The Game-Changing Skincare Ingredient You Should Be Using On Your Lips Too

As an avid skincare user, over time you grow more aware that skincare trends tend to revolve around certain ingredients rather than just the products. Sure, products will often go viral and the skincare world's wheels continue to turn. However, if you pay close attention you'll notice that every now and then a certain powerhouse ingredient will have its moment in the spotlight, and next thing you know every skincare brand is pitching their own product centered around it. 

In 2021, for example, it was all about CBD oil and a wide range of new products were released inspired by it, per Fraicheur. Whether a skincare ingredient suddenly goes viral or not is pretty much up to chance. After all, many of these ingredients have been around and been infused in our skincare for years. It's just a matter of who gets their moment, and when. 

Some fan favorite ingredients are even based off of something that's already a part of our skin. Take collagen, for example. It is the main protein found in our connective tissues and skin, and yet a few years ago collagen suddenly popped up as a viral supplement to take to help your skin, per Good Housekeeping. When it comes to thinking of trending skincare ingredients, especially those that are already a part of us, one buzz ingredient instantly comes to mind that stood the test of time: hyaluronic acid. But it turns out it's not just your skin that it works miracles for.

Here's how hyaluronic acid works

Hyaluronic acid is a molecule and naturally-occurring humectant — a moisture retainer — that can be found in your skin. Board-certified dermatologist Jennifer Chwalek explains to Mind Body Green, "It functions to retain water and keep our skin looking firm and youthful." As we age, our natural supply of hyaluronic acid decreases over time, similarly to collagen. Which is why the skincare market has found a way to apply hyaluronic acid topically via skincare products. 

The way that hyaluronic acid can work topically is best explained by dermatologist Dr. Rachel Nazarian: "Because of its ability to draw and hold water, it can be used as a humectant in your skincare regimen. It continually keeps skin moisturized throughout the day," per Harper's Bazaar. Using skincare that contains hyaluronic acid can help you achieve plumper skin due to how deeply hydrating and nourishing it is. Think of how well a moisturizer works, then multiply that by about 1,000– after all, hyaluronic acid holds 1,000 times its weight in water. 

Unfortunately, it's not as simple as just applying 100% pure hyaluronic acid and expecting it to hydrate your skin. Hyaluronic acid has to be formulated correctly and combined with the right ingredients for it to be able to penetrate your skin, per Harper's Bazaar. This becomes even more important when it comes to applying hyaluronic acid to your lips.

Hyaluronic acid can plump your lips without the sting

Plumping lip products have often seemed way too similar. They all sting, and they all leave your lips feeling a little raw after a few applications. But, what if there was a way to achieve that plumper lip look from within, rather than just using lip plumping glosses (and grinning and bearing it)? Enter hyaluronic acid. 

Hyaluronic acid has been used on lips for quite some time, only in a much more invasive way. Through lip injections, hyaluronic acid has commonly been used as a dermal filler to achieve fuller and plumper lips, per Healthline. But, if you skip the needles, you'll get a much less dramatic but still effective lip improvement. 

Lip care products that use hyaluronic acid work similarly to skincare products. They deeply hydrate your lips and achieve a natural plumping effect as the hyaluronic acid works to promote supple and healthier lips, per Apoth and Co. Since your lips have the thinnest skin on your body, they lose natural hydration the fastest and begin to form wrinkles. Applying hyaluronic acid to them topically can temporarily restore hydration to keep them plumper for longer.

Where to begin your hyaluronic lip journey

Dr. Rachel Nazarian emphasized to Harper's Bazaar how important it is to find the correctly formulated hyaluronic acid products in order to reap the benefits. If you're using the wrong product, the hyaluronic acid could be useless and you could be "Just putting it on top of the skin without it being helpful." Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist, shared her own insights on hyaluronic acid in lip products with "Today": "What hyaluronic acid does, because it's a humectant, is it draws moisture in," Dr. Garshick explains before adding, "But topically, while it's obviously not going to have the same effect that an injectable would, it [hyaluronic acid] does have great hydrating properties." 

The lip product market is filled with a vast variety of hyaluronic infused products, from lip balms and treatments to glosses and stains. A clean and simple option to start with that Dr. Garshick recommends is Biossance's Squalane+ Rose Vegan Lip Balm, which has it's own cult following. Reese Witherspoon has even raved about how instantly plumping Biossance's lip balm is as she shared, "I immediately felt and saw results the moment I applied the balm," per InStyle

If you're looking for something with a bit more pigmentation rather than just a treatment product, then try Dr. Garshick's recommendation of Charlotte Tilbury's Hyaluronic Happikiss Lipstick Balm. This is yet another fan favorite lip product that comes in 10 glossy shades and promises to "Leave lips looking plumper, smoother and more HYDRATED, whilst giving a happy glow to the lips," per Charlotte Tilbury.