer video series, board-certified dermatologist Shereene Idress, MD, busts out her afternoon snack as a means to explain the difference between chemical and physical exfoliants — yes, there is a difference — when it comes to treating dry or cracked lips. 

You already know that exfoliation can help slough away dead skin cells to keep things smooth and bright on the surface, but did you know there are multiple ways to do that? Mhmm. There are physical exfoliants such as granular scrubs, and chemical ones such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which you often find in toners. How do you pick which to choose? That’s where the croissant — which Idriss says represents the lips — comes in. 

“If you take a physical scrub and you try to smooth out the surface, you’re just breaking up the various layers of the croissant,” she explains while rubbing the rough side of a kitchen sponge against the top of the pastry. “The same way you would your lips.”

Chemical exfoliants, on the other hand, penetrate the lips at a deeper level and exfoliate evenly without disturbing the skin barrier the same way a scrub can. That’s why, Dr. Idriss concludes, chemical exfoliants are the superior ones to use when treating lips that just can’t take it anymore. 

You can watch the video above to learn more about exfoliation for the lips — otherwise, you can take a peek through a list of some of our favorite lip masks and treatments to tide you over. 





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