It feels like we’re always neglecting something when it comes to skincare. The neck immediately comes to mind (we definitely don’t pay as much attention to it as our face!), but so do the lips. Think about it: you likely have lots of creams and serums and overnight masks for your face, and yet your lips are often neglected. You probably also use SPF consistently on your face and body (we hope!), but what about your puckers? Most people don’t realize the importance of protecting the delicate lip area from sun damage. Luckily, this is easily rectified. All it takes is the right lip balm and lots of consistency!
Your Lips & Sun Damage
Lip skin is very thin, much thinner than the skin on your face, and it has very little melanin (the pigment that produces color). Melanin increases in the skin after sun exposure and helps protect it.
Lips are exposed to the sun regularly, but often without the benefit of SPF. Even if you use lip balm daily, it might not necessarily contain sun protection. Your lips can become sunburned just like any other area of your skin, and they can develop non-healing scaly patches called actinic keratosis. If left untreated, they can develop into something more damaging. Lips are also at risk for developing melanoma. (May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and skin cancer happens to be the most common type of cancer.)
The good news is that it is also the most preventable type, if caught early. We know all of this sounds a little scary, but don’t freak out. You can prevent these diseases and stay protected simply by using SPF on your lips.
How To Choose The Right Lip Balm
It’s important to use a lip balm with high SPF (at least SPF 15) and lots of hydrating ingredients. This way your lips will stay protected, moisturized and plump. Humectants and emollients are two top ingredients to look for in your lip balm. They help draw in moisture and then lock it in to keep lips hydrated (and fill in lip lines to give your lips a more contoured, defined and plumper look). Without an emollient like petrolatum or shea butter, the hydration and moisture will simply evaporate. Furthermore, avoid ingredients like camphor and menthol, which tend to have a drying effect. Lip glosses can attract UV rays so use them sparingly (or only during outings at night).
PREVENTION+ Daily Defense Lip Enhancer
Make this your new best friend! Image Skincare’s PREVENTION+ Daily Defense Lip Enhancer is a daily must-have that you should reapply often to make sure your lips are shielded from the sun’s UV rays. This lip balm offers broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection. Plumping marine college microspheres help enhance the appearance of lip fullness while a polypeptide complex helps reduce the appearance of fine lines that can make you look older. With regular use, lips also gradually become smoother and softer. The main active sunscreen ingredient in this lip balm is zinc oxide. All-mineral sunscreens like this lip balm have a variety of benefits, including offering immediate protection, being safe for sensitive skin types, and lasting longer in direct UV light. Reapply at least every two hours to make sure your lips stay safe.