Summer is a great time to head outdoors to soak up some sunshine and warm temperatures. However, spending too much time outside can lead to painful sunburns. The summer heat can also affect your smile if you aren’t careful. Here are 3 tips to protect your lips from the sun.
Protect Your Lips to Prevent Oral Cancer
You don’t have to be a smoker to be at risk of oral cancer. 54,000 people are diagnosed with it every year. Only 50% of patients survive more than 5 years because of late detection.
Although tobacco raises your risk of oral cancer, sun exposure can be equally harmful. UVB rays can also increase your risk.
Protecting Your Lips During Summer
You don’t have to spend summer indoors to prevent chapped lips or oral cancer. Here’s how you can soak up some vitamin D and work on your tan without harming your lips:
1. Use Sun Protection
Your lips are constantly exposed to the sun’s radiation anytime you’re outdoors. Sunscreen or an SPF lip balm shields your lips from harmful UVB rays.
Apply a moisturizing SPF lip balm at least every 2 hours to reduce your risk of cancer and combat chapped lips.
2. Choose the Best SPF
Most sun-protecting lip balms offer SPF protection ranging from 15 to 30. The higher the SPF, the more UVB rays that are filtered out.
SPF 15 has been shown to block about 93% of rays, but SPF 30 filters 97%. Although both offer great protection, the American Cancer Society recommends a higher SPF to shield your skin.
3. Treat Sunburned Lips
If your lips are red or tender to the touch, they may be sunburned. It’s not unusual for small, white blisters to develop, which can be painful.
You can soothe burned tissue by soaking a washcloth in ice water and holding it on your lips. Applying 100% aloe vera can also ease your discomfort. You can expect mild sunburned lips to heal in about 3-5 days.
Staying hydrated is also important. Dry lips are an early sign of dehydration. If you’re licking your lips to keep them moist, reach for a glass of water. Healthcare professionals recommend drinking at least eight 8-oz glasses of water daily. You’ll keep your body hydrated and prevent cracked lips.
Don’t forget to schedule your semi-annual cleaning and checkup. Your dentist will keep your teeth and gums healthy. They’ll also perform an oral cancer screening to benefit from the power of early detection.
About Dr. Syria Dhaon
Dr. Dhaon earned her dental degree from Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC and has regularly continued her training in various specialties, including implants, Invisalign, and laser dentistry. She combines the art and science of dentistry to create stunning smiles. Request an appointment through her website or call (254) 848-0240.