Summer = Sun
Are You Protecting All of Your Skin?
Ahhhhh! Summertime! Perfect summer days mean time outdoors; and as everyone knows, time outdoors means time for sunscreen. But are you forgetting something? Hint: It’s not your back!
A recent study shows that 63% of sunscreen users don’t protect their lips. And the forecast isn’t so sunny for those who skip their lips – exposure to the sun exposure increases your risk for lip cancer.
Just like the rest of your skin, lips are sensitive to ultraviolet rays. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, unprotected exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and sunburns are the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.
Prevention is easy when you have the proper protection. There are plenty of options available to protect your mouth.
Ready to step up your sunscreen game? Before you buy your sun-blocking balm, consider the following tips:
Choose a Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
Choose a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen that protects against Ultraviolet B (UVB) and Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays.
~ UVB (shortwave) rays are the primary cause sunburn and skin cancer.
~ UVA (longwave) rays penetrate deeper into the skin and cause premature aging and wrinkling of the skin.
Supercharge the SPF
The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) refers to the product’s ability to screen or block out the sun’s harmful rays. To be effective, a sunscreen must contain an SPF of 15 or higher. But what does that mean? If you use a sunscreen with an SPF 15, you can be in the sun 15 times longer that you can without sunscreen before burning. So if you normally burn in 10 minutes, SPF 15 multiplies that by 15, meaning you could go 150 minutes before burning.
Know Your Sunscreen
Sunscreens can be classified into two major types: chemical and physical.
~ Chemical sunscreens contain special ingredients that act as filters and reduce UVR penetration to the skin. These sunscreens usually contain UVB absorbing chemicals and more recently contain UVA absorbers as well.
~ Physical sunscreens, most often referred to as sunblocks, are products containing ingredients that physically block ultraviolet radiation. Sunblocks provide broad protection against both UVB and UVA light.
Broaden the Spectrum
The SPF number on sunscreens only reflects the product’s ability to screen one type of cancer-causing ray, UVB. At present there is no FDA-approved rating system that measures UVA protection levels. 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 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.
Remember to reapply every few hours to kiss sun damage (and cancer risk!) goodbye. What are your go-to pout protectors? Share your favorites with us!