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Is SPF Lip Balm Better?

May. 11, 2022

Similar to your face and body, your lips should be protected from the sun. SPF lip balm is a daily necessity to help protect your lips from skin cancer (melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma) as well as from signs of aging and dehydration. The lower lip in particular is "more susceptible" to UV damage (which can lead to skin cancer and aging) because it typically "protrudes more than the upper lip. In addition, "prolonged exposure to sunlight breaks down the collagen in the lips," making them look "dry, wrinkled and deflated.

Some common questions you may find yourself asking about keeping your lips safe in the sun are.

1. How do healthy lips affect my oral care?

Taking care of your mouth literally starts with your lips! Regular brushing and flossing won't be fun if your lips are sunburned, soft, or swollen. Worse yet, lip cancer can have a major impact on your oral health. Protecting your lips from the sun is an easy way to make sure your mouth stays happy and healthy.

Sunscreen Lip Balm

Sunscreen Lip Balm

2. Why do lips need protection from the sun?

Your lips are just as susceptible to solar radiation as any other part of your body, which means they are susceptible to skin cancer. Using a lip sunscreen that filters out harmful UVB rays can protect you from this often-overlooked cancer, in addition to providing much-needed sunburn protection.

3. How much SPF do my lips need?

Many sunscreen lip balms boast SPF 15, and some even reach SPF 30. According to the American Cancer Society, the difference is that SPF 15 filters about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 filters about 97%. When it comes to the amount of radiation reaching your skin, it's actually a huge difference. If you're going to be out in the full sun, such as at the beach or poolside, choose the higher SPF. 

4. Can I use sunscreen on my lips?

Yes! The best thing you can do for your lips is to use a moisturizing SPF lip balm and reapply every 2 hours or so. In addition to using lip sunscreen, exfoliate your lips to remove any dry, cracked, dry skin in case you pick. Also, remember to stay super hydrated - drink at least 8 cups of water a day, or even more if it's really hot or you're out in the sun.

5. What if I get sunburned lips?

Oops, did you forget to put on sunscreen, or did the sun just get the better of you this time? If your lips are redder than normal, soft to the touch, swollen, or have small white blisters (ouch!) ), your lips may be sunburned. To relieve the pressure, try dipping a soft washcloth into ice water and placing it on your lips. You can also use 100% aloe vera or other moisturizers to help heal, but avoid anything with petroleum. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can help relieve pain. Mild sunburns should last 3-5 days. If things don't get better, see your doctor!

Recall that regular use of SPF lip balm protects your lips from sunburn, and harmful cancer-causing radiation and can even prevent some of the lip wrinkles that come with exposure to the sun. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated in the heat, and treat any sunburn immediately. Now that you have the answers about keeping your lips healthy and protected, you can help friends and family do the same!

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