Skin Sins: I SPF’d Head to Toe… But Forgot About My Lips

Sunburnt Lips

Prevention is key. Keep your pout protected!

I’m a lip junkie – ex-lipstick hoarder, current gloss lover (it’s just a summertime fling, really) and bona fide lip balm collector. At any given point in time I’ll be armed with at least one balm; catch me with a large bag and I guarantee I’m housing more than two balms. Let’s not try to count the number sitting around at home. Two at my bedside table, one at my desk, another on my bookshelf…

And yet I somehow managed to forget every last lip balm for a beach trip. (Actually, I had one with me, but it was immediately rendered useless because it was without SPF.) I’ll have you know that it was 90-something degree weather that day with nary a cloud in sight.

I left the house, bikini on, hair tucked into one of those retro 70s hair wraps*, SPF’d head to toe… but forgot about my lips.


Needless to say I went through four hours of constant lip licking, lip smacking and all-around lip pain. Sunburnt lips are serious business! When those puckers are burnt, they’re scorched. We’re talking blisters, cracking, peeling, swelling, redness – the whole nine yards and a little more. Everyday activities like talking, eating and brushing your teeth (oh, how it burns!) turn a little painful.

I now have a little freckle in the center of my lip as a souvenir. (Good times.)

My pain is your gain. Protect your lips: they need SPF protection too! They’re actually more susceptible to sun damage than you think. The skin on your lips is super thin; on top of that, it contains far less melanin (the skin pigment responsible for protecting against the sun) than the rest of your skin. Keep your lips moisturized at all times with a lip balm with an SPF of at least 15. I’m currently toting around the Eye & Lip Sunscreen SPF 15 that’s packed with antioxidant emollients.

Should you be a victim of sunburnt lips, however, slather your lips with a balm packed with soothing and cooling ingredients Aloe, Vitamin E, and/or Shea Butter. (Avoid anything containing petroleum or benzocaine as they will only trap heat and aggravate the problem.) Apply a cold compress to help soothe and reduce the swelling. Don’t lick, pick or peel; just leave your lips be.

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* UV rays damage hair too! Avoid using metal clips in your hair, and always tote around a big floppy hat to protect your locks.

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