Skin Secrets
A tan young woman with curly hair laughs while applying sunscreen to her face on the beach

You’re Probably Forgetting SPF On This Part Of Your Body

Here’s why you shouldn’t be.

mihailomilovanovic/E+/Getty Images

By now, you’ve had the importance of wearing an SPF regularly drilled into your head at every turn. Yes, that includes if you aren’t even in direct view of the sun, and yes, that also includes if you have a darker skin tone. However, even if you’re sure there’s nothing left for you to learn about SPF and sun care, there’s always more a ton of sun care knowledge to go around, including if an SPF is really necessary for your lips like it is for the rest of your skin. Don’t worry; I got you. Here’s the tea.

Here’s the short answer that you probably already figured is the case: It’s just as important to protect your lips with an SPF as you would the rest of your body. You’ll not only be fortifying a delicate part of your skin with more protection against the potential dangers of too much sun, like skin cancer, but you’ll also help prevent sunburn and signs of aging, which, yes, can occur on your lips. You certainly can use your usual sunscreen on your lips, but you might want to opt for one of the many targeted lip products on the market that contain SPF (and probably taste a little better). There are even tinted lip SPF products if you want to add a pop of color at the same time. But how do lip SPFs differ from your regular sunscreens — and which ones should you pick? Below, a dermatologist and skin health expert explain exactly why you should be adding SPF to your lips on a daily basis, and the products you can use to do it.

Why do the lips need sun protection?

“Many people use sunscreen on their face but may not apply SPF on their lips,” Dr. Katie Beleznay, MD, FRCPC, a dermatologist and clinical instructor in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Dermatology, tells Elite Daily. “It is important to remember that the sun can damage our lips, too, and sun exposure can lead to skin cancer of the lips.”

While no one would dismiss how juicy your lips may be, generally speaking, the skin on the lips is actually pretty thin. According to Dr. Beleznay, they may contain less melanin than other parts of the skin, making your lips undoubtedly susceptible to sun damage and the negative outcomes of it.

Are SPF lip products as effective as typical body SPFs?

Generally, yes, an SPF lip product will provide similar protection for your lips as, say, a similar body SPF. “Any product marketed with SPF will have undergone testing in order to make that claim, so an SPF 30 lip balm should provide the same degree of protection as an SPF 30 sunscreen, provided you are using a sufficient amount,” says Dr. Beleznay, noting that, as most lip SPF products contain SPF 30, you can always opt for a higher SPF with a traditional face product. Just remember to use enough SPF to really coat your lips.

Should you reapply SPF to your lips just as you would with your body?

“I would advise applying SPF to the lips as often, or more so, than you would reapply sunscreen on your face, since the layer of protection may be diminished when you eat, drink, wipe your mouth or lick your lips.” says Dr. Beleznay. This is another reason why opting for a lip-specific SPF product could make your life a little easier, since they’re typically compact and easy to take with you.

Will an SPF leave any residue on my lips?

“Whiteness or texture on the lips may be caused by dryness, so it’s always really important to keep your lips moisturized and hydrated with regular application of lip balm,” Dija Ayodele, esthetician, skin health expert, and founder of Black Skin Directory, tells Elite Daily. And if your lips are feeling rough, Ayodele suggests buffing off any dead skin “using a damp flannel in small circular motions to help keep lips exfoliated and smooth.”

What SPF lip products should I use?

We only include products that have been independently selected by Elite Daily's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Sugar Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 15
Fresh

If you fancy having a choice between a clear and colored SPF lip balm,Fresh Sugar Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 15 ($24, Fresh) has you covered with 12 gorgeous shades. The balm is formulated with nourishing oils like grapeseed oil to help seal in moisture. All the tinted shades can be swiped on once for a sheer hint of color or built up for a bolder pop of color.

$24
$22
Ultrasun Lip Protection SPF 30
SpaceNK

The Ultrasun Lip Protection SPF 30 ($10.50,Space NK) is a great affordable option and perfect to keep in your handbag for top-ups throughout the day,” says Ayodele. The lip SPF is also available in an SPF 50 version if you like a little more protection.

$10.50
Lipscreen SPF 50
Paula's Choice

Paula’s Choice Lipscreen SPF 50 ($10,Paula’s Choice) is a fragrance- and flavor-free balm that's the perfect choice for anyone with sensitive lips. The non-greasy pick helps to soothe dry, rough lips with a surge of hydration from the oils in its formula.

$10