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The Crucial Sunscreen Step You're Probably Skipping

By Caroline Jacobson on July 7, 2015 in Healthy Living


Protect that pout! Learn how you can defend your kisser from sun damage and skin cancer:

Picture perfect days call for outdoor time. Time to slap on the sunscreen! Once you grease down, your skin is ready to enjoy one-on-one time with the sun. But aren't you forgetting something? (Hint: It's not your back).

Surprisingly, 63% of sunscreen users don't protect their pout. And the forecast isn't so sunny for those who skip their lips – sun exposure increases your risk for lip cancer.

Just like the rest of your skin, your lips are sensitive to UV rays. According to the EPA, unprotected exposure to UV radiation, especially for delicate lip tissue, is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.

Ready to step up your sunscreen game? Before you buy your sun-blocking balm, consider the following tips:

° Supercharge the SPF.

In order to be effective, a sunscreen must contain an SPF of 15 or higher. But what does that mean? If you normally burn in 10 minutes, SPF 15 multiplies that by 15, meaning you could go 150 minutes before burning. Look for the SPF level right on the label to see how much coverage your lip balm provides.

° Broaden the spectrum.

SPF blocks only one type of cancer-causing ray, ultraviolet B (UVB). That's why it's important to look for a broad-spectrum lip balm. Multi-spectrum products provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

° Know your lips.

Some lip balms have unpleasant scents or textures. Choose a product you're more likely to wear. Do your research to find a salve that suits (and soothes) your smile. Not all skin types are created equal, and lips are no exception. Are your lips perpetually dry? Do you spend a lot of time outdoors? There's a sun-protecting salve for every lip lifestyle. Find the right sun protection for you.

Remember – re-apply every few hours to kiss sun damage goodbye. What are your go-to pout protectors? Share your favorites in the comments section.