Kiss the sunburn goodbye: Know how to prevent and treat sunburned lips

Do you know that your lips can get sunburned too? It's true! Sunburned lips can be painful and uncomfortable, but fear not! We've got some tips to help you prevent and treat those sunburned lips.
Woman applying lip care product
Tips to prevent your lips from a sunburn. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Manasvi Jain Updated: 3 May 2023, 14:34 pm IST
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Attention all beach bums, sun worshippers and outdoor enthusiasts! Summer is here and it’s time to soak up the sun. But before you do that, let us talk about an important part of your summer beauty routine that often gets overlooked – your lips! Yes, you heard it right. Lips are often the unsung heroes of our beauty routine and are often forgotten when it comes to sun protection. While we slather our face and body with sunscreen, our lips are left defenseless against the harmful UV rays of the sun. But fear not as we are here with some tips on how to prevent and treat sunburned lips.

Sunburned lips may seem like something that doesn’t happen to you, but that’s not the case. Many people don’t even realize that lips can get sunburned and mistake it for chapped lips. But there is a difference between the two. Let’s explore how to differentiate between chapped lips and sunburned lips.

Chapped lips vs sunburned lips

“Chapped lips are usually a result of dehydration, harsh weather conditions or excessive licking of the lips. Sunburned lips are typically caused by unprotected exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can lead to pain, swelling, and peeling,” says Dr Sudheendra G Udbalker, Consultant Dermatology, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru.

Chapped lips are a common problem that occurs when the lips become dry and dehydrated. They can be caused by exposure to cold or dry air, as well as certain medications and medical conditions. Chapped lips can also lead to a condition called cheilitis, which is an inflammation of the lips.

Sunburned lips, on the other hand, are caused by exposure to UV rays from the sun. Its symptoms are redness, swelling, and pain. While chapped lips can be treated with moisturizing lip balm, sunburned lips require more specific treatment to alleviate the symptoms.

chapped lips vs sunburned lips
Know the difference between chapped lips and sunburned lips. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to prevent sunburned lips?

Preventing sunburned lips is the best way to avoid the discomfort and pain associated with this condition. Here are some tips to help you prevent sunburned lips:

1. Use a lip balm with SPF

Just the way you take care of your skin before stepping out in the sun, similarly your lips need that SPF care too. Look for a lip balm that contains a minimum SPF of 15, and apply it liberally to your lips before going outside. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) found that lip balms with SPF significantly increased the protection of the lips from UV radiation compared to non-SPF lip balms. Keep applying this lip balm every two hours or after swimming or sweating.

2. Wear a hat

A hat with a wide brim can help to shade your face and protect your lips from the sun. According to the study, wearing a hat with a brim of at least 3 inches can significantly reduce the amount of UV radiation that reaches the face and lips.

hat to protect your lips
Yes, sun damages the lips too, so wear a hat! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Seek shade

If possible, stay in the shade during the hottest parts of the day, usually from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. As this is the best way to prevent any kind of sun damage.

4. Avoid tanning beds

Tanning beds also emit UV rays, which can damage your skin and increase your risk of developing skin cancer. According to the study in AAD tanning bed use significantly increases the risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma.

Also read: Khloe Kardashian puts skin cancer back in spotlight: Know about the condition

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How to treat sunburned lips?

If you do end up with sunburned lips, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the discomfort and promote healing. Here are some tips for treating sunburned lips:

1. Apply a cool compress

Applying a cool compress to your lips can help to reduce inflammation, redness, and pain. A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research found that the application of cold compresses can help to relieve pain and inflammation associated with various types of oral lesions, including sunburned lips.

2. Drink plenty of fluids

Staying hydrated is important for maintaining healthy skin and lips. Drinking plenty of fluids can help to reduce dryness and inflammation, and promote healing. Anyway it is advisable to stay hydrated in the scorching summer months but you lips need that hydration too.

3. Avoid picking at your lips

Picking at your lips can slow down the healing process and increase your risk of infection. The constant picking and biting can also lead to a condition called cheilitis, which is an inflammation of the lips. The AAD study found that picking at the lips can lead to a cycle of inflammation and damage that can be difficult to break.

4. Use aloe vera

There is nothing more soothing and cooling than aloe vera gel. Aloe vera gel can help to soothe inflamed skin and promote healing. Aloe vera gel is effective in treating a variety of skin conditions, including burns, wounds, and inflammation.

aloe vera for sunburned lips
Aloe vera will heal your sunburned lips in a jiffy! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Avoid lipstick or lip gloss

Some types of lipstick and lip gloss can contain ingredients like certain types of pigments and waxes that can dry out or irritate your lips. If you are experiencing sunburned lips, it is best to avoid these products until your lips have healed.

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About the Author

Manasvi Jain is a professional writer with a keen interest in spreading awareness about various health and wellness issues through her articles. She writes well researched articles by connecting with various doctors and health experts. ...Read More

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