A dermatologist has issued a warning about the importance of protecting lips with SPF, explaining how neglecting to wear appropriate products can lead to severe burns, and even skin cancer.
New York-based skin expert
But despite the danger of going without a lip SPF, Dr. Bowe said that many people still aren’t aware of the risks, noting: ‘It is very important to protect your lips from sun damage [but] lips are often neglected when it comes to sun protection.’
Warning: A dermatologist has cautioned sun lovers to protect their lips with SPF this summer, revealing how wearing lip gloss and normal balm can cause serious damage to the skin
She continued: ‘More and more people are becoming aware of the importance of sun protection in general.
‘Most of my patients will absolutely wear sunscreen and a hat, and are starting to incorporate UPF [ultraviolet protection factor] clothing and swimwear into the rotation, but lips are often neglected when it comes to sun protection.
‘Lips are often left out of the aging and sun safety conversation, so this is a topic that deserves more attention!’
Dr. Bowe also warned that wearing non-SPF lip products will not help to protect your pout – and could actually do even more damage to the skin than if it was left bare.
Expert: Dr. Whitney Bowe, from New York, explained that many of her patients neglect to use SPF lip balm, despite the risks
‘Few people realize that a shiny lip gloss can actually absorb sunlight and increase your risk of getting a burn on your lips,’ she said. ‘In contrast, SPF lip balms are more waxy and less reflective than your typical lip balm or gloss.
‘So, you might be increasing your risk of a sunburn on your lips without even realizing it if you wear a typical lip gloss or balm in the sun!’
Sunburn and the potential dangers that come from it are also not the only risks to going without SPF. Beyond health concerns, Dr. Bowe also warned that lips can age faster when they have a lot of ‘sun exposure and sun damage’.
‘Lips lose volume and definition over time, which is even more pronounced if you have a lot of sun exposure and sun damage,’ she said. ‘Protecting your pout with SPF lip balm is one way to keep your lips more full, defined, and youthful.’
When it comes to choosing and applying your lip SPF, Dr. Bowe favors a ‘more is more’ technique, revealing that she likes to apply the SPF balm to her lips directly, and then ‘rub it into the areas around her lips for added protection’.
‘The skin around your lips is delicate and is prone to wrinkling, so the more you can protect this area from sun damage, the better,’ she added.
It is also important to use a lip-specific product, rather than just using the same sunscreen that you put on the rest of your body, because those are likely to dry out your pout, while SPF lip balms ‘can be very hydrating’.
‘In addition, you are more likely to ingest products that you place on your lips, so you want to be mindful of the ingredients you place on your lips,’ she warned, before revealing: ‘One of my favorite hydrating lip balms with SPF is
And while you’re stocking up on SPF for your lips, there are other oft-neglected areas of the body that Dr. Bowe warned might need some extra attention this summer: the tops of the feet and the ears, which she says are areas where she sees ‘some of the worst burns’ because they are ‘often forgotten’.
‘Other spots people often miss is the delicate skin on their eyelids and around their brows, along their hairline, under the straps of their bathing suits, and on the back of their necks,’ she added.
Dr. Bowe advises her patients to ‘apply a shot glass full of sunscreen to their skin every two hours, or more frequently if they are swimming or sweating’, and she said that she encourages all of her clients ‘to think outside the sunscreen box when it comes to healthy summer skin’.
‘For example, I love UPF fabrics for summer,’ she revealed. ‘I find that UPF 50+ rashguards and swimsuits have been a game changer for my family because you don’t need any sunscreen underneath the fabric!
‘Also, nicotinamide is a vitamin that has been shown to decrease your skin of skin cancer! I use and recommend Heliocare Advanced, which protects against skin cancer and slows down signs of aging.’
Stock up on SPF for every part of the body, from your lips to your hair
Top it up: If you’re wearing makeup throughout the day, or if you just don’t want to worry about topping up your facial SPF with a liquid product during the day, try a powder SPF that you can brush on quickly and easily, such as the Brush On Block Translucent Mineral Powder Sunscreen (left,
Au naturel: If you are being extra vigilant about what ingredients and formulas you are putting on your body this summer, think about considering a mineral sunscreen, which essentially means it uses natural minerals as its active ingredients, rather than chemicals, like the Bare Republic Mineral SPF30 Whipped Mousse Sunscreen (left,
Don’t forget your lids: As Dr. Bowe pointed out, the eyelids are often one of the most forgotten places on the body when it comes to SPF. Thankfully, Supergoop has a solution in the form of its Shimmershade Set (
A little bit of everything: If you’re not sure what you might need this summer, try the Sephora Favorites Sun Safety Kit (
Bare necessities: A traditional cream sunscreen, and an oil that won’t cause harm to the skin are two essentials that most sun lovers can’t spend a hot day without. So make sure you stock up on the best offerings out there, like the CeraVe Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 for Body with Zinc Oxide (left,
R&R: Even if you protect your face with SPF, chances are it’s going to need a bit more TLC after spending long periods of time in the sun. So why not indulge with a mini at-home facial that can be made incredibly easy, and luxurious, with the help of the 111SKIN Summer Glow & Protect Set (
Cool down: Much like your face, your body may need some soothing after a day in the beaming bright sunshine, and it helps to have some cooling, calming products on-hand at home, just in case, like the C.O. Bigelow Mentha Vitamin Body Lotion (left,