Lip protection: The Importance of Using Sunscreen

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applying lip balm

As summer approaches, we start spending more and more time outside.

Now that we’re culturally aware of UV rays and skin cancer, you probably make sure you have plenty of sunscreen when you spend the day outside.

But how much do you think about what the sun can do to your lips?

The Sun and Your Lips

So, how much can exposure to UV rays hurt your lips, and how much of a problem is it?

Take this quote from Medical Daily:

“According to a study conducted at the University Of Texas Medical Branch Department Of Dermatology, researchers evaluated the use of ultraviolet light (UVL) lip protection and knowledge about the role of UVL as a risk factor for lip cancer in an outdoor environment — the beach. Of the 299 survey responders, only 37 percent those who applied sunscreen properly on their skin also used lip protection. While the survey responders knew UV damaged their skin, many were unaware that sun exposure could lead to lip cancer.

Lips have no melanin, which makes them more susceptible to sun damage cause by UV exposure. Signs of sun damage on the lips develop overtime as a result of excessive sun exposure over the years. The sun’s UV rays can impact the production of collagen on your lips which can result in the formation of wrinkles on and around the area as a sign of early aging and sun damage says Mayo Clinic.”

If you have time, I encourage you to read the full article. It cites many important studies from the Mayo Clinic and other reputable sources.

According to that research, most people do not factor lip protection into their outdoor activities. And to top it all off, our lips are even more susceptible to UV damage than the rest of our skin!

Clearly, we all need to be better at protecting ourselves.

The Right Lip Balm

So, which lip balms are SPF rated? EWG has an excellent list, segmented by brand. You should be able to find something that’s agreeable for every member of your family.

We offer complimentary lip balm at our practice, just because we believe that sunscreen for your lips is 100% necessary in the summer.

If you’re one of our patients, stop by the next time you’re out and about, and we’ll make sure you get some.

Or, pick some up during your next appointment.

Have a safe and fun summer!

~Dr. Marea White