Buffalo wings…they’re delicious, they remind us of lazy Sundays spent watching (or being subjected to watching) football and a familiar lip burning sensation caused by scarfing down our favorite spicy foods. In addition to inducing food comas, buffalo wings- specifically, the spices used to make buffalo sauce, also cause our lips to tingle, swell slightly and appear fuller. Cosmetic chemists responsible for formulating lip plumpers, it turns out, are one step ahead of the game.
How do lip plumpers work?
Hot peppers (labeled as capsaicin) are a common ingredient in lip plumpers because of their ability to cause vasodialation, or “increased blood circulation in the lips.” Vasodilation occurs when the walls of blood vessels relax and expand, causing the effected area to appear plumper and fuller. Cinnamon, menthol, niacin (vitamin B) and caffeine are all natural ingredients also frequently added to plumping formulas to stimulate blood flow for a swollen look that lasts. So, that tingle and burn you feel after downing a few too many wings? Just nature’s way of killing two birds with one stone: keeping your stomach full and your lips fuller.
How safe are these ingredients?
While all these ingredients have been tested for safety, be cautious if notable irritation occurs. Continuous use of lip plumpers can cause allergic dermatitis or dry, cracked, blistered lips. Many lip plumpers compensate for this irritation by including soothing ingredients like shea butter, sunflower oil and aloe vera in their formulas.
Not up for the potential side effects ingredients like cinnamon and hot peppers can have on the delicate skin on your lips? Try to look for products that contain hyaluronic acid; a compound used in lip fillers like Juvederm, Restylane and Restylane Silk. Like lip fillers used for lip injections and lip enhancement, topical lip plumpers that contain hyaluronic acid draw fluids into the area, creating long lasting fullness. Decreased appearance of fine lines in the lips and increased cell growth and rejuvenation are just a few other benefits provided by both topical and injection lip fillers. For a synergistic effect, look for products that combine both hyaluronic acid and natural vasodilators. For maximum lip fullness and skin health benefits, we recommend SkinMedica’s TNS lip plumper ($57).