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Did You Know that Your Lips Can Get Sunburned?


Even if you are diligent about wearing sunscreen daily, you may miss a few parts of the body that you didn't think could get burned. The one area we tend to forget wearing sunscreen is our lips.

Did you know that sunburn can occur anywhere on, even on lips? The skin on the lips is damaged by sunlight, leading to an uncomfortable sunburn that can blister or peel on your lips.

If you neglect sun protection to your lips, you definitely shouldn't. Here is what you need to know about caring for your lips to avoid sun damage during summer.


Lips, more sensitive, vulnerable

Without the proper sun protection, the delicate skin on our lips is susceptible to sunburn. Compared to the rest of the body, the lips are more vulnerable to sunburn because the skin is thinner and has less pigmentation.

Therefore, the sunburned lips can even be worse than other parts of sunburn on the body. Lips have almost no melanin to protect them from sunlight, leading to UV rays such as swelling and discomfort.

The lower lip is particularly fragile to UV rays compared to the upper lip. The upper lip is slightly protected by the nose and positioned somewhat downward, while the lower lip is exposed to a relatively higher level of sunlight. Consequently, it explains why 90% of lip cancers occur on the lower lip.

So, what are the sunburned lips?

It feels like right after eating something spicy, and your lips feel tingly, swollen, and painful. Sunburned lips are generally red and swollen and accompany various symptoms of dryness, inflammation, and scabbing. For more severe burns, blisters and cracks will form on the lips. The dead skin cells will shed and peel off while the lips heal.

The healing process in lips typically takes about one week but could last up to 2 weeks in severe cases. Having your lips sunburned repeatedly can cause discoloration, damaged cells, and even skin cancer or melanoma.   

How to Prevent Lips From Getting Sunburned

It is highly recommended to apply a lip balm containing the sun protection of SPF, at least 30 or higher, to ensure the safety of the lips. While the sunscreen is known to reapply every 2 hours, the SPF lip balm is recommended to use every hour or so since the lip balm can be easily rubbed off while eating and drinking. Moreover, it is necessary to use lip balm even during cloudy days and in winter since UV rays can penetrate clouds. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on your lips!

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