At this point you probably know you’re supposed to slather yourself in sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every time you’re having fun in the sun. But there’s another style of sunscreen you should use as well: lip sunscreen.
“The lips are perhaps the most at-risk part of the face for UV damage because they are exposed to the sun and rarely protected the way that they should be,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Dermatology at Mount Sinai hospital in NYC. “Just like for the skin on your face, you should apply a sunscreen to your lips. The lower lip is especially at risk because it faces upwards, toward the sun. Additionally, men are not in the habit of applying lip products as much as women are by the very nature that women tend to wear lipsticks on a regular basis and most men do not.”
Since lips often go sans sunscreen, Dr. Zeichner has seen a rise in skin cancer of the lips among men. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution at hand.
How Do You Protect Your Lips from Sunburn and Skin Cancer?
To make it easier to protect your pucker, it’s best to use a lip balm with SPF, since slathering your mouth in sunscreen doesn’t sound that appealing — or effective. “Lip products are specifically designed with ingredients like wax that allow them to stay in place once they have been applied,” Dr. Zeichner says. “Especially with lip licking and eating, the lips are constantly exposed to environmental factors that can remove anything applied to them.”
When looking for the best lip sunscreen, choose a product that has at least SPF 15 protection. “An SPF 30 product does an even better job and is ideal,” Dr. Zeichner says. “Just like your face, lip sunscreen products should be reapplied no less than every two hours. I also recommend reapplying after eating or kissing.”
Another place where men commonly forget to apply sunscreen is the scalp, making it another high-risk area for sun damage. “Besides helping to keep our bodies warm, hair forms a physical barrier to protect the scalp from the sun,” Dr. Zeichner says. “When the hair thins, the scalp becomes more at risk for UV damage. Plus, the part of the hair is always at risk, even in people with full heads of hair.” He recommends using Sun Bum’s SPF 30 Scalp & Hair Mist to protect that vulnerable skin. (Dr. Zeichner is a partner of Sun Bum.)
“If you see a new or changing spot on your lip, scalp or elsewhere on the body, don’t wait. Visit a board certified dermatologist for evaluation, as early detection can mean a complete cure.”
Keep your lips safe from the sun with the best lip sunscreens and lip balms with SPF protection.
1. Sun Bum SPF 30 Lip Balm in Mango
The delicious mango flavor will instantly transport you to a tropical vacation. But it does a lot more than taste good. This lip sunscreen from Sun Bum has aloe and vitamin E to keep lips moisturized and smooth while protecting them. Plus, the formula is hypoallergenic as well as gluten-, cruelty- and paraben-free.
2. Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25
Your lips will be safe from the wind and the sun with this anti-chapping hard worker that offers broad-spectrum protection. There’s green tea, vitamin E and natural emollients to soothe and nourish dry and irritated lips.
3. COOLA Organic Liplux Sport Lip Balm Sunscreen
If you’re all about organic, you can rest assured that Coola is free of icky ingredients. Besides delivering broad spectrum protection, this lip sunscreen also has natural fruit butters to pamper your pucker, along with vitamins and antioxidants. And with an SPF of 30, you can rest assured your lips will be well protected throughout the day.
4. Vanicream Lip Protectant Sunscreen SPF 30
If you have sensitive skin, this is the sunscreen lip balm for you. It doesn’t contain any chemical sunscreens, dyes, fragrance, parabens, formaldehyde, flavoring, oil or gluten, which can often trigger irritation. It’ll safeguard your lips in all kinds of weather, from dry, windy winters to hot summer days, since it’s even water resistant for up to 80 minutes.
5. Supergoop! PLAY Lip Balm SPF 30 with Acai
Having cornered the cool SPF market, no one does sun protection quite like Supergoop! and their lip sunscreen is no exception. To keep moisture on lockdown, the formula boasts shea butter as well as antioxidant-packed acai to nurture the sensitive skin on lips.
6. Cotz Lip Balm SPF 45
If you’re jumping on the mineral sunscreen bandwagon, you’ll want to add this lip balm to your arsenal; it’s completely free of chemical sunscreen filters. With a high SPF of 45, it’ll keep your lips extra safe. The formula goes on super smooth and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. If you’re particularly sensitive to the sun, we highly recommend this option as it has the highest SPF rating on our list.
7. Banana Boat Sunscreen Lip Balm
Banana Boat is a classic for a reason — it’s been protecting our skin from the sun since before we can even remember. This lip balm offers broad-spectrum coverage from both UVA and UVB rays and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It has the seal of approval from the Skin Cancer Foundation as well, so you can wear it confidently.