Why You Shouldn't Skip Your Lips When Putting On SPF, And How Often To Reapply

With warmer days on the way, everyone's looking forward to getting outside and enjoying the extra sunshine. Whether sipping your favorite drink at the beach or biking around your city, it's always good to get your body the vitamin D needed to thrive. Sunlight is the best way to get that all-too-vital nutrient. 

Even though it's beneficial for you to get enough sunshine every day, you should also keep in mind that too much sun could damage your skin and lead to skin cancer. Most people use SPF on their faces and arms to protect against damaging UV rays, but how many of us think to put some on our lips? They're usually left as an afterthought, and sometimes not even that when it comes to sun protection. We shouldn't forget to protect our lips when heading out for a day in the sun. They're actually the part of our body that deserve the most protection, and it's because of how they're built.

Why your lips need SPF

Like the rest of our body, our lips are also prone to sun damage. They can suffer from the harmful side effects of excessive exposure to UV rays. Although the lips are often overlooked when applying SPF, they deserve even more attention than other body parts.

Dr. Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic, explained to Good Housekeeping that the lips have the thinnest skin on the body and are thus more prone to damage caused by UVA and UVB rays. "Unprotected exposure to UVA rays can lead to premature skin aging and wrinkling (photoaging) and suppression of the immune system," Mahto clarified.Lips also lack much melanin, which is the body's natural sun protectant. For the best protection of your lips, try using a moisturizer with your SPF. Lips get dry and chapped very easily, so using a moisturizer in combination with SPF will give you better results.

How often to reapply SPF to your lips

One of the problems that many people face when wearing sun protectants is that they can rub off as the day goes on. You can put SPF on your skin before a jog; before you know it, you've sweated it off within minutes. You may not even realize it, and then you spend the rest of your jog running without sun protection. This could put your skin's health in jeopardy. Since your lips are sensitive to sun damage, knowing when to reapply for optimal protection is crucial.

Board-certified dermatologist Diane Madfes, M.D. listed two core rules to Real Simple for ensuring your lip's sun protection lasts throughout the day. First, if you're spending time outdoors, you should reapply lip balms with SPF every two hours. Secondly, just like lipstick, reapply SPF to your lips after eating. Dr. Madfes also suggests using a lip balm with an SPF of at least 30 to ensure the best protection. This rule applies to other parts of your body as well.