Forms Download our Forms Emergency Dental Emergency Welcome Review Us Review Us on Google Like Us Like Us on Facebook Follow Us Follow Us on Instagram Request Book an Appointment Call Call US Map View Map

Sun-Kissed Safety: Your Guide to Shielding Your Lips from Summer Rays

July 18, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — woodsidedental @ 3:04 pm

Take a moment, close your eyes, and picture what you think of when you hear the word “summer.” Chances are, you’re thinking of the heat, the sun, the pool, and the grill—not necessarily in that order.

What probably didn’t come to mind was your lips. Don’t worry, that wasn’t a test, but it does go to show that sun protection might be the last thing on your mind when you’re thinking about enjoying all that the season has to offer.

If you’ve been neglecting your skin in the sun, especially around your mouth, you could be inviting a host of UV-related problems for your oral health. If that surprises you, read on to learn how to protect your lips and avoid damaging your smile in the sun, and remember that your dentist can guide you through any treatment you may require.

Your Lips Are Thinner Than You Think

You might think that the skin of your lips is pretty thick. After all, when you look in the mirror, it’s one of the most prominent features on your face. However, the first few outer layers are very sensitive and thin, making them vulnerable to damage.

If you think about complete oral health, it starts at your lips. They are your first line of defense against harmful substances entering your mouth, so it’s important to keep them in top shape!

Sunscreen for Lips?

So should you just slather your mouth with sunscreen? Not exactly. While you can use sunscreen on your lips in a pinch, it may be unpleasant due to its taste and smell (but who doesn’t like the smell of sunscreen during summer?).

Instead, go with lip balm. Most brands like ChapStick and Blistex have adequate SPF (around 15 – 30) to keep your lips happy if you’re planning a day out to do errands. However, if you’re going to be exposed to full sun for a while, you may want to go with Supergoop or Coppertone. Both brands specialize in higher SPF products. Don’t forget to reapply every couple of hours, especially if you’re swimming or eating.

I Forgot Lip Balm, What Happens to My Lips Now?

Ouch. Without lip balm, your lips are going to absorb all the UV rays from the sun—especially your bottom lip due to its shape and angle. If you’ve ever had a sunburn on your body, you know how tender, itchy, and painful it can be.

When your lips are sunburnt, it can be even more irritating. Immediately, they’ll get red and swollen. Tenderness follows, and the thin outer layer of skin might begin to develop blisters filled with fluid. If you continue to neglect protection long enough, you can also increase your risk for skin cancer.

How Can I Treat My Sunburnt Lips?

If your lips become burnt despite your best efforts, there are a few things you can do. First, you’ll need to cool them down with a cold compress like a cooling gel pack or ice wrapped in a cloth. The excess heat trapped in the skin is what is causing the most irritation.

Next, you’ll want to moisturize and protect the skin. 100% aloe vera works best for this, but you can use any moisturizer you have on hand as long as it is water-based. Oil-based moisturizers will trap the heat. Continue to treat your sunburn, and you should see it improve within 3-5 days.

Now that you have all the tools you need to have fun in the sun, make sure to extend your outdoor protection regimen to your lips. Taking care of that delicate skin will lead to a happier, more enjoyable summer!

About the Practice

At Woodside Dental Care, Dr. Derek Cornetta and Dr. Aliza Hanif believe in providing compassionate and comprehensive care to their patients. Dr. Cornetta holds a Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry, a prestigious title that only 6% of general dentists ever receive. Dr. Hanif is a CUP AHEC Scholar, demonstrating her commitment to patient safety, leadership, and interpersonal communication. Together, these two distinguished dentists provide empathetic and memorable experiences to all of their patients. To schedule an appointment, visit their website here or call (508) 644-5200 and see what sets Woodside Dental Care apart.