Nipple Cream Is the French Girl’s Secret to Soft, Supple Lips

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Every night, I like to turn my brain into a melting pile of goop by scrolling through TikTok for a minimum of one hour. Normally, I excuse this behavior because so much of my feed is beauty-related, and I write it off as “working.” The latest video to get me to stop my doom scrolling was a TikTok of a girl using nipple cream on her lips, and from there, I saw countless videos of people reporting it to be just as good (and cheaper!) than the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask—one of my beauty staples. This isn’t just a TikTok trend, either—French women have been using homeoplasmine, a nipple cream found in French pharmacies (and now on Amazon!), to soothe dry lips for years.

For those with extremely chapped lips due to weather or medications like Accutane, nipple cream might be a lifesaver. But before you waltz into your local drugstore and head to the baby aisle, we asked a cosmetic chemist and a dermatologist about this trend and whether or not it is safe to use nipple cream on your lips in lieu of a traditional lip mask. Keep reading to learn whether this chapped lip hack is right for you.

What is nipple cream typically made of?

Nipple creams were originally designed to prevent and protect from chafing, irritation, and cracking, often caused by nursing. They are often formulated with occlusive ingredients such as petroleum, paraffin, mineral oil, beeswax, or lanolin, explains cosmetic chemist Charlene Valledor. The key element in these creams is lanolin, which serves as an emollient and can help soften and soothe the skin, according to New York-based dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick. “Nipple creams may also contain other ingredients like occlusives, which help to lock moisture in and provide a protective barrier for the skin,” she claims. In more extreme cases, some people may require a prescription nipple cream, which incorporates topical steroids and antifungal ingredients.

Is it safe for use on the lips?

“Depending on the formulation, nipple balms may also be used on the lips, although certain textures may not be ideal for the lip area,” says Valledor. While they are proven to be moisturizing, review the ingredients, as they are not intended for use on the lips and are meant for use on the nipples. “It is best to avoid any nipple creams that contain steroids or antifungal ingredients on the lips unless otherwise directed,” warns Dr. Garshick.

Additionally, there are various nipple creams on the market, so it’s hard to say that they are categorically good for the lips. One of the most popular brands is made from 100 percent lanolin, which can cause allergic contact dermatitis, leading to dryness, redness, and sensitivity of the lips. “There are countless formulations of nipple creams, so it’s best to evaluate the ingredients and do a patch test before applying to the lips,” says Valledor.

What should you do if you have super dry lips?

For super dry lips, Dr. Garshick suggests thick petrolatum-based ointments, which help lock moisture in. “It is best to avoid common irritants and allergens like fragrance, menthol, eucalyptus, and lanolin,” she says.

“My favorite salve for extremely dry and cracked lips is Aquaphor, which forms an effective semi-occlusive barrier. Unlike pure petroleum, it allows oxygen to pass through, which can support and even accelerate the healing process,” says Valledor.

Other tips include staying adequately hydrated and sleeping with a humidifier during the cold months when your heater is on blast. If your lips are chronically dry and cracked for weeks on end, it might be best to see a doctor to rule out any other factors causing your dry lips.

What ingredients are best for extra dry lips?

“Extra dry lips can benefit from petrolatum, which serves as an occlusive to help lock moisture in, as well as humectants like hyaluronic acid, which help to draw moisture in,” shares Dr. Garshick. Shea butter is another good choice since it serves as an emollient to soften and soothe the lips.

“You want to form a breathable layer to protect dry lips and avoid any further irritation from ingredients like fragrance or menthol, which might feel good at first but can also cause further drying and irritation,” explains Valledor.

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