Generally, Ciraldo recommends a regimen of once a week, working your way up to two or perhaps three sessions. It’s similar to how often you should exfoliate your face: Start weekly, then add in more if you can tolerate it.
Although, “You definitely don’t need to be exfoliating lips daily, as it can potentially dry out your lips,” Ciraldo adds, which—lo and behold—can lead to even more flakes and irritation. Again, the skin around your lips is much thinner—and therefore, more sensitive—than the other regions of your face (save for the eye area), so you definitely don’t want to overdo it. “Over-exfoliating your lips can lead to redness, swelling, sensitivity, or bleeding,” says Ciraldo. Um, ouch.
You should also take a peek at your skin care routine (really!) to make sure you’re not unintentionally over-exfoliating the lip areas—it’s easy for most products to transfer onto your lips, especially cleansers. So on the days you do exfoliate your pout, make sure you stick to a hydrating, gentle cleanser (Ciraldo is partial to this one with glycerin and chamomile) and try to avoid the area when massaging in your actives.