We’ve all been there. Going about our day—summer, winter, or somewhere in between—and we realize we’ve forgotten our lip sunscreen. We applied our facial sunscreen and sun protection for our body. So we should be ok, right? Can lips even get sunburnt? As it turns out, sunburned lips are more common than you might think—not only are they frequently exposed to the sun, they’re even more sensitive to sun damage due to their thin skin. In this article, you’ll learn about the symptoms, treatments, and prevention of lip sunburns.
How can you tell if your lips are sunburned?
Between 2-5 hours after sun exposure, your lips will begin to show signs of sun damage. You may notice they start looking red, or start feeling irritated or dry. If you experience any heat radiating from your lips, that may be indicative of a mild sunburn.
If they have been SPF-free for a really long time, you may experience more severe sunburn symptoms like blisters, sensitivity, and even pain. And like the rest of the skin on your body, a few days after a sunburn, your skin will begin to peel. It may be unsettling, but it is actually a sign that your sunburned skin is beginning to heal.
How should you treat your lips if they are sunburnt?
For mildly sunburned skin, a cool compress can help alleviate some of the swelling and the heat. You may want to also use an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce inflammation. For added pain relief, reach for aloe vera gel (preferably chilled). Studies have shown aloe vera to be effective in healing mild burns, due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. On the other hand, steer clear of any lip products containing petrolatum, as this could aggravate the sunburn.
So, why do your lips seem to burn so easily?
Turns out your lips are more vulnerable to getting a sunburn than the rest of your skin. Why? The skin on your lips is thinner and more fragile than the skin on the rest of your body, making it more susceptible to the sun’s rays. Plus, it has less melanin, which is the pigment that helps protect against UV radiation. And your lips are always exposed to the sun when you are, making it extra important to limit UV exposure whenever possible, whether that be applying SPF lip balm, wearing a hat, or staying in the shade.
So what can you do to keep your lips healthy and sunburn-free?
Simply protect your lips—daily—with a lip sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Using SPF designed for lips is important because the skin on our lips is thinner and requires more moisturization and protection. SPF lip treatments are also designed to minimize any unpleasant taste from SPF. COOLA's lip and sun protection products use 100% natural flavors and contain organic Cupuacu Butter (rich in fatty acids which gives it rich moisturizing properties; it's also commonly known as a super-moisturizer) and Raspberry and Jojoba Seed Oils (which are rich in vitamins).
COOLA’s collection includes Classic Liplux Organic Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 30, which is a clear balm that provides UVA/UVB protection while hydrating and smoothing dry, chapped lips. There’s also a tinted version with the same nourishing SPF formula and a natural-looking, universal tint.
Want a tint with mineral SPF?
Check out Mineral Liplux Organic Tinted Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 30 in 4 fun shades—Firecracker, Summer Crush, Nude Beach, and Skinny Dip. Each SPF lip balm adds a hint of natural-looking tint while protecting your lips and keeping them healthy, plump, and youthful-looking.
Looking for something glossy instead?
You can also protect your lips with Classic Liplux Organic Hydrating Lip Oil Sunscreen SPF 30. Combining the benefits of a nourishing lip oil with a high-shine, glossy finish, this universally flattering formula is infused with Camellia and Jojoba Oils, Vitamin E, and a hint of golden hue. The result? Plump, hydrated lips with SPF 30 sun protection.
Regardless of which formula you choose, protecting your skin from UV radiation is essential to maintaining healthy skin and preventing future damage. Reapplying sunscreen throughout the day is crucial, from layering SPF under moisturizer in the morning to refreshing your skin with a broad-spectrum SPF hydration mist in the afternoon. Whether you're in need of a hydrating lip SPF, organic face sunscreen, or anything in between, find high-quality suncare products from COOLA.
National Library of Medicine. The efficacy of aloe vera used for burn wound healing: a systematic review.