The smiles doesn’t just consist of your teeth and gums; your lips are also an important part of the equation. During the summer months, you need to be particularly mindful of how often your lips are exposed to the sun, as they’re particularly vulnerable to UV rays compared to the rest of your skin. Keep reading to learn more about how to protect your lips from the sun and why it’s so important to do so.
Why Do My Lips Need Extra Sun Protection?
The layer of skin on the lips is much thinner than it is on the rest of the body, and it contains less melanin. Both of these factors mean that the lips can’t protect themselves from the sun very well. Naturally, that can lead to a sunburn, but it can also put you at risk for skin or oral cancer. In other words, not taking care of your lips when you spend a lot of time outside can lead to potentially painful and life-threatening consequences.
Moreover, if your lips become sunburned, then brushing and flossing are going to become much more uncomfortable tasks, and oral cancer can have a serious impact on your overall oral health.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Lips?
The best answer is to invest in an SPF lip balm. Many such products have an SPF of 15, but ideally you should look for an SPF of 30. The American Cancer Society has found that SPF 30 blocks 97% of harmful UV rays while SPF 15 only blocks 93%. That might not seem like much of a difference on paper, but when it comes to the effects of the sun’s radiation on your skin, that extra bit of protection could end up being vital.
You should reapply your protective lip balm every 2 hours. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water as well – at least 8 glasses a day. You don’t want to become dehydrated or for your lips to dry out because you spent too much time outside on a hot or sunny day.
What if Your Lips Become Sunburned?
In the event that your lips are sunburned, you can try to find relief by dipping a washcloth in ice water and applying it to your lips. Petroleum-free moisturizers can also help. You might want to take anti-inflammatory medications as well. See a doctor if your sunburn doesn’t go away after 3 to 5 days.
It’s important to protect your lips not just during the summer but throughout the entire year. During your next checkup, talk to your dentist about how your lips relate to your oral health and what you can do to take better care of them on a daily basis.
About the Practice
Here at Bethel Dental, we follow an oral healthcare formula of providing state-of-the-art, fully personalized treatments along with the best customer service possible. We strive to offer a truly comprehensive dental experience, which is why we offer an oral cancer screening at every checkup. To schedule an appointment with us, visit our website today.