Some lip plumpers work on the theory that if you irritate the sensitive skin of lips -- like a bee sting does -- they'll swell slightly. Ingredients such as cinnamon, wintergreen, forms of capsacin (the spicy chemical in chili peppers), caffeine, ginger and menthol will do just that. Niacin, either in a powder or liquid form, works by dilating blood vessels. To counter the stinging effects of a lip plumping ingredient, manufacturers add ingredients that will simultaneously soothe the lips.
If you really need to go the inexpensive route, type "lip plumpers" into your favorite search engine and you'll turn up many Web sites that tell you how to make your own plumping products. Soon you can be wearing an inexpensive, easy-to-make lip plumper. You might even have all the ingredients already. However, exercise caution -- lip plumpers that work by irritating the skin should be used with care. Used too often, they may cause lips to peel or even develop ulcers.
Other plumpers are meant to be used long-term to achieve results. They use palmitoyl oligopeptides as a way to trigger collagen and elastin fiber production in lips to make them plumper. Microspheres -- tiny molecules -- get their plumping power from moisture they absorb from the body. One type of microsphere is made of dehydrated marine collagen molecules -- in other words, dried fish.
Advertisers make some strong claims that lip plumpers can make a significant difference in the appearance of your lips. Read on to discover if shelling out for a commercial lip plumper will truly result in a prettier pucker.