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Protect Your Lips with SPF

How important is it to have a sunscreen in your lip products? Very.

| August 20th, 2012
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Lip gloss fiends, it’s time to tweak your habit. While you’ve been habitually slathering on the stuff multiple times a day, without any SPF protection, that flick of your wrist significantly increases your risk of developing lip cancer.

Lips are already vulnerable because of regular, direct exposure to sunrays, and the lacquered lip trend only magnifies the hazard, says YouBeauty dermatology expert, Jeanine B. Downie, M.D., who says she has seen an uptick in skin cancer of the lip among women in her Montclair, N.J. practice.

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“Lip gloss absorbs rays much the same way baby oil does, and a thinning ozone and more intense sun rays are all combining to fuel an increase in lip cancer,” says Dr. Downie, who recommends wearing a lip balm containing a sunscreen underneath lip color, or choosing a shade with a built-in SPF. Steer clear of lip products that offer single digit sun protection (it isn’t sufficient), and opt instead for an SPF 15 or higher and make sure to reapply adequately and often to get the full benefit. 

What’s worse, a number of experts contend that loading up on lip gloss can actually intensify potential cancer-causing radiation. “The shiny reflective finish of lip gloss creates a mirror-like prism that strengthens sunrays like a magnifying glass,” explains Downie.

The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that 81 percent of lip cancers appear on the lower lip and one’s risk escalates with cumulative exposure.

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“Nine out of 10 people diagnosed with lip cancer are over the age of 45,” says New York cosmetic dentist Dr. Lana Rozenberg, D.D.S.

And cold sore sufferers should take note: If you’re prone to eruptions, wearing a sunscreen-infused balm will help control flare-ups, since sunburn is a prime sore trigger, according to Downie.

Check out some SPF lip picks that aren’t waxy or metallic-tasting, and wear comfortably alone or under another lip color.

 

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